Time of Flight Technology Enhances the Lives of the Visually Impaired

Technology designed for self-driving cars is now being applied to help low vision individuals see as close to normal as possible.

A project, led by Ocutech, Inc. a developer of vision-enhancing devices for the visually impaired, in collaboration with the engineering firm Image Quality Labs and ESPROS Photonics AG, has created the world’s only self-focusing bioptic telescopes.  Bioptic telescopes allow visually impaired individuals to magnify objects making them easier to see, similar to the use of binoculars. They may provide close-to-normal visual acuity for individuals with vision as reduced as 20/300. But since bioptics must be focused to be used at different distances, they can be inconvenient, if not difficult to use.

What is Time of Flight (ToF) Technology?

Incorporating time of flight (ToF) technology has enabled the development of the Falcon Autofocus Bioptic. By measuring the distance at the speed of light, it allows the device to focus smoothly and immediately to virtually any distance, providing the most natural and easy to use magnification possible. The Falcon incorporates wide-field Keplerian optics and is available in 3x, 4x and 5.5x powers. Weighing just 3.2 ounces (90gm), the Falcon device, mounted onto custom-designed conventional eyeglasses, can be worn comfortably for hours.  It can operate for over 8 hours using its separate rechargeable battery pack.

Young female wearing VES-Falcon Autofocus Bioptic and smiling
Time of Flight Technology Enhances the Lives of the Visually Impaired

Experienced manual focus bioptic wearers report how much easier and more natural the Falcon is to use.  Intended for individuals with central vision loss from disorders including Macular Degeneration, Stargardt’s Disease, Albinism, Nystagmus, Optic Atrophy, Achromatopsia and other Photo-receptor disorders, the Falcon, as well as Ocutech’s manual-focus versions have helped individuals of all ages throughout the world, allowing them to fully engage in the world around them such as to see signs while traveling and shopping, the board in school, recognize faces of friends and family, and where legal, perhaps even drive.

How to Obtain More Information

Ocutech bioptic telescopes are available through low vision specialists throughout the world.  Contact Ocutech for more information at 1-800-326-6460 or bioptics@ocutech.com. Visit Ocutech’s website for additional contact information!

ESPROS Press Release

VES-Falcon Autofocus Bioptic Brings Tears of Joy

We received this amazing letter from one of Ocutech’s favorite prescribers and would like to share it with you. Thank you Dr. Fuhr for your kind words.

Falcon is One-of-a-Kind Device

Image of Dr. Patti Fuhr with veteran Patient wearing Ocutech Falcon Autofocus Bioptic My first experience with the new 4x Falcon autofocus bioptic telescope brought tears to my eyes– tears of joy. This type of system has been only a dream for so many years, for patients, and for prescribers. The previous version of the Ocutech autofocus has not been available for a few years, which left a void in my low vision rehabilitation prescribing practices. An autofocusing, wearable telescopic system is more appropriate for many persons with visual impairment who also have manual dexterity problems, tremors, shoulder or arm issues, or simply slow reaction times. An autofocus is also more appropriate for heavy users of telescopic systems, such as students, teachers, public speakers, and technical persons. And it can be prescribed for driving for appropriate candidates.

The Ocutech system is not a heavy box that sits on the face and eliminates the outside world. It is a telescopic system that mounts on a regular pair of glasses and provides a seamless transition in focus from 13 inches to optical infinity and anywhere in between. Also, it is an autofocus OPTICAL system, so it feels like normal vision magnified through a telescope. The Falcon is much more natural than any of the head borne video magnification systems available today. And, as with most distance viewing devices, it helps people feel more connected to the world beyond the limitations of their visual impairment.

New Powers are Now Available

Recently, Ocutech introduced 3x and 5.5x versions of the Falcon. I was amazed at the appreciable increase in the field of view with the 3x version (15 degrees) and the lightning speed at which it focuses. The 5.5x version has a good field of view (9.5 degrees) for a high power telescope and its optics are also nice and sharp.

All versions of the Falcon are astonishingly easy to fit and prescribe. The Ocutech website has videos that walk the prescribing doctor through the process, and prescribers can always call Ocutech for any questions or help necessary. They are very accessible, knowledgeable, and willing to help. Since the optics are basically the same as the manual focus systems, if you can’t afford new fitting systems, it is easy to demonstrate and fit with the Ocutech manual systems that are currently in many low vision rehabilitation offices. The frames are the same as used in the manual systems, and the parameters can be verified on the website.

I urge any prescribers to consider these autofocus bioptic systems for any patients interested in distance viewing enhancement. Personally, I have prescribed almost a dozen 4x autofocus systems to date, and all patients have been successful. I am thrilled that the 3x is now available, as it is appropriate for so many persons with mild to moderate visual acuity loss. It bridges the gap between the 1.7x and 2x SightScope Galilean bioptic telescope systems and the 4x autofocus. The cost of the autofocus systems is similar to that of many of the head borne video systems that, in my opinion, can’t compete with the Falcon. 

Autofocus Bioptic is a Game-Changer

Ocutech has brought great advances in technology to the practice of low vision rehabilitation, concentrating on the fairly neglected, but oh so important, study and application of technology to the field of distance vision enhancement. The autofocus bioptic systems allow seamless focus from distance to near, simply by looking at the object of interest. It allows the wearer to focus more on what they want to see rather than dealing with the technology with which they must interact. That, my friends, is a game-changer, for prescribers as well as patients with visual impairment.