Researchers develop a vision assistive app for keyword searching in the physical world

November 13, 2017
Researchers develop a vision assistive app for keyword searching in the physical world

Mass. Eye and Ear and Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear released a new vision assistive app that acts as a “smart magnifying glass” to help people with low vision search for keywords in the physical world. Developed in the laboratory of Gang Luo, PhD, Associate Professor of Ophthalmology, “SuperVision Search” uses optical character recognition (OCR) technology to extract text from printed materials, such as product labels, restaurant menus, and bank statements, and to highlight specific keywords. For example, if a user wants to know if a packaged food contains sugar, she can take a picture of the ingredients list with her smartphone and ask the SuperVision Search app to search the picture for the word “sugar.” If sugar is among the ingredients list, the word is highlighted, which shows the user where to zoom in to read details. The app is designed to compensate for typos and errors that may occur during the OCR extraction process, which ensures high accuracy when searching for keywords.

This free app is currently available for Android devices, and can be downloaded from Google Play. An iOS version will be released soon.

Other vision assistance apps developed by Dr. Luo include SuperVision+ Magnifier, which acts as a magnifying glass with live image stabilization capability and is available for iOS and Android platforms, and SuperVision Goggles, which provides a head-mounted, hands-free magnifying glass solution when used with virtual reality goggles and is available for iOS.