Sunday, June 28, 2015

Getting more excited about the prospect of stereopsis

I think I'm getting better at Space, in Vivid Vision.

When I had a vision therapist, one of the things that she would say when doing vision therapy exercises is that I should try to relax my eyes and look 'soft'--or gaze softly.  Does that make any sense?  Weird that I immediately knew what she was talking about even though there's nothing obvious about the meaning of looking 'soft'.

But here's my attempt at explaining it.  It's the opposite of looking 'hard'; relaxing the eyes, and trying to make the act of visual gleaning as passive as possible: trying to make the eyes like a window through which visual information passes.

I don't know why that thought came to me.  I think it was because when I was playing Space, I was noticing the things I was looking at.  I could see the rings and the asteroids with my left eye.  I could also see the spacecraft with the right eye, but because of the suppression, it's somewhat tricky to get all of the detail simultaneously.  So I sort of automatically probe for ways to get the information that I know is there, and that's where looking soft sort of spontaneously came to me.  Just relaxing the eyes, and letting the information stream through.

Just earlier today I had a really good session of Vivid Vision.  It looked better than ever before.  Things look big!  And in my face.  My field of vision is getting giant.  It's pretty amazing.  It's really amazing to think about how much humans can see.  Perhaps it shouldn't be so surprising since so much of our brain is dedicated to visual processing.

I can't help but think that having stereoblindness (or being half blind, which is what it really is) must have a very substantial neurological consequences for those who have it.  I've talked about this before, so I won't get too much into it now.  But it is a major reason why I'm so invested in stereopsis recovery.  It isn't just about the stereopsis.  It's more about having hardware that works the way it's meant to work.  There's every reason to think that a person who recovers stereopsis is going to have a better life than someone who doesn't, all other things being equal.  Sure, the vision part is awesome, but it's all of the other things that are going to be affected by the improved vision.  The second order effects.  Although I admit that I'm pumped about the prospect of the subjective experience of stereopsis, it's the second order effects that I'm counting on.  That's what I'm really after.  Perhaps I'll some day beat my brother at Badminton.

Thursday, June 18, 2015

Vivid Vision

I feel compelled to make an entry today because I had a particularly good vision day.  I almost want to say that I'm beginning to experience fusion.  Not quite there, but I'm beginning to understand why James Blaha renamed Diplopia to Vivid Vision.

Heh, well first of all, Diplopia is a bad thing.  You don't want it.  It's something that you want to fix.  So naming the game Diplopia--a game whose purpose is partly about assuaging diplopia--is sort of like Imodium AD instead naming their product Diarrhea.

'What the... No!  That's exactly what I don't want!'

Vivid Vision, on the other hand, is a very good way to describe how I see my vision changing.  It's... just becoming more... vivid.  It's useless using words to describe it.  But it's like the stimulation is turned way up.  I notice more, colors are brighter.  And it has a lot to do with less suppression.  I'm aware of what's going on in the lazy eye now.  Its input is being noticed simultaneously, and it's all of this extra input that's causing me to use the word vivid.

Interestingly I think my recent progress has a lot to do with an update that James made to his software.  For months I was stuck on version .62 beta (Diplopia), because all of the newer versions would crash on my machine.

About three week ago I gave the latest version a try (I had updated my graphics card's drivers and also the newest Oculus Rift runtime).  When I tried it again, the game actually ran without crashing.  Now, Diplopia *ahem* Vivid Vision is really vastly improved.  Now I can appreciate all of the improvements James has made to the game.

The controls are much improved on Space.  The sensitivity is much dialed down.  The graphics are improved.  There are some new game elements (hard to describe).  I think the biggest improvement is the rendering of the spacecraft itself.  It has these bright, bright thrusters, and the spacecraft has quite a lot more detail on itself.  The spacecraft is only seen on the right eye.  Everything else is seen on the left eye.  Normally I want to sort of suppress the right eye, but because the spacecraft is so big and bright, it makes it much easier to notice input from both channels simultaneously.

It's funny to think that a simple software patch could make such a tremendous difference in the quality of my life.  I know I've said this before, but in case you stumble upon this, Thank you, James!!