Wearables for Persons with Blindness and Low Vision: Form Factor Matters
Based on statistics from the WHO and the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness, an estimated 43.3 million people have blindness and 295 million have moderate and severe vision impairment globally as of 2020, statistics expected to increase to 61 million and 474 million respectively by 2050, staggering numbers. Blindness and low vision (BLV) stultify many activities of daily living, as sight is beneficial to most functional tasks. Assistive technologies for persons with blindness and low vision (pBLV) consist of a wide range of aids that work in some way to enhance one's functioning and support independence. Although handheld and head-mounted approaches have been primary foci when building new platforms or devices to support function and mobility, this perspective reviews potential shortcomings of these form factors or embodiments and posits that a body-centered approach may overcome many of these limitations.
A Smart Service System for Spatial Intelligence and Onboard Navigation for Individuals with Visual Impairment (VIS4ION Thailand): study protocol of a randomized controlled trial of visually impaired students at the Ratchasuda College, Thailand
BACKGROUND:ION (Visually Impaired Smart Service System for Spatial Intelligence and Onboard Navigation), an advanced wearable technology, to enable real-time access to microservices, providing a potential solution to close this gap and deliver consistent and reliable access to critical spatial information needed for mobility and orientation during navigation. METHODS:ION. In addition, we will test another cohort of students for navigational, health, and well-being improvements, comparing weeks 1 to 4. We will also conduct a process evaluation according to the Saunders Framework. Finally, we will extend our computer vision and digital twinning technique to a 12-block spatial grid in Bangkok, providing aid in a more complex environment. DISCUSSION/CONCLUSIONS:Although electronic navigation aids seem like an attractive solution, there are several barriers to their use; chief among them is their dependence on either environmental (sensor-based) infrastructure or WiFi/cell "connectivity" infrastructure or both. These barriers limit their widespread adoption, particularly in low-and-middle-income countries. Here we propose a navigation solution that operates independently of both environmental and Wi-Fi/cell infrastructure. We predict the proposed platform supports spatial cognition in BLV populations, augmenting personal freedom and agency, and promoting health and well-being. TRIAL REGISTRATION/BACKGROUND:ClinicalTrials.gov under the identifier: NCT03174314, Registered 2017.06.02.
UNav: An Infrastructure-Independent Vision-Based Navigation System for People with Blindness and Low Vision
Vision-based localization approaches now underpin newly emerging navigation pipelines for myriad use cases, from robotics to assistive technologies. Compared to sensor-based solutions, vision-based localization does not require pre-installed sensor infrastructure, which is costly, time-consuming, and/or often infeasible at scale. Herein, we propose a novel vision-based localization pipeline for a specific use case: navigation support for end users with blindness and low vision. Given a query image taken by an end user on a mobile application, the pipeline leverages a visual place recognition (VPR) algorithm to find similar images in a reference image database of the target space. The geolocations of these similar images are utilized in a downstream task that employs a weighted-average method to estimate the end user's location. Another downstream task utilizes the perspective-n-point (PnP) algorithm to estimate the end user's direction by exploiting the 2D-3D point correspondences between the query image and the 3D environment, as extracted from matched images in the database. Additionally, this system implements Dijkstra's algorithm to calculate a shortest path based on a navigable map that includes the trip origin and destination. The topometric map used for localization and navigation is built using a customized graphical user interface that projects a 3D reconstructed sparse map, built from a sequence of images, to the corresponding a priori 2D floor plan. Sequential images used for map construction can be collected in a pre-mapping step or scavenged through public databases/citizen science. The end-to-end system can be installed on any internet-accessible device with a camera that hosts a custom mobile application. For evaluation purposes, mapping and localization were tested in a complex hospital environment. The evaluation results demonstrate that our system can achieve localization with an average error of less than 1 m without knowledge of the camera's intrinsic parameters, such as focal length.
