Samsung launches Relúmĭno to help the visually impared see

By Jeff Lagasse
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If Samsung Electronics has anything to say about it, those with visual impairments will soon be able to use their smartphones to make things a bit clearer. Samsung is launching Relúmĭno, a visual aid application that works in conjunction with the Gear VR.

The app processes images from videos projected through the rear camera of a smartphone, and makes the images a little more friendly for the visually impaired. Specifically, its major features include magnifying and minimizing the image; highlighting the image outline; adjusting color contrast and brightness; reversing color; and screen color filtering.

The end effect is that Relúmĭno enables visually challenged people to see images more clearly when they are reading a book or viewing an object.

“Relúmĭno will be the life-changer for 240 million of the visually impaired people around the world and we promise a firm and continuing support,” said Jaiil Lee, vice president and head of the Creativity and Innovation Center at Samsung, in a statement.

For those suffering from a blind spot in their vision, or tunnel vision -- the loss of peripheral vision with the retention of central vision -- Relúmĭno works by remapping unseen images and placing them in the parts of the eye capable of seeing them.

When users set the sizes of a blind spot or tunnel vision for the first use, the app automatically places the blind point in the visible surrounding parts and puts images within the “tunnel,” or visible range, thereby helping users who have a visual field defect to see things better. Other visual aids offer similar quality, but Samsung is promising that Relúmĭno will be far less expensive that the competition.

Selected as a C-Lab project last May, Relúmĭno was first designed to help the visually impaired enjoy daily activities such as watching TV and reading books. (C-Lab is a startup business program that nurtures a creative corporate culture and innovative ideas among Samsung employees.) While most C-Lab projects are completed within a year, Relúmĭno will be an ongoing project of sorts, with plans to develop glasses-like products that are perhaps a bit more subtle.

In Latin, “Relúmĭno” means “light up again.”