Sony is going to modify select PS3 titles to help treat amblyopia or lazy eye in children


According to some new developments, Sony may actually adapt existing Playstation 3 titles to help treat lazy eye issues with children. It seems kind of hard to believe that a video game, which uses hand eye coordination and simple motor skills to interact with- can help an issue such as a lazy eye.

Scientists from Nottingham have actually enlisted help from Sony Computer Entertainment Europe with I-BiT. More specifically, it’s a project designed to help treat lazy eye issues through the use of video games and unique 3D glasses. Specific titles will be adapted to work with the system.

To treat amblyopia or lazy eye, children generally must wear an eye patch over their good eye for an extensive period of time, sometimes in excess of a hundred hours. Alex Foss, the project leader at Queen’s Medical Center in Nottingham says that the traditional form of treatment is rarely efficient for the simple reason that children dislike wearing the patches.

Video games on the other hand, have always been something of cherished pastime when it comes to children. Foss says that the new system, which uses video games, has caused “a marked improvement [that] has been seen after only a few half-hour sessions.”

With the new system, a child wears a unique pair of glasses and plays video games while doing so. Their good eye sees static content displayed through an isolated display, while their bad eye sees foreground movement and patterns. Combined, the child sees a single image but the unique technology helps them strengthen their bad eye.

The Wellcome Trust has funded clinical trials of the technology and related device and they hope that eventually someday it will be mass produced so consumers can use the tech at home. Clearly, that can become more of a reality now that Sony is backing the project. Unfortunately, there’s no word about what titles will be optimized for use with the technology.

Sue Cobb, the Associate Professor at the University of Nottingham says that the I-BiT project will climb to new heights thanks to Sony.

“The development of games and other technologies by Sony will take the I-BiT project to a new level. We are all very excited about the potential impact that this will have in improving the treatment of amblyopia.”

Personally, I think it’s pretty cool that video games are starting to be used as more than just a time-killer. Although, it is funny that the little girl in the image is actually using an Xbox 360 controller instead of the Playstation’s Dual-Shock.

[via University of Nottingham, Gizmag]

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