The Human Variation Model views disability as simply "an extension of the natural physical, social, and cultural variability of mankind." Given this human variation, it can be difficult to distinguish between a prosthetic device such as a pair of glasses (which extends limited visual abilities into the "normal" range) and a visual enhancement device such as a pair of binoculars (which extends visual abilities beyond the "normal" range). Indeed, there is no inherent reason why the design of visual prosthetic devices should be limited to just providing "normal" vision. One obvious enhancement to human vision would be the ability to visually "zoom" in on objects that are of particular interest to the viewer. Indeed, it could be argued that humans already have a limited zoom capability, which is provided by their highresolution foveal vision. However, humans still find additional zooming useful, as evidenced by their purchases of binoculars equipped with mechanized zoom features. The fact that these zoom features are manually controlled raises two questions: (1) Could a visual enhancement device be developed to monitor attention and control visual zoom automatically? (2) If such a device were developed, would its use be experienced by users as a simple extension of their natural vision? This paper details the results of work with two research platforms called the Remote Visual Explorer (ReVEx) and the Interactive Visual Explorer (InVEx) that were developed specifically to answer these two questions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number724013
JournalProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
StatePublished - 2009
EventHuman Vision and Electronic Imaging XIV - San Jose, CA, United States
Duration: Jan 19 2009Jan 22 2009


  • Attentional coupling
  • Foveal perception
  • Human variation model
  • Perceptual enhancement
  • Visual attention
  • Visual enhancement
  • Visual prosthetic
  • Visual zoom

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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