It seems Google’s low-cost virtual reality headset is useful for more than just simple VR tech demos.
A woman named Bonny (her last name is not listed in the YouTube video) suffers from Stargardt disease, a common eyesight problem that causes photoreceptor cells in the retina to deteriorate, and in rare cases leads to complete vision loss. Thanks to Google Cardboard, as well as a free app called Near Sighted VR Augmented Aid, she is now able to see for the first time in eight years.
Near Sighted VR takes the video feed from a smartphone’s rear facing camera and delivers that same video to each eye, creating a stereoscopic image. This is similar to how the Gear VR’s live view mode works, giving the user a digital view of the world around them while still wearing a virtual reality headset.
Apparently viewing a stereoscopic image so close to her face, allowed Bonny to regain some eyesight. A recent video uploaded to YouTube, showed Bonny being able to see her family for the first time in nearly a decade.
In the past, Cardboard has been used to help doctor’s successfully preform a high-risk surgery.