The main goal of this research project, called 3D4Amb, is to develop a system for the diagnosis and treatment of amblyopia, based on the binocular vision but that is accessible. With the term accessible we mean:

the system needs to be relatively low in cost, it must be affordable by a family. To be so cheap, the system may be based on standard off the shelf technologies, which could be bought in stores open to the general public.
Friendly to use
the system needs to be friendly in its use such that the patients can use it without requiring a particular education or skill. The system may be operated autonomously by the children themselves and the intervention of an adult may be limited to initially set up the system (installation) and to start the treatment at least. To be so easily usable, the system may use standard user interfaces like a joystick, a remote control, or a mouse.
Suitable for domestic use
the system can be used at home without frequent time-consuming visits to the hospital. In this way, the timing of the treatment can be decided by the patients (and the system must be able to record the actual use of it). It may use other domestic appliances normally used not for the treatment itself like standard personal computers and televisions.
Easily extensible
it must be possible to easily develop new applications and programs to be added to the system. For this reason, standards and open software libraries may be used for developing the applications.

Basic principle

We have devised a system which has all the above characteristics and is based on the 3D technologies, although the goal is not to provide the patients with the 3D experience but to allow binocular vision.

The classical use of a 3D system is to provide the two eyes with two different images of the same scene with a slightly offset viewing angles which correspond to the different viewpoints of our left and right eye. This vision produces an illusion of real depth of the scene and it is the basis of the virtual reality. We exploit only the capability of the 3D system to send two different images to the eyes while we do not want to recreate a virtual reality.

The basic principle of the system is that the amblyopic or lazy eye and the normal eye are shown two different but related images. This principle can be used in practice for the treatment of amblyopia, where the amblyopic eye is shown the more interesting part of the images of the clip or of the game, while the non-amblyopic or good eye is shown the less interesting part of the image.


The content to be shown by the patient (game or image) is split by 3D4Amb in two parts, one for the right eye (the amblyopic eye in the Figure) and one for the left eye (the good eye in the Figure). The 3D4Amb software will decide what to send to both eyes depending on the type of treatment suggested by the physician. Note that the lazy eye of the child is more stimulated to work, but the non-amblyopic eye is not patched. The patient brain must join the two images to successfully see the complete image and successfully perform simple tasks in case of an interactive game. To make sure that the patient can join the two images there are a significant number of elements common to both images. Note that the final image is a bidimensional image because the goal in not to stimulate the stereo vision of the patient (at least initially).