Samsung’s new TV accessibility feature enhances images to help those with vision impairment. The above image was demoed at CES last week, showing how an RP patient sees the world normally on the left and with the new low vision mode on the right. Click image to enlarge.
Last week in Las Vegas at the annual Consumer Electronics Show—the gargantuan meeting where tech companies show off their next-gen products—Samsung previewed a new TV mode that is purported to help people with low or limited vision. The concept uses filtering algorithms that strengthen object outlines, sharpen contrast and enhance colors on the television display expressly for low vision patients.1 The company calls it “Relumino Mode” and showed a clip simulating how it could help a retinitis pigmentosa patient.
According to low vision expert Erin Kenny, OD, of Salus University, many individuals with reduced vision benefit from management plans that focus on enhanced contrast. Some examples include using accessibility features on devices that provide bold colors, doing tasks under good lighting and employing video magnification. “Samsung’s claims of its Relumino Mode would be very beneficial for individuals who have a reduction in their contrast sensitivity,” she notes.
Samsung reported that Relumino has been available to the public as an app since 2017, involving a phone connected to a VR device. The app records what’s in front of the person wearing the VR using the phone’s camera, enhances the image in a clear way to someone with vision impairment and then shows it to that person.1,2 In its app form, there are various features such as zoom in/out, screenshot and a color invert mode that also displays in high contrast.
Dr. Kenny believes the VR emulation setup works for some individuals and not so much others. “Technology absolutely has its role in low vision rehabilitation, but I do not believe there is one device that solves all problems,” she says.
As the innovative TV mode is in its initial stage, Samsung said it will continue to improve with further research and development to include features such as screen magnification. According to Dr. Kenny, magnification can provide a higher level of detail and therefore a better TV/digital device experience for someone with reduced central visual acuities and central scotomas. This magnification can be as simple as relative size magnification (using a larger TV screen) or relative distance magnification (moving closer to see the TV).
“Currently, spectacle-mounted telescopes can provide angular magnification without having to alter the size of the TV or the distance to the TV,” Dr. Kenny adds.
1. Mauran C. CES 2023: Samsung previews a new V mode for people with low vision. Mashable. mashable.com/article/samsung-event-relumino-mode-smart-tvs-ces-2023. January 4, 2023. Accessed January 11, 2022.
2. Relumino: light up again. Samsung Relumino. www.samsungrelumino.com/home. Accessed January 11, 2022.