Principal Investigators: María Guijarro and Joaquín Recas.
Start and end dates: 01/10/2022 – 30/09/2025
Within the thematic priorities listed in the call for Projects in Strategic Lines 2022, this project falls under priority 7: Promotion of individual and social well-being through new technologies and analytical approaches (Promoción del bienestar individual y social a través de nuevas tecnologías y enfoques analíticos). Focusing on the following areas of interest highlighted in the call:
- Sensors, applications, social robots, wearable devices and BCI to facilitate the daily life of healthy people.
- Use of technologies to assess and modify individual comfort.
- Technologies to identify and address negative social biases (e.g. racial, gender, age).
The project proposes an innovative technological proposal focused on improving the quality of life of people with visual impairments. The aim will be to improve the remaining vision of people with visual disabilities by means of an innovative Augmented Reality Rehabilitation System and Augmented Reality-SmartGlasses (AR-SG) as wearable visual aid.
This project is made up of two partners: the company Plusindes (marketer and designer of the Retiplus product) and the Computense University of Madrid (project coordinator). Within the framework of this project, the IrisEmpower product will be developed.
IrisEmpower the first Visual Rehabilitation System on Augmented Reality Glasses applicable to multiple degenerative pathologies, many of them with no medical solution for the moment. IrisEmpower takes advantage of AI analytical tools and will be capable of analyzing the video and audio signals collected by the augmented reality glasses, recognising objects, gestures and verbal commands, giving an optimized response. In addition, patients will be able to wear SmartGlasses as a Visual Aid with personalized settings for each visual condition. Consequently, our Team (UCM & PLUSINDES), during this 3 years period is going to carry out this Project performing several Work Packages (WPs) to be implemented step by step, with the purpose of commercializing the solutions developed for Ophthalmologic/Optical Clinics and their Patients and international traction.
The problem to address is visual disabilities due to certain degenerative pathologies that drive to Low Vision. These visual impairments impact dramatically in poor quality of life of Low Vision Persons. Low Vision must be differentiated from total blindness. It is widely conceived by the general public that those considered blind are people who cannot see at all. However,according to the Spanish Organization of Blind People (ONCE) just less than 15% are profoundly or totally blind, the rest 85% are Low Vision People, including legally blind people (people with a certain degree of visual disabilities that Governments recognize).
Low Vision is a condition caused by eye diseases in which the ability to see is decreased to a degree that causes problems not fixable by usual means, such as eyeglasses, contact lenses, medicines or surgery. In other words, with no medical solution for the time being. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are more than 30 diseases that produce Low Vision, and more than 246 million people worldwide are Low Vision affected.
The Company PLUSINDES, member of this Consortium, creator of RETIPLUS SYSTEM, got relevant knowhow about the problems and needs of Low Vision Patients as well as experiences from Clinical Specialists (Ophthalmologists and Optometrists) during the commercialization of RETIPLUS that is present in 13 countries. However, RETIPLUS SYSTEM is just efficient for pathologies driven to peripheral vision reduction, that are the low prevalent pathologies (smaller market)
This Project, IrisEmpower, aims to extend the Visual Rehabilitation to the rest of pathologies not covered by RETIPLUS, and to improve algorithms though last generation SmartGlasses connected to a SmartPhone to be used as visual aid. All of it with special focus in validating protocols/results by means of UCM clinical trials.
The main objective of the project is to improve the personal autonomy and quality of life of a large number of patients with low vision through the use of state-of-the-art augmented reality glasses connected to a SmartPhone.
Consequently, our Team is going to work out 5 sub-objectives:
- Sub-Obj1: Creation of an intelligent visual rehabilitation system based on augmented reality, personalized and adjusted to both the patient’s pathology and their visual condition, covering a wide spectrum of people with vision impairment (high prevalence pathologies).
- Sub-Obj2: Research and develop the EPO Patent EP19382232.7 belonging to Rafael Camara (Plusindes) and two UCM professors researchers of this project, for a Localized, Selective and Adjustable Digital Filtering.
- Sub-Obj3: Development of a remote rehabilitation system that allows the monitoring and control of patients.
- Sub-Obj4: Develop an IrisEmpower Ecosystem: partner clinics and technical support.
- Sub-Obj5: Marketing and international traction of the rehabilitation system and the portable device.