Although the wearable headset market focuses largely on virtual and augmented reality, some of the screen, camera, and form factor innovations are making significant differences for low-sight users — people who would love to enjoy plain old reality without needing eye surgery. Today, Canadian assistive vision company eSight is updating its family of vision-enhancing wearables with eSight 4, a headset that looks even more like a pair of conventional glasses while featuring multiple performance improvements, collectively enabling people to return to work and life activities that were impacted by declining eyesight.
On the hardware side, eSight 4 leapfrogs over its predecessor by doubling the display brightness, a significant boon to low-vision users. There’s also a small improvement in display resolution, which jumps to 1280×960 for each of two OLED screens, up from 1280×768 in eSight 3. The field of view holds steady at 37.5 degrees diagonal, which is to say the area of enhancement will look like a particularly detailed window inside the wearer’s overall area of vision. Image contrast enhancements, a reverse color display option, and dim lighting optimizations are also included to improve acuity.
As before, users can magnify what eSight’s camera sees with up to 24X zoom, but improved autofocus and image stabilization systems make objects sharper faster, enabling users to get clear looks at short-, medium-, and long-range objects. On the other hand, the camera has shifted from 21.5 megapixels in eSight 3 down to 18 megapixels in eSight 4, a change the company says creates the “best match” between the screen, camera, and liquid lens systems for magnification purposes.
Cosmetics don’t tend to be critically important in vision assistance systems, but eSight 4 evolves from the prior curved bar-style design into a shape that looks like continuous lens sunglasses with a camera centered in front of your nose. Inside, users can manually adjust both the interpupillary (left-right) distance of the screens and their depth relative to conventional eyeglasses, enabling users to achieve up to 20/20 visual acuity — a 7-line gain on vision charts and 12-letter improvement in contrast. A fabric-lined halo-style headband magnetically holds a three-hour battery in the back while permitting the front screens to tilt bioptically in a range of +35 to -10 degrees.
eSight 4 continues to be a self-contained solution with 256GB of storage, three speakers, and an integrated flashlight to provide illumination as needed, as well as an IR range finder, temperature sensor, accelerometers, and a gyroscope. It also offers Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity to connect with Android and iOS phones, as well as the option of wired connectivity to HDMI devices. Users can use the eSight app to view their smartphone screens and videos directly through the headset, among other applications.
The eSight 4 is priced at $5,950 — the same as eSight 3 — with the option of $99 per month financing. Two magnetically detachable batteries are included in the package, along with a USB cable, power adapter, and carrying case. The company says typical users have between 20/60 and 20/800 visual acuity, with some up to 20/1400 acuity, across over 20 different eye conditions, ranging from cataracts to macular degeneration, optic atrophy, and retinal detachment. Users interested in testing the new headset themselves can sign up for an at-home trial here.