Watch this woman’s reaction to seeing her grandkids’ faces and being able to read a book to them for the very first time.
Often times when we think of virtual reality and augmented reality, it’s easy to immedietly think of gaming and entertainment. Being able to immerse yourself in a completely different virtual world is compelling and quite exciting. But there is so much more. The real potential of the technology is in the way we utilize it to help improve the quality of life for those really in need.
Whether virtual reality (VR) is used to assist doctors during surgery or put a smile on the face of children in a hospital, every day we are discovering new and more accessible ways that VR can assist in solving a range of healthcare challenges.
Now, thanks to a free Android app and a Google Cardboard VR viewer, one woman is using the technology to finally see after 8 years, and her reaction is beautiful.
The video uploaded by Mike Tarantino shows the reaction of his wife Bonny, who has suffered with low vision for almost a decade after being diagnosed with Stargardt’s Disease, trying a VR app that assists individuals who have legally blind nearsightedness. Bonny has the app loaded on a phone that is placed inside a Google Cardboard VR viewer and opens her eyes in amazement as she looks through the viewer to see the details of her family’s faces.
Bonny’s reactions are priceless and she is giddy with her newfound VR assistance. As she looks around the room through the Cardboard viewer, seeing details of faces and actually getting to read a children’s book with her grandchildren for the very first time, you can see the pure joy on her face.
According to the video, Bonny suffers from Stargardt’s Disease, which makes seeing through the center of her eye very blurry and nearly impossible. This means reading and seeing details at a distance can be almost impossible and often glasses just don’t help that much.
However, with the Near Sighted VR Augmented Aid app, things start to come a bit more into focus. The app, created by Matt Thorns, uses the phone’s camera to zoom in on the scene in front of you, effectively addressing near sightedness, especially considering the phone screen is just inches from your face in a Google Cardboard VR viewer. Because of the image stabilization on the camera phone as well, the app can make it much easier to use over binoculars when reading at a distance.
The crazy part of this all – it’s available for anyone with an Android phone for free and a Google Cardboard viewer that costs anywhere from $10-$20. As the daughter in the video exclaims, “It’s Mike’s phone in a cardboard box!”
And indeed it is a big deal. Current alternatives to this free app and “cardboard box” include electronic assistive-devices like eSight glasses that can set you back $15,000!
So if virtual reality use cases like this don’t get you excited, the accessible price sure as hell will for those who need it. As Bonny shouts in the end of the video, “This is so cool! This is so cool!” What a great moment for this family.
Image Credit: Mike Tarantino (YouTube)