Feasibility of a new orientation technology for people with tunnel vision

Period of Performance: 08/01/2009 - 07/31/2012


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Vortant Technologies, LLC
Weaverville, NC 28787
Principal Investigator


DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): The long-term aim of this SBIR project is to develop an aid to enhance the ability of people with tunnel vision or functional blindness to keep track of their own orientation and that of multiple targets of interest in the surrounding environment. The proposed device will augment and improve the effectiveness of visual search and orienting techniques, as well as providing an augmentation to optical technologies currently available for these individuals. Unlike other high-tech aids, the proposed device requires no cumbersome cameras or head-mounted displays, is inconspicuous, and is of potentially low cost. In this proposal, concepts of the proposed device are presented, along with examples of real-world problems that it can help to solve. A plan to design, build, and test a proof of concept device is presented. The plan is based on user and clinician input and leverages technical capabilities of the applicant company. At the end of Phase I, a proof of concept device will be available for review that can help a user keep track of their location and of surrounding objects of interest. If successful, users will show improved performance in an experiment emulating problematic everyday tasks and show a high degree of enthusiasm and satisfaction for what the new technology can do for them. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: The R&D in this Phase I SBIR project will result in a highly effective new tool to help people with tunnel vision or no functional vision to better keep track of their own orientation and the locations of objects of interest around them. The resulting product will enable such users to be more independent and productive in everyday tasks and in career activities, thus providing improved employment potential and an increase in the quality of life.