A systematic review of extended reality (XR) for understanding and augmenting vision loss

Justin Kasowski, Byron A. Johnson, Ryan Neydavood, Anvitha Akkaraju, Michael Beyeler Journal of Vision 23(5):5, 1–24

(Note: JK and BAJ are co-first authors.)

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Over the past decade, extended reality (XR) has emerged as an assistive technology not only to augment residual vision of people losing their sight but also to study the rudimentary vision restored to blind people by a visual neuroprosthesis. A defining quality of these XR technologies is their ability to update the stimulus based on the user’s eye, head, or body movements. To make the best use of these emerging technologies, it is valuable and timely to understand the state of this research and identify any shortcomings that are present. Here we present a systematic literature review of 227 publications from 106 different venues assessing the potential of XR technology to further visual accessibility. In contrast to other reviews, we sample studies from multiple scientific disciplines, focus on technology that augments a person’s residual vision, and require studies to feature a quantitative evaluation with appropriate end users. We summarize prominent findings from different XR research areas, show how the landscape has changed over the last decade, and identify scientific gaps in the literature. Specifically, we highlight the need for real-world validation, the broadening of end-user participation, and a more nuanced understanding of the usability of different XR-based accessibility aids.

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