Thursday, October 18, 2007

Driving with poor vision becomes possible

Driving while visually imparted ...

"Spanish researchers have developed and successfully tested a computer simulator allowing visually impaired to drive. This system is called SERBA (short for 'Sistema Electro-óptico Reconfigurable de ayuda para Baja Visión'), which means 'Reconfigurable Electric-Optical System for Low Vision' in English. This innovative system is based on a reconfigurable device known as FPGA (or Field Programmable Gate Array). This means that it can easily be reprogrammed to be used under different circumstances. In fact, if his vision declines, a user of the SERBA system will just download a new version of the software adapted to him, without the need to buy a new device. Some companies are already interested in the system, but there is no information today about commercial availability.

The SERBA user interface

As you can see above, a driver using the SERBA system sees the road ahead of him through a transparent viewfinder, similar to those used in the army (Credit: University of Granada). You can see a larger version of this picture on the Spanish press release of the University of Granada, "Desarrollan un simulador informático que permite conducir a personas con problemas de vista."

Here is a short description of the project. "The main contribution of this project -- undertaken by María Dolores Peláez Coca and led by professors Fernando Vargas Martín and Eduardo Ros Vidal, all from the University of Granada -- is the implementation of a new optoelectronic platform (based on a reconfigurable device known as FPGA) which is easily reprogrammed so that it can be used in different circumstances. This device will help patients, among other things, to improve their vision when driving."    (Continued via Roland Piquepaille's Technology Trends)    [Ergonomics Resources]

SERBA System - Ergonomics

SERBA System

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