Researchers Developed an App to Help Low-Vision Smartphone Users

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Using a smartphone these days, is one of our everyday activities. Yet, many of us have problems with our eye-sight, which makes going through the smartphone options a little bit difficult. If you have this problem, you can get excited right about now, because a team of researchers has developed a mobile app that works together with Google Glass and can help low-vision smartphone users.

A team of researchers from the Massachusett’s Eye and Ear Department of Harvard Medical School has developed an app that will even more magnify the already built-in zoom of your screen, and project the picture on a Google Glass device. The users then, will be able to navigate through the screen with simple movements of the head. The team decided to work on this kind of an application, in order to address the problems that low-vision smartphone users have when working with the built-in zoom, which does not provide orientation on the screen very well.

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“When people with low vision problems, zoom in on their smartphones, they see only a small portion of the screen, and it’s difficult for them to navigate around – they don’t know whether the current position is in the center of the screen or in the corner of the screen,” said Gang Luo who is a senior author and scientist at Schepens Eye Research Institute. The magnifying and the option for navigation through head movement gives a very good orientation sense to visually-impaired users and they don’t have the previously mentioned problem.

Researchers conducted a test with 2 groups of people in order to check the real effectiveness of this application. One were using the built-in zoom while the other the new Google glass app. The results showed that the people using the Google Glass movement coordinated app had 28% reduction in the average time that it took for them to complete some tasks, than the users of manual scrolling.

There is a very large interest for using smart glasses at the moment, so in the future we can imagine using these high-tech devices even without a connection to a mobile phone. Researchers, for the future, expect for these head-movement navigation glasses to be used by many people and not be limited on users with low-vision problems only.

Researchers constantly work on applications that will improve the quality of life, so this app is one great example of how technology can affect our way of living in a positive way.

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