4 min read

What is the guiding light which we are following while we build the EyeSkills framework?  You can find out more here…

Elegance is complicated

Engineered systems are what are called “active models”.  As “models” they are deliberate simplifications of reality, which make it possible to focus on the aspects important to the problem at hand.  As “active models” they interfere with, and alter reality itself.  This is particularly evident when building software systems. It is possible to build almost anything, but trying to build everything typically helps nobody do anything.

In this case we are trying to build a system which helps the “ultimate active modeller” – your own brain – figure out how best to rewire itself.   This is a pedagogical task, but it is not about memorising knowledge, or learning processes by rote.  It is not about learning how to puzzle solve. The focus is on experiential learning.  We are attempting to provide the mind with suitable experiences which trigger its inherent abilities to respond and reconfigure itself to new environmental circumstances.

There are countless ways we could attempt to structure such a system.  Over the last two years we have dreamt of dozens of different approaches, story lines, concepts, but each have their weaknesses and strengths relative to different types of sufferer, different classes of VR device (i.e. the power of your phone), and all walk a fine line (in terms of being a framework) between so much generality that they just get in the way, or so little that they become inflexible.

In the meantime, every new idea or insight seems to elegantly fit into and refine the existing mental model we have for how EyeSkills should behave – and what it should become.  This is a good sign we are on the right track.

EyeSkills is humble

Each new experience shows us that the technology we are building is humble : it is a guide and a teacher.  Ultimately, you must motivate yourself.  Ultimately, you must train yourself.  Ultimately, it is your own will which must be combined with the understanding you gain, within the context of suitable experiences, which give your brain the critical “ahaaaa” moments.  It is your brain that  needs to learn to overcome the conflict between your eyes.

What would such an environment look like?  It is not a class room.  It is not a business application.  It is not an addictive click-bait game.  It is not a book.  It may be accessed through rational understanding, but it must be conquered through the development of sensory experience.  It must not be a chore.  It must offer progress in manageable and visible portions.  It must be a journey of discovery and exploration.

The EyeSkills framework philosophy

EyeSkills is about Slow Care

We have realised that EyeSkills will focus on providing almost ambient, artistic, pressure-free environments in which players can incrementally explore what it means to see, and what their vision system is current able to achieve.  In these game states, we are aiming for a “playful flow”.

EyeSkills is about Will and Challenge

“Free-play” is important in establishing confidence and self-belief, but ultimately the learning and training of new skills always requires effort.  Boundaries must be pushed.  We wish to offer those who choose to deepen their skills open-ended challenges which really force them to concentrate and improve.

EyeSkills is about just about technology

A Virtual Reality environment allows us to dramatically reduce the amount of conflicting sources of visual confusion which prevent the mature brain overcome its own rejection of binocular vision.  This is only useful, however, to trigger, reinforce, and measure change.  The most 3D of all 3D environments remains the world itself. This is where almost all your time is spent, and EyeSkills should be encouraging you, and showing you how, you can turn the normal world around you into one gigantic playground for your own vision training.

How does this philosophy transform to framework principles?

The EyeSkills framework is there to simplify the work of developers in the community who which to experiment with approaches suitable for their own conditions, or the conditions of their loved ones.  We believe we can achieve our high-level design goals by providing a framework which  :

  • Provides a base process integrated into the Unity IDE for experiential learning which involves intro – play – outro scenes
    • Support for Audio intro/outro explanations
    • Assets which help gently simulate the relevant portions of the visual system during these intro/outro scenes
  • Provides a meta-structure which assesses the overall visual abilities of a user by extrapolating from their abilities in the experiential learning environments towards a model of their specific issues
    • Orders experiences to build up and combine experiences and senses in an order which helps develop vision
    • Failsafes to prevent “horror diplopia”
  • Offers in Outro scenes to play challenges which can be developed by third-parties.  We simplify this challenge development via
    • 3D camera rigs which can easily manipulate
      • per-eye luminance
      • per-eye alignment
      • per-eye object visibility
    • Suitable example code and 3D assets

The meaning of this list will become clearer as we reveal more system parts and video explainers… I promise 🙂

Lets take a look at what we have so far in the first iteration

Would you like to beta test EyeSkills* or just follow what we are doing?