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BVISS: Augmenting vision, the easy and the hard way
October 13 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm
Dr Stephen Hicks – Oxford University – Research Fellow in Neuroscience and Visual Prosthetics, Nuffield Department of Clinical Neurosciences
Mobile computing, augmented reality, deep learning. Consumer-grade devices are coming of age with a dazzling array of technologies and potentials. While tech giants search for killer apps, there are sectors of society who have well defined needs that could be met with aspects of these technologies. In many high profile cases, people with sensory or motor deficits have pioneered the use of mobile augmenting technologies that the rest of us are only just becoming aware of. Bionic limbs, cochlear implants and retinal prosthetics have moved from the highly experimental into the FDA approved. The goal of my work has been to develop low-cost and non-invasive vision enhancement systems that not only provide function benefits to those with poor sight, but that are also good looking enough to break through a social barrier often raised against enabling technologies. In my talk I will take an overview of relevant vision enhancement technologies and my groups work developing and validating smart glasses that not only boost an image, but can also provide autonomous and semi intelligent descriptions of the world using machine learning.
Stephen wears two hats that look quite similar. He is a Research Lecturer in neuroscience and visual prosthetics at the University of Oxford and runs a small team developing and testing wearable displays to boost vision for people with severe visual impairments. He is also a Founding Director and Technical Lead at a london-based startup called OxSight where he manages a small team developing commercially feasible smart glasses to boost vision and quality of life of blind and partially sighted people. Stephen has a multidisciplinary approach that combines machine learning and computer vision with novel cameras and displays to form images that are easy to see and understand for people with poor vision. He was an Enterprise Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and received early career awards such as the Royal Society Brian Mercer Award for Innovation and lead the team that won the 2014 Google Global Impact Challenge. He resides in London and desperately holds onto his Australian accent.