MICK (Mobile Integrated Cognitive Kit) app: Feasibility of an accessible tablet-based rapid picture and number naming task for concussion assessment in a division 1 college football cohort
Although visual symptoms are common following concussion, quantitative measures of visual function are missing from concussion evaluation protocols on the athletic sideline. For the past half century, rapid automatized naming (RAN) tasks have demonstrated promise as quantitative neuro-visual assessment tools in the setting of head trauma and other disorders but have been previously limited in accessibility and scalability. The Mobile Interactive Cognitive Kit (MICK) App is a digital RAN test that can be downloaded on most mobile devices and can therefore provide a quantitative measure of visual function anywhere, including the athletic sideline. This investigation examined the feasibility of MICK App administration in a cohort of Division 1 college football players. Participants (nÂ =Â 82) from a National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division 1 football team underwent baseline testing on the MICK app. Total completion times of RAN tests on the MICK app were recorded; magnitudes of best time scores and between-trial learning effects were determined by paired t-test. Consistent with most timed performance measures, there were significant learning effects between the two baseline trials for both RAN tasks on the MICK app: Mobile Universal Lexicon Evaluation System (MULES) (pÂ <Â 0.001, paired t-test, mean improvement 13.3Â s) and the Staggered Uneven Number (SUN) (pÂ <Â 0.001, mean improvement 3.3Â s). This study demonstrated that the MICK App can be feasibly administered in the setting of pre-season baseline testing in a Division I environment. These data provide a foundation for post-injury sideline testing that will include comparison to baseline in the setting of concussion.
Accuracy of clinical versus oculographic detection of pathological saccadic slowing
Saccadic slowing as a component of supranuclear saccadic gaze palsy is an important diagnostic sign in multiple neurologic conditions, including degenerative, inflammatory, genetic, or ischemic lesions affecting brainstem structures responsible for saccadic generation. Little attention has been given to the accuracy with which clinicians correctly identify saccadic slowing. We compared clinician (nÂ =Â 19) judgements of horizontal and vertical saccade speed on video recordings of saccades (from 9 patients with slow saccades, 3 healthy controls) to objective saccade peak velocity measurements from infrared oculographic recordings. Clinician groups included neurology residents, general neurologists, and fellowship-trained neuro-ophthalmologists. Saccades with normal peak velocities on infrared recordings were correctly identified as normal in 57% (91/171; 171Â =Â 9 videosÂ Ã—Â 19 clinicians) of clinician decisions; saccades determined to be slow on infrared recordings were correctly identified as slow in 84% (224/266; 266Â =Â 14 videosÂ Ã—Â 19 clinicians) of clinician decisions. Vertical saccades were correctly identified as slow more often than horizontal saccades (94% versus 74% of decisions). No significant differences were identified between clinician training levels. Reliable differentiation between normal and slow saccades is clinically challenging; clinical performance is most accurate for detection of vertical saccade slowing. Quantitative analysis of saccade peak velocities enhances accurate detection and is likely to be especially useful for detection of mild saccadic slowing.
The MICK (Mobile integrated cognitive kit) app: Digital rapid automatized naming for visual assessment across the spectrum of neurological disorders
OBJECTIVE:Rapid automatized naming (RAN) tasks have been utilized for decades to evaluate neurological conditions. Time scores for the Mobile Universal Lexicon Evaluation System (MULES, rapid picture naming) and Staggered Uneven Number (SUN, rapid number naming) are prolonged (worse) with concussion, mild cognitive impairment, multiple sclerosis and Parkinson's disease. The purpose of this investigation was to compare paper/pencil versions of MULES and SUN with a new digitized format, the MICK app. METHODS:Participants (healthy office-based volunteers, professional women's hockey players), completed two trials of the MULES and SUN tests on both platforms (tablet, paper/pencil). The order of presentation of the testing platforms was randomized. Between-platform variability was calculated using the two-way random-effects intraclass correlation coefficient (ICC). RESULTS:Among 59 participants (median age 32, range 22-83), no significant differences were observed for comparisons of mean best scores for the paper/pencil versus MICK app platforms, counterbalanced for order of administration (PÂ =Â 0.45 for MULES, PÂ =Â 0.50 for SUN, linear regression). ICCs for agreement between the MICK and paper/pencil tests were 0.92 (95% CI 0.86, 0.95) for MULES and 0.94 (95% CI 0.89, 0.96) for SUN, representing excellent levels of agreement. Inter-platform differences did not vary systematically across the range of average best time score for either test. CONCLUSION/CONCLUSIONS:The MICK app for digital administration of MULES and SUN demonstrates excellent agreement of time scores with paper/pencil testing. The computerized app allows for greater accessibility and scalability in neurological diseases, inclusive of remote monitoring. Sideline testing for sports-related concussion may also benefit from this technology.
