During Vision Research Month, it gives me great pleasure to highlight the work of the Vision Institute of Paris and its subsidiary StreetLab. Both organizations are committed to ongoing vision research, with StreetLab featuring complementary and innovative outreach methods to enhance accessibility, inclusion, public awareness, and education.
The Vision Institute of Paris (L’Institut de la Vision de Paris)
Located in the center of Paris, the Vision Institute is an interdisciplinary research center that addresses eye diseases, vision loss, environmental modification, and daily living skills through the development of technologies using artificial intelligence, ergonomic, and optoelectronic devices and methods.
The goal of the Vision Institute is to discover, test, and develop treatments and technological innovations that will prevent or limit visual impairment, promote independence, and improve the quality of life of individuals who are blind, visually impaired, or have low vision. In order to accomplish these wide-ranging goals, the interdisciplinary Vision Institute includes a research center, a clinical investigation center, a rare disease reference center, and innovative industrial partners.
StreetLab at the Vision Institute
In order to enhance their research goals, the Vision Institute created a subsidiary organization called StreetLab. The mission of StreetLab is to provide training, consultation, and evaluation services to companies seeking to develop products and services that will enhance accessibility, independence, and quality of life for people who are blind or have low vision.
StreetLab’s services and products include:
- A multidisciplinary team comprised of specialists in low vision, accessibility, equipment design, and occupational therapy
- Development of simulation, training, and “awareness” tools that address the functional implications of visual impairment
- Co-development of accessible products and services
- Evaluation of program and product benefits for the blind or visually impaired user, via in-depth functional evaluation at the StreetLab low vision center.
The StreetLab Simulators
Iris&Co is a simulation game in which the player is placed “in the eyes” of five characters, each with a different visual impairment: Stargardt disease, macular degeneration, retinitis pigmentosa, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy.
The setting is a typical working day at a company called Iris&Co, which contains a variety of simulated scenarios: city streets, offices, meeting rooms, and a cafeteria. The purpose of the simulation is to sensitize companies and employees to the everyday on-the-job experiences of employees with vision loss:
You can view the Iris&Co trailer at YouTube.
Visual Impairment Simulator (Simulateur des déficits visuels)
This video simulates a variety of functional vision problems in a three-dimensional urban environment located near the Vision Institute in central Paris. Functional vision effects include blind spots, blurred vision, color vision deficits, and “tunnel” vision and are intended to raise awareness of the accessibility issues commonly experienced by people with vision loss:
You can view the Visual Impairment Simulator trailer at YouTube.
Two Videos to Better Understand Visual Impairment (Deux vidéos pour mieux appréhender le handicap visual)
StreetLab has developed two additional videos to raise awareness and provide training about vision impairment within companies or public organizations:
- Through the eyes of Eloise (Dans les yeux d’Eloïse): Eloise is age 32 and has Stargardt disease.
- A condensed minute in the life of a visually impaired person with retinitis pigmentosa (Une minute dans la vie d’un malvoyant)
- You can view both videos at the StreetLab site on the “sensitization” home page.