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Thursday, October 28, 2021
Immersive TechnologySponsored

Vision Buddy: An Innovative Television Watching System for People With Low Vision

Tech startup enables people with low vision to watch TV again and improve their quality of life.

 

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Sponsored by Vision Buddy

 

There are different degrees to which people can have uncorrectable or reduced vision. Their causes also vary, with some of the more common ones being macular degeneration, RP, glaucoma, and retinal detachment. The types of low vision cover a broad range and can include blurred vision, loss of central or peripheral vision, and glare light sensitivity.

Vision Buddy is designed to help individuals with low vision maintain or improve their independence and conduct their daily activities with ease. It’s an assistive device that’s specifically designed to be the world’s first easy-to-use dedicated television watching system for people with limited vision.

You only need to plug in the Vision Buddy hub to your cable box or any video device with HDMI output and you’re ready to enjoy your favorite shows or channels directly on Vision Buddy.

Vision Buddy Home Theater

Furthermore, sounds are streamed directly to the Vision Buddy headset, so you can listen to the audio directly from the headset or with headphones, thus giving you a fully immersive viewing experience. With Vision Buddy, you’ll be able to directly stream and see TV shows up to 40 ft away, so you can sit back and relax on the couch.

Helping Users See With Better Clarity

Vision Buddy is a VR-style headset, equipped with robust features that help people with vision loss see more clearly and go about a range of daily activities, from watching their favorite TV programs to adjusting the thermostat, with convenience.

The latest version, Vision Buddy V2, can stream any channel or show directly to its screen in 4K Full HD resolution. It also has improved camera support featuring a 16-megapixel camera that lets users see clearer images. The V2 has also undergone improvements on all of its three viewing modes, giving the device increased clarity when using the reading and magnification mode and advanced rendering and image display.

This television watching system also has a built-in optical character recognition (OCR) feature that enables the device to automatically read aloud books, newspapers, medicine labels, and more.

Vision Buddy couple

Vision Buddy has three modes that users can toggle according to their needs. It can be used in the following modes:

  • As a TV watching system that can connect to any cable or satellite provider, and even streaming services like Amazon Fire TV Stick, Apple TV, and Roku player;
  • As a magnifier, which has zoom in or zoom out capabilities up to 10x;
  • Advanced OCR.

Using the Vision Buddy Headset

Setting up and using this television watching system is fairly simple. Connect it to your cable TV box and start watching your favorite TV programs. It can support any cable or TV provider box, such as Comcast, Dish Network, Direct TV, and streaming devices like Roku, Fire TV Stick, and Apple TV.

To get started with Vision Buddy, connect the HDMI cable out from your TV box to the Vision Buddy transmitter’s HDMI in port. Then, turn on your headset and you’re good to go. The device will automatically connect to your streaming device, so you can start watching or streaming videos.

One of its best features is it works with any TV setup, so users won’t have to reconfigure their existing setup to accommodate Vision Buddy. It also doesn’t require a Wi-Fi connection or any downloads for apps. Simply put, it’s a plug-and-play system that’s easy to set up and even easier to use.

Vision Buddy headset grey

 

Moreover, switching to and from the magnification and camera mode is as simple as clicking a button. It has 10 zoom levels that you can access by simply pressing the plus and minus buttons on the side of the headset.

Despite its robust look, it’s surprisingly lightweight at only 0.6 lbs on your face. This way, users won’t have to worry about being restricted while using the device. You can carry the device with you to a grocery store, to the park, or a museum and enjoy seeing things with more clarity.

“I can enjoy watching TV again, especially sports. Vision Buddy has improved my quality of life,” says Tom N., a Vision Buddy customer.

Vision Buddy: Making Life Easier

This television watching system is a versatile device that has enabled users around the world to see more clearly. It can be used to assist individuals with eye conditions such as macular degeneration, RP, glaucoma, and Stargardt disease.

Vision Buddy is a Silicon Valley startup whose goal is to assist individuals with vision loss. Its three founders, Zack Afridi, Abdul Zalil, and Daniel Emmanuel Feinsmith, are entrepreneurs with varied backgrounds and diverse expertise in different fields, including R&D in low vision and utilizing VR/AR to help people with disabilities.

The Vision Buddy television watching system uses a unique software-based technology within the headset – a brainchild of Afridi and Zalil, and developed in-house by Feinsmith and Zalil (patent pending).

Vision Buddy team - Zack Afridi (left) and Abdul Zalil (right)
Zack Afridi (left) and Abdul Zalil (right) discuss the future road map of Vision Buddy

The company has partnered with four global organizations, namely the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB), Vision Australia, the International Academy of Low Vision Specialists (IALVS), and Chicago Lighthouse, to spread the reach of Vision Buddy around the world. In the spirit of continuous innovation and research, they’re currently working on building more partnerships with other organizations focused on aiding individuals with low vision.

Vision Buddy is continuously being improved and updated to better address users’ individual needs. The company is starting to move into the field of education and business for both adults and children with vision loss. “Our motto is to build solutions with simple and easy-to-use experience for the visually impaired community, who are otherwise inundated with complex, bulky, and inadequate products,” says Zalil.

See Also:  Inclusivity of VR and AR Accessibility for the Visually and Hearing Impaired

Another unique function of this state-of-the-art television watching system is it can be connected to any digital whiteboard or monitor. Moreover, users can stream their favorite programs or shows to the headset while still allowing others to watch them on the TV or on other devices that Vision Buddy is connected to.

While Vision Buddy is a newcomer in the field of assistive technology, its continuous innovation and evolution have helped more users experience augmented vision, empowering them to enjoy their independence with confidence and help improve their quality of life.

 

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