Eye Focus June 2017 - Page 20

Ashley Barby of Toronto's Specsy shows off the company's 3-D printing/modelling technology for eyewear at Inside Optics 2017. through browsers like Chrome, Safari or Firefox on tablets or desktop com- puters, with an iPad app expected this fall. The six-month-old company saw a lot of attention at their Inside Optics booth. Coming from a background in dentistry, bringing the technology to the optical sector was a natural progression, from creating 3-D images of patient's mouths, to using it for optical fitting and sizing. Barby said to their knowledge, Specsy is the first company to offer such a service. The Canadian National Institute for the Blind's (CNIB) Jason Fayre, the national lead for accessibility and as- sistive technology said there's a trend now to use smartphones to help people with their daily vision needs and to navigate their communities. An app like iDentifi – Object Recogni- tion for Visually Impaired (Apple devices), uses artificial intelligence to enable a visually impaired user to take a photo of “virtually any” object or piece of text, and the program then tells the user a description of the object in an image or dictates the text in the image to the user. “That type of thing can be really useful,” Fayre said in an interview with Optical Prism. Another tool he uses harnesses live people to assist the visually impaired, with apps like BeMyEyes for iPhone, which allows the user to request assistance for the item they need to see. A volunteer receives a notification for help and a live video connection is established to help answer the question. 20 EYE FOCUS | June Digital 2017 BeSpecular (Apple and Android) also uses live people, which allows a user to take a photo of an item and attach a question, which is then sent to the BeSpecular volunteer community of 'sightlings', who can the reply to the user by voice or text message within minutes. The user can then rate the usefulness of the interaction as well. “These are all about fostering independence,” said Fayre. “Both my partner and I are both totally blind, so we don't have somebody here that can look at stuff for us on a regular basis. So these types of apps are super useful.” He also uses apps that read text back to him through just the click of a pho- to, with the KNFB Reader on Android and Apple devices, and Windows 10. “A few years ago we'd have to find a friend, or bring a volunteer in, but now we can do these types of things independently,” he said. Other companies like Hoya Vision Care's HVC app (Vision Consultant Viewer) is available on iPad with fully interactive Augmented Reality for con- sumer-oriented sales consultation. The app offers visual effects of different lenses, to help consumers understand the difference between them, including modules on progressive lenses, single vision lenses, indoor lenses, anti-re- flective coatings, polarized lenses and photochromic Lenses. Zeiss offers an Eye Strain Test App is designed help your eyes switch focus from a smartphone to a distance of 20 feet and vice-versa in order to precisely measure the strain on your eyes. Eye strain and fatigue can lead to eye irritation, headaches and neck pain, and the app helps consumers find out how well their eyes are geared to the challenges of modern life. Numerous other apps are also available for limiting blue light emitted by smartphones via dimming applications. Applications are also available to test vision, like Canada's FYi Doctor's Vision Test on Android, which offers a number of short tests to check vision, but stresses it's not considered an eye exam and doesn't replace the need for one by a qualified optometrist. C M Y CM MY CY CMY K