Jim Cast Headquarters, Washington, DC (Phone: 202/358-1779) Lanee Cobb Stennis Space Center, MS (Phone: 601

/688-3341) RELEASE: 95-136

August 11, 1995

STENNIS RECEIVES VISIT FROM FIRST MISSISSIPPIAN TO USE SPACE TECHNOLOGY-RELATED VISION ENHANCEMENT SYSTEM NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center recently welcomed the first person from Mississippi to use the Low Vision Enhancement System (LVES), a product of NASA's Technology Transfer Program. Jacob Webb of Wiggins, MS, visited Stennis on Aug. 7 to share his experiences after receiving the head-mounted enhancement imaging system. Scientists from Stennis and the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute, Baltimore, MD, used NASA technology developed for computer processing of satellite images in the development of the system. The 21-year-old was born so severely nearsighted as to be considered legally blind, and the condition had greatly degenerated over the years. Since he received the LVES in June, Webb has discovered a whole new world. He can see expressions on his friends' faces, read street signs 1/4-mile away and, for the first time, open his dorm room window to watch birds flying in the sky. "I knew people would ask me how I feel about this, and it's hard to come up with an answer for that. I can show you, I can turn cartwheels, but I really can't find the words to tell you," he said. "You go practically your whole life, 21 years, without something and suddenly someone just hands it to you and says, 'Here you go'." Webb's mother read about the original LVES design several years ago from a news release written at Stennis for a local newspaper. The family decided the LVES, referred to as "ELVIS" by its users, would be beneficial to Webb and

traveled to Baltimore to start the process for receiving a system. Five years later, the University of Mississippi junior will finally be able to sit in class this fall and take notes like his classmates. -more-

-2The LVES is actually a portable image processing system that could make it possible to improve visual capability by appropriately enhancing and altering images to compensate for a patient's impaired eyesight. The system is designed to provide a personally adapted view of the world to someone suffering from a particular vision problem. It consists of two orientation cameras, a zoom camera and a video projection system that provides a wide field of view for its users. The headset and the hand-held control weigh about two-pounds each. So far, there are about 100 units in use. "It is good to see the positive impact of technology transfer not only from the commercial development aspect but for the improvement of the quality of life," said Anne Johnson, technology transfer officer at Stennis. While at Stennis, Webb met with experts from the Technology Transfer Office and other Stennis personnel who helped in the development of the system. He also met with Center Director Roy Estess, who expressed congratulations to Webb. "The people at NASA and Stennis Space Center work diligently to use space technology to create products that Americans can use everyday," Estess said. "It is wonderful to meet Jacob and see that his life has been greatly improved by this device." -endEDITORS' NOTE: A photo is available to media representatives by faxing your request (on your company's letterhead) to the News Branch at 202/358-4333. Photo numbers are: Color - 95-HC-493; B&W - 95-H-504. NASA press releases and other information are available

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