VR Game Helps Those With Eye Disorders See In 3D For The First Time
A new game offers hope for people who can only see in 2D.
- 10 january 2014
For a significant portion of the population, the trend of 3D visual products has meant little thus far, at least in terms of their individual enjoyment. Various eye disorders, including strabismus (crossed eye) and amblyopia (lazy eye), cause asymmetry between the vision of the eyes, leading the brain to disregard the signal from the weaker of the two eyes. This makes stereoscopic vision – necessary for perceiving the world, and 3D graphics, with a sense of depth – impossible. It was once thought that only children at the critical window between the ages of 8 and 12 could be treated for the disorder (typically, the treatment is an eyepatch, which kids hate), but new evidence has emerged that adults, too, can now be coaxed back into using both of their eyes with emerging strategies like video games. Indiegogo-funded Diplopia is one such game, and it uses some the newest and most exciting personal technologies, like the Oculus Rift VR headset, to create an immersive environment that’s exciting for those with 3D and 2D vision alike.
Developed by web designer, programmer and entrepreneur James Blaha, who himself was born with strabismus, is similar to well-known 3D Pong-type games that have circulated around the internet for several years, in which you bounce a ball around a cube-like room to hit certain targets. The difference, however, is in the immersive controls and the fact that you can un-fuse the game’s visual elements to train the brain to using both eyes. In “Diplopia mode,” the game’s light-colored bricks appear in the left eye while the paddle appears on the right, making it necessary to fuse the two images in order to succeed.
As Diplopia is an as-yet-unproven treatment that uses very new technology, it has plenty of built-in flexibility The game will survey users on what treatments work best for them and eventually offer tests for color blindness, visual acuity (if resolution permits), and visual field. Imagine what it could do with eye tracking. Depending on how well fundraising goes (and it’s been going incredibly well), Diplopia will gain support for various innovative but untested technologies, such as Kinect and Virtuix Omni, that will make it even more fun and immersive. This is truly a game that will allow people to take control of their lives and health.