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This critically appraised topic explores the functional task performance of adults with low vision utilizing tactile vision substitution systems, specifically tongue display units (TDUs). TDUs are a novel assistive device that functions to provide artificial vision to those with low vision. TDUs pixelate images captured on a camera the person wears and the images are translated via electronic stimulation on the tongue to paint a picture. Two studies that measured functional task performance utilizing a TDU with adults with low vision were explored. Examples of functional tasks measured include word recognition, object recognition, and orientation and mobility tasks. The studies concluded that with skilled training, the TDU may significantly improve functional task performance in tasks previously impossible for the participants. Use of technology such as a TDU can improve functional task performance to enhance overall quality of life for adults with low vision of light perception or less. The results indicate the need for skilled training by professionals such as occupational therapists to best utilize a TDU.


Occupational Therapy

Faculty Advisor

Kitsum Li, OTD, OTR/L

Publication Date

Fall 2017


San Rafael, CA


Assistive device, low vision, blind, functional task performance, skilled training, sensory substitution system


Medicine and Health Sciences

Increasing Functional Task Performance in Adults with Low Vision