Providing optimal viewing experiences is becoming an essential part of everyday life. Television screens are now being curved in order to provide an optimal viewing experience. Digital displays on computers are being examined to provide the best presentation for people’s eyes.

The Vision Performance Institute, VPI, the research unit of the College of Optometry at Pacific University works closely with many corporations to study how products affect people’s vision. The VPI is a research lab that is largely funded by the corporate community.

Since corporations want to optimize their products’ visual performance and comfort, they come to the VPI and ask the researchers to conduct studies regarding their products.

Director of the VPI James Sheedy brought the research lab from Ohio State University to Pacific in 2006, and began conducting studies in 2007.

Sheedy’s previous expertise and experience with establishing an eye clinic for people who have vision problems at computer displays has caused him to be successful at growing this particular research lab.

“We have fun around here. We have a depth of knowledge about these things and how the eyes operate,” Sheedy said. “No one in the world does exactly what we do.”

Over the years, they have conducted many studies stemming from contact solutions to 3D viewing. One study recently completed was the curved television project funded by LG.

Senior Sammy Ghorashi has been working on the curved television studies since they began last year.

“Gaining experience in scientific methodology, vision science and optometry research was very appealing and has been extremely invaluable,” Ghorashi said. “I was involved in preparing [the curved television study], recruiting subjects and participants, collecting the data, and training other research assistants in the procedure.”

Director of Research Shun-nan Yang has recently been able to share his findings and said that studies of the curved television have shown a relationship between screen curvature and the viewer’s perception.

In the research lab, Yang had subjects sit in front of a custom device, one of the three devices in the world, where a remote controls the curvature of the screen. The subjects are presented stimuli like reading materials, pictures and games.

During the process, the researchers and their equipment check the subject’s eye movement to see how viewing performance and behaviors change in relation to the curvature.

“The greater amount of curvature a screen has, the greater sense of immersion, feeling real and present in the presented visual world,” Yang said. “Our findings suggest curved televisions are good for gaming and video viewing. For a 55-inch television, a five meter radius works best for viewing general content and for gaming, a three meter curvature is preferred.”

The next study the VPI will conduct for Microsoft, who they have worked with for many years. The study will on people’s eye fatigue with respect to computer displays. Subjects will be asked to sit and read a book on the computer for six to eight hours, receiving various breaks in between. The researchers will then monitor the subject’s facial muscles, eye muscles, squints and pulse rate. They want to know how it affects eye movement performance and whether the subject is able to look at the words efficiently.

A special piece of equipment will be taking pictures of each eye, up to 500 photos per second. This process will also be video recorded to monitor when the subject shows signs of fatigue.

Director of the Vision Science Graduate Program Yu-Chi Tai hopes to begin this study in December.

“All of our research is typically open to the community,” Tai said. “We need subjects.”

Although anyone may volunteer for the studies, there are sometimes different requirements and age limits. Subjects will be paid for their participation. Both Sheedy and Tai really encourage students to come check it out, both those interested in researching vision and those interested in being a subject.

“A research lab is a wonderful place for students to gain research knowledge and experience,” Sheedy said. “What better way to learn about it than to do it.”

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