Mobile Eyes: Camera Phone Based Vision Enhancement Tool for the Visually Impaired

Award Information
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services
Branch: N/A
Contract: 1R43EY016907-01
Agency Tracking Number: EY016907
Amount: $107,000.00
Phase: Phase I
Program: SBIR
Awards Year: 2005
Solicitation Year: 2005
Solicitation Topic Code: N/A
Solicitation Number: PHS2005-2
Small Business Information
387 Technology Drive, Suite 3110C, College Park, MD, 20742
HUBZone Owned: N
Woman Owned: N
Socially and Economically Disadvantaged: N
Principal Investigator
 (301) 728-0694
Business Contact
Phone: (301) 405-8574
Research Institution
DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The population of aging adults in the United States is entering a period of rapid growth as baby boomers get older and life expectancy continues to increase. One problem that is significantly affecting their ability to live and function independently is low vision, a condition typically caused by eye disease that results in 20/70 vision or worse that can not be corrected with glasses or surgery. Given the importance and high cost of healthcare for elderly adults, applications of technology that provide visual enhancement for low-vision persons are especially valuable. In this SBIR we propose to demonstrate the technical feasibility of MobileEyes, a software based add-on suite which uses existing camera enabled PDA or cell phone hardware to provide enhanced electronic imaging capabilities for the elderly or the visually impaired. The system will provide video based magnification and contrast enhancement, with specialize enhancement for text including perspective correction, stabilization, deblurring, resolution enhancement and contrast enhancement. The system will be configurable to account for the specific needs of the given user. The technical contributions will focus on text enhancement since an inability to read directly impacts daily activities such as shopping, preparing meals, taking medication, or even using household appliances. The enhanced text is displayed on the device and will be easily read by low vision users. Existing vision enhancement devices, such as magnifying glasses, telescopes, or electronic video resolution enhancement products typically task specific, require special hardware and may not be easily adapted to specific visual needs of the user. Our software based MobileEyes solution makes use of existing devices which are commonly available, and that users would likely carry anyway. Having a software based solution has two additional advantages. First, it provides an integrated service with multiple enhancement capabilities that can be extended in the future with more advance options such as optical character recognition (OCR) or text to speech. Second, it can be integrated directly with other applications on the same device for specialized solutions. For example, our barcode reader could be integrated with the device's communications links to provide a drug monitoring and reminder service. The improved processor, memory and battery life, and improving imaging capabilities of today's mobile devices allows us to integrate the capabilities into the device, rather than designing a device to support the specific capabilities. In Phase I we will demonstrate the technical feasibility of the approach with a prototype, identify key research and development tasks for Phase II and align ourselves for commercialization.

* Information listed above is at the time of submission. *

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