World’s First AR Glasses that correct Partial Retinal Blindness: Hands-on with Eyecane AR at MWC 2024

I’ve always said that great technology doesn’t cater only to the needs of the dominant 95%, it also factors in the needs of the often neglected 5%. To that end, AR technology is great, but it hasn’t been applied in a way that benefits the 5th percentile – and Cellico wants to change that. The medical-tech company unveiled the Eyecane AR glasses at MWC, the world’s first augmented reality device designed to correct age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Designed to look and feel like your standard sunglasses, the Eyecane AR helps people with retinal disease see clearly. A 4K camera at the center of the glasses records the world, feeding media into a tiny projected display within the Eyecane AR’s lenses. AMD causes blind spots within people’s vision, but the Eyecane AR’s cameras help fill in those blind spots with digitally captured imagery in real time, helping people see fully and clearly again.

Designer: Cellico

A disease that affects as many as 1 in 200 people by the time they reach 60, going up as high as 1 in 5 people by the time they hit their 90s. The affliction, caused by the degeneration of the macula (the central part of the retina) results in blurry or sometimes even no vision in the center of your eye. Think of a large black dot in otherwise relatively clear vision. Given that a lot of the important things we see find themselves in this central zone, people with AMD can have a tough time looking at objects, identifying people, and navigating scenarios. Cellico’s solution is incredibly simple – have a camera capture whatever is in that gap, and display it in the corner of your eye, where you can still see things relatively clearly. Creating somewhat of a picture-in-picture effect, Eyecane AR allows people with AMD to regain vision in their macular region simply by having a camera capture it and display it in another part of their field of view.

A snap-on sunshade helps people see clearly in bright settings too

By harnessing the power of a compact 4K 20MP camera seamlessly integrated into smart glasses and complemented by an intuitive mobile app, Eyecane AR captures and processes real-time images with precision, even applying optical image stabilization. These images are then projected onto an augmented reality display in Full-HD, effectively shifting central vision to the peripheral field of view. This groundbreaking approach not only restores clarity but also rekindles independence for those navigating the challenges of AMD.

simulates how people with AMD perceive the world, and how the Eyecane AR can help fill in the gap with a PIP on the left side.

Moving the PIP to the center of the screen shows what images would look like for people with regular vision.

The beauty of the Eyecane AR lies in the fact that it can be used right out of the box without a hospital visit. The Eyecane app has a built-in scotometry program that analyzes your vision for you, pinpointing the blind spot or the problematic area in your vision. The app then helps the AR glasses’ camera calibrate and focus on that region, capturing the image and displaying it in a corner of your peripheral vision. The entire process takes mere minutes, and helps quickly restore macular vision simply by relying on the inherent properties of augmented reality displays!

Key Features of Eyecane AR:

  • 4K camera with Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) embedded in AR glasses
  • Mobile app featuring a customized image-processing engine
  • Full HD Reflective Freeform crystal Lens offering a Field of View (FoV) of 40°
  • Voice control functionality for seamless user interaction
  • Electric Auto Sunshade coated with an LC film, ensuring optimal visual comfort in diverse lighting conditions
  • Lightweight construction, crafted from Titanium and Ultem materials, prioritizing comfort and wearability