Network-Aware 5G Edge Computing for Object Detection: Augmenting Wearables to “See” More, Farther and Faster
Advanced wearable devices are increasingly incorporating high-resolution multi-camera systems. As state-of-the-art neural networks for processing the resulting image data are computationally demanding, there has been a growing interest in leveraging fifth generation (5G) wireless connectivity and mobile edge computing for offloading this processing closer to end-users. To assess this possibility, this paper presents a detailed simulation and evaluation of 5G wireless offloading for object detection in the case of a powerful, new smart wearable called VIS4ION, for the Blind-and-Visually Impaired (BVI). The current VIS4ION system is an instrumented book-bag with high-resolution cameras, vision processing, and haptic and audio feedback. The paper considers uploading the camera data to a mobile edge server to perform real-time object detection and transmitting the detection results back to the wearable. To determine the video requirements, the paper evaluates the impact of video bit rate and resolution on object detection accuracy and range. A new street scene dataset with labeled objects relevant to BVI navigation is leveraged for analysis. The vision evaluation is combined with a full-stack wireless network simulation to determine the distribution of throughputs and delays with real navigation paths and ray-tracing from new high-resolution 3D models in an urban environment. For comparison, the wireless simulation considers both a standard 4G-Long Term Evolution (LTE) sub-6-GHz carrier and high-rate 5G millimeter-wave (mmWave) carrier. The work thus provides a thorough and detailed assessment of edge computing for object detection with mmWave and sub-6-GHz connectivity in an application with both high bandwidth and low latency requirements.
King-Devick Test Performance and Cognitive Dysfunction after Concussion: A Pilot Eye Movement Study
(1) Background: The King-Devick (KD) rapid number naming test is sensitive for concussion diagnosis, with increased test time from baseline as the outcome measure. Eye tracking during KD performance in concussed individuals shows an association between inter-saccadic interval (ISI) (the time between saccades) prolongation and prolonged testing time. This pilot study retrospectively assesses the relation between ISI prolongation during KD testing and cognitive performance in persistently-symptomatic individuals post-concussion. (2) Results: Fourteen participants (median age 34 years; 6 women) with prior neuropsychological assessment and KD testing with eye tracking were included. KD test times (72.6 Â± 20.7 s) and median ISI (379.1 Â± 199.1 msec) were prolonged compared to published normative values. Greater ISI prolongation was associated with lower scores for processing speed (WAIS-IV Coding, r = 0.72, p = 0.0017), attention/working memory (Trails Making A, r = -0.65, p = 0.006) (Digit Span Forward, r = 0.57, p = -0.017) (Digit Span Backward, r= -0.55, p = 0.021) (Digit Span Total, r = -0.74, p = 0.001), and executive function (Stroop Color Word Interference, r = -0.8, p = 0.0003). (3) Conclusions: This pilot study provides preliminary evidence suggesting that cognitive dysfunction may be associated with prolonged ISI and KD test times in concussion.
Dysfunctional mode switching between fixation and saccades: collaborative insights into two unusual clinical disorders
Voluntary rapid eye movements (saccades) redirect the fovea toward objects of visual interest. The saccadic system can be considered as a dual-mode system: in one mode the eye is fixating, in the other it is making a saccade. In this review, we consider two examples of dysfunctional saccades, interrupted saccades in late-onset Tay-Sachs disease and gaze-position dependent opsoclonus after concussion, which fail to properly shift between fixation and saccade modes. Insights and benefits gained from bi-directional collaborative exchange between clinical and basic scientists are emphasized. In the case of interrupted saccades, existing mathematical models were sufficiently detailed to provide support for the cause of interrupted saccades. In the case of gaze-position dependent opsoclonus, existing models could not explain the behavior, but further development provided a reasonable hypothesis for the mechanism underlying the behavior. Collaboration between clinical and basic science is a rich source of progress for developing biologically plausible models and understanding neurological disease. Approaching a clinical problem with a specific hypothesis (model) in mind often prompts new experimental tests and provides insights into basic mechanisms.
Detection of normal and slow saccades using implicit piecewise polynomial approximation
The quantitative analysis of saccades in eye movement data unveils information associated with intention, cognition, and health status. Abnormally slow saccades are indicative of neurological disorders and often imply a specific pathological disturbance. However, conventional saccade detection algorithms are not designed to detect slow saccades, and are correspondingly unreliable when saccades are unusually slow. In this article, we propose an algorithm that is effective for the detection of both normal and slow saccades. The proposed algorithm is partly based on modeling saccadic waveforms as piecewise-quadratic signals. The algorithm first decreases noise in acquired eye-tracking data using optimization to minimize a prescribed objective function, then uses velocity thresholding to detect saccades. Using both simulated saccades and real saccades generated by healthy subjects and patients, we evaluate the performance of the proposed algorithm and 10 other detection algorithms. We show the proposed algorithm is more accurate in detecting both normal and slow saccades than other algorithms.