A recently proposed visual aid for patients with a restricted visual field (tunnel vision) combines a see-through head-mounted display and a simultaneous minified contour view of the wide-field image of the environment. Such a widening of the effective visual field is helpful for tasks, such as visual search, mobility, and orientation. The sufficiency of image contours for performing everyday visual tasks is of major importance for this application, as well as for other applications, and for basic understanding of human vision. This research aims is to examine and compare the use of different types of automatically created contours, and contour representations, for practical everyday visual operations using commonly observed images. The visual operations include visual searching for items, such as cutlery, housewares, etc. Considering different recognition levels, identification of an object is distinguished from mere detection (when the object is not necessarily identified). Some nonconventional visual-based contour representations were developed for this purpose. Experiments were performed with normal-vision subjects by superposing contours of the wide field of the scene over a narrow field (see-through) background. From the results, it appears that about 85% success is obtained for searched object identification when the best contour versions are employed. Pilot experiments with video simulations are reported at the end of the paper.
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