Accessibility Tools

The History of VoiSee©

Various technical aids are used in the search for solutions to improve the quality of life of people affected by macular degeneration (AMD). Screen readers with large displays in the stationary area, for example, serve as reading support. However, the situation is somewhat different with portable aids such as electronic magnifiers. Due to their size, these devices only offer limited magnification and display areas and therefore very limited benefits. André Reber also realised this when his mother was diagnosed with macular degeneration and was looking for a suitable aid. This current situation motivated the software and electrical engineer to embark on a special project: the VoiSee© electronic visual aid.

Erste Versuche im Rahmen einer studentischen Bachelorarbeit.
First attempts in the context of a student bachelor thesis.

The vision was a visual aid with a cinema-like screen impression that is nevertheless so light and compact that it is easy to carry around. The main objective is to improve the independence and mobility of those affected with the help of VoiSee©. The realisation of this innovative project proved to be extremely challenging. To achieve the central goal of everyday usability, a technological leap in the field of visual aids is required. A device that fits in a jacket pocket should be fully equipped with state-of-the-art optics, display technology, image processing software and the necessary computing power, despite its handiness. In the search for suitable development partners for various aspects of the visionary project, it quickly became clear that a heterogeneous project team with different specialist skills would be required to further develop VoiSee© into a series product. The necessary experts for the product development of VoiSee© were found at the "Human Centered Engineering" research institute of the Bern University of Applied Sciences, Engineering and Information Technology.

VoiSee© being tested for a clinical trial at Bern University Hospital.

The joint research and development work between the University of Applied Sciences under the direction of Professor Dr Jörn Justiz, the university and the project initiator André Reber was made possible by Innosuisse, the Swiss Innovation Promotion Agency (then still CTI), as part of an 18-month project. This collaboration resulted in the first functional prototype. The project was also supported by the Economic Development Agency of the Canton of Bern.

VoiSee© concept study by students at a university of applied sciences as part of their final theses.

The visual aid's output optics proved to be one of the most important and complex parts of the development. It turned out that the simplest solution was to combine a small screen with specially adapted optics. This allows the display to be held close to the eye and generate an enormously large virtual image. Thanks to the special eyecup, the influence of extraneous light can be reduced to an absolute minimum. A very small auto-focus camera serves as the image capture system. A modern mobile processor controls the device and provides enough power to capture, filter and magnify the images. All components are integrated into a compact and ergonomic housing that can be easily carried around in everyday life.


Reber Informatik + Engineering GmbH
Industriestrasse 10
3110 Münsingen

+41 31 721 70 66

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