SHADE: Senior Industrial Design Thesis
An augmented reality design for our journey through vision loss
The SHADE wearable device and experience environment work together
to help people of all abilities navigate rooms without using eyesight
This statement by Marshá's client reveals the negative emotions people have about vision loss, making the teaching process more difficult. The sighted population is afraid of becoming helpless and embarrassed, while people with blindness are concerned about discrimination and deception.
In my research, I came across an augmented reality algorithm that translates pictures into sounds.
With training, the sounds can provide a real physical sensation of seeing in the visual cortex of the brain.
The head-borne wearable (a camera and personal audio output) is biased towards a low-profile, seamless design because of my user's existing embarrassment and frustration about vision loss. The best attribute of the glasses architecture is that glasses are the most normalized wearable in society for people of any age and gender.
the SHADE wearable
Dawn, a user with blindness in both eyes for 8 years, self-described her experience with various navigation options. She liked that the seeing-eye dog provided comfortable common ground for people to start conversations about vision loss.
While people have very negative perceptions about vision loss, those same people have very different answers (in green) about how they would like to be perceived by others when wearing glasses.
Survey results show that people have emotional associations with different materials and glasses frames. Based on a user's self-description of their character and how they would like to be perceived, SHADE can recommend a frame and material that aligns with people's perceptions of that design, making an appropriate fashion decision for the vision impaired user.
SHADEs are significantly less expensive to produce than other smart glasses with screens or wired hinges.
The SHADE glasses help people navigate spaces without using eyesight.
How can we use the same technology to encourage sighted people to engage with vision loss, before they are forced to deal with it as an emergency?
Everyone enters the SHADE experience with some kind of vision impairment. Users can choose to wear SHADEs that mimic the diagnosis of a friend or relative to gain empathy.
Users must train their brain to correlate the sounds they hear from the SHADE algorithm to positions in space.
The keys on the pavement would make an early, high-pitched tone in the sound pattern because they are in the upper left corner of the field of view.
Imagine entering a completely white room without any visual stimulus. Suddenly, all of your other senses are triggered by smells, sounds, temperature, and textures on the floor. Depending on the sensory input - in this case the scene of a cafe - your brain will fill in the visual gap with a memory.
Meanwhile, listen for the SHADE sound pattern of the doorway to the next room.
SHADE by Elisabeth Morris
2. National Eye Institute: “Vision Loss From Eye Diseases Will Increase as Americans Age”