According to the WHO and SEVA, more than 800,000 individuals suffer from blindness in emerging economies such as Egypt. The effect on their families, society and economy is large. Modern ophthalmic drugs to prevent sight loss and advanced retinal prosthetics to restore lost sight are very expensive. Thus for many in Egypt, the cost-benefit outcome is prohibitive. Most will continue to use alternative strategies to cope with their vision loss.
One exciting possibility is to substitute sight with the sense of touch in combination with readily available mobile technology in these emerging economies. We aim to improve this sensory substitution at a minimal cost by using next-generation haptic feedback technology for smartphones and tablets. This will provide the visually impaired a better interface to the digital world.