Dr. Tuan Tran
Doctor of Optometry
Diplopia is a virtual reality game designed to help amblyopia (lazy eye) and strabismus (crossed eye) using the Oculus Rift and Leap Motion controller.
Watch this video for a quick and simple explanation of Diplopia and how it works. The gameplay is old, for new gameplay check the next video.
Over 20 million people in the US alone have lazy eye. In those affected one of the eyes is weaker than the other, causing diplopia (double vision), amblyopia (lazy eye), and loss of vision in one or both eyes. Since the brain receives conflicting information from the two eyes it often learns to disregard the weaker of the two, suppressing it. This leads to a loss of depth perception and 3D vision.
It was long thought that once a person's brain had learned to suppress one of their eyes that they could only unlearn this suppression before a 'critical age' of between 8 and 12 years old. Only recently has it been shown that certain kinds of therapies (including video games) can actually treat amblyopia past adolescence, allowing for the possibility of restoring 3D vision in adults.
Diplopia takes advantage of the wealth of new information in scientific studies that have come out in the past couple of years to create an experience that could help people who have a suppressed eye gain use that eye in conjunction with their good one.
Here 'Diplopia Mode' is enabled, the game shows the ball and bright bricks to the left eye while showing the paddle and dark bricks to the right. This forces the player's brain to utilize both eyes to win.
In the game you bounce a ball around a room with a paddle to destroy blocks, unlocking power ups. By manipulating the contrast of game elements such as the bricks, ball, and paddle you can trick the brain into integrating the two images when normally it would ignore the weaker eye. By showing only some of the game elements to each eye Diplopia forces the player to incorporate information coming from both in order to win.
These strategies have been used in treatments that have been shown to be up to 6 times more effective than the typical treatment, patching, which is often ineffective for children because of how extremely unpleasant it can be. Diplopia will offer a fun, effective, alternative to patching that can keep the attention of a person long enough to help them.
I was told by doctors my whole life that I could never see in three dimensions like everyone else. By playing Diplopia about 20 hours total, 15-30 minutes a day over 5 weeks, I was able to gain the use of my weak eye and see the world in 3D for the first time in my life.
Thanks to the generosity of our backers we have already raised the money to pay for more than 140 free copies of the game and 13 Oculus Rifts!
Rifts and games will go to those who need them most. You can apply for one here if you are not able to afford the game!
Many people have expressed interest in helping the project in many ways. Diplopia would be happy to accept help in many forms.
We could use help from testers with amblyopia and/or strabismus. Artists, programmers, 3D modelers, and video game enthusiasts can also help!
You can always help by telling your friends about Diplopia and sharing us on facebook, twitter, and the rest of the web.
Oculus Rift. The Oculus Rift is one of the headsets that makes it all possible. It is a head-mounted virtual reality display which allows Diplopia to send different images to each eye. You can play the game in 'normal' mode as a regular video game without a Rift, but you can't use the 'Diplopia' mode to help with amblyopia unless you have one.
Durovis Dive. The Durovis Dive allows you to play Diplopia using an android smartphone. It is a head-mounted virtual reality display which allows Diplopia to send different images to each eye. You can play the game in 'normal' mode as a regular video game without a Dive, but you can't use the 'Diplopia' mode to help with amblyopia unless you have one.
Leap Motion. The Leap Motion controller is a high resolution 3D gesture tracking device. It can be difficult to find the keyboard and mouse while you are inside virtual reality. Using a Leap Motion controller you can easily see your virtual hands to control things around you, making it quite a bit easier to play Diplopia.
Razer Hydra. The Razer Hydra is a motion tracked game controller with a joystick and several buttons. This also solves the problem of finding your keys on the keyboard while in virtual reality, though it is more expensive and less useful than the Leap Motion outside of games.
nVidia 3D Vision. 3D Vision is a stereoscopic gaming kit from Nvidia which consists of LC shutter glasses and driver software which enables stereoscopic vision for any Direct3D game. This will be an alternative to the Oculus Rift, but it is more expensive than the Rift.
Kinect. The Kinect is a full body motion capture device released by Microsoft.