Visually Impaired May Soon Watch TV

Scientists use algorithm to boost contrast for frequencies still visible
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Jan 28, 2008 6:01 PM CST
A magnified image of an eye with age-related macular degeneration August 6, 2001 in Wheaton, IL.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – Macular degeneration, the disease which causes most age-related sight loss, can make it impossible for patients who suffer even only mild sight loss to watch TV. But help is on the way for these people, Technology Review reports, as Harvard researchers have developed an image-processing algorithm which allows the sight-impaired to see fine detail.

The researchers found that many with sight loss specifically lost the ability to discern high-frequency waves in the visual spectrum, so they devised an algorithm to boost contrast in the middle and low frequency ranges. One day, they hope, the algorithm can be incorporated into all TV sets, in the same way the industry has added closed-caption options for the hearing impaired.