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Advancing Equity in Entertainment: Creating an Inclusive TV Experience With Relumino Mode

7/6/2023

Samsung firmly believes in the power of technology to create a more inclusive world. When it comes to design, accessibility should be top of mind to ensure that everyone, regardless of their abilities, can fully enjoy the benefits of modern innovations. Through the use of visual aid features on Samsung TVs, we are helping to bridge the gap and providing an immersive and enjoyable viewing experience for all.

Relumino Mode[1], a viewing mode on select Samsung TVs, is designed to help improve the visual capabilities for those with low vision, making it possible for more viewers to engage with their favorite shows, movies and documentaries like never before. By enhancing specific parts of videos — such as the contrast, color and sharpness — this feature makes it easier than ever to discern content on the TV screen.

To shed more light on this groundbreaking inclusive technology, Samsung Newsroom sat down with Dr. Kyungah Park and Jason (Jaeseong) Park from the Visual Display Business, Samsung Electronics, to discuss everything from its development to clinical trials.

▲ Jason Park (Samsung Electronics) and Kyungah Park, M.D. (Samsung Medical Center) discuss their journeys in creating and clinically testing Relumino Mode

Screens for All — Including People With Low Vision

Relumino, borrowed from Latin, means “to give back the light.” The idea is to help improve vision as much as possible for people with low vision. Earlier this year at CES, Samsung introduced Relumino Mode on select Samsung TVs. This follows the wearable device “Relumino Glass” and the smartphone image processing software “Relumino App,” revealed at CES in 2017 and 2018, respectively. Relumino was conceived in “C-Lab(Creative Lab),” Samsung Electronics’ in-house venture program. It has evolved and expanded ever since.

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▲ Relumino Glass(left) and Relumino Mode for Samsung TVs(right)

“For several years, ‘Screens for All’ has been one of the key mottos for us. We’re working to further enhance TV accessibility and promote inclusion,” said Jason Park, who plans products and services for the Visual Display Business. “People with low vision are still a key demographic that need better TV viewing experiences.”

Innovation Rooted in the User’s Perspective

To develop Relumino Mode, planners and engineers met with a number of advisors who had visual impairments to understand their wants and needs.

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▲ Jason Park, Visual Display Business, Samsung Electronics

“There’s an early experience that really changed my perspective,” shared Jason. “When we first met an advisor for Relumino Mode, I asked him to ‘Please come here and have a seat’ to which he replied, ‘Where is here?’ That was a hard and clear wake-up call for me. I was so embarrassed.” It was then that Jason realized that they were exploring a totally new territory and would have to first understand the way their users see the world.

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▲ As part of the efforts to understand customers with visual impairments, Samsung engineers used special goggles to simulate blurry vision

Despite the decades of collective experience in enhancing TV picture quality, this particular project presented a unique challenge that none of the engineers had encountered before. Typically, their expertise lay in identifying even the slightest imperfections on the screen, but now they had to understand what it’s like as a viewer to have low vision. In addition to consulting advisors, the engineers utilized special goggles that simulated blurry vision, serving as a starting point for their exploration. Through a process of generating ideas, conducting trials and learning from mistakes, they eventually developed a solution that could be considered a genuinely effective viewing mode.

Clinical Trials and Direct Feedback

After initial research and development came trials on a larger scale. This is where Samsung Electronics decided to collaborate with Samsung Medical Center, one of South Korea’s most comprehensive medical facilities.

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▲Dr. Kyungah Park, Department of Ophthalmology, Samsung Medical Center

“Clinical trials are popular and recruiting subjects for these projects is relatively easy. Some even ask to join before we ask,” said Dr. Park. “But, that was not the case for the Relumino study. The pool was much more limited as we were stricter with our requirements — we targeted people who have lower vision than WHO’s vision impairment criteria.”

However, the people that Samsung contacted showed significant passion for the project. “Many who joined the trials were very excited and didn’t mind traveling long distances for the study. Thanks to their support and encouragement, we were able to carry out the research,” Dr. Park added.

Four 55-inch Samsung QLED TVs were featured in the tests. One displayed the control image with no picture enhancements at all. The other three TVs showed the same content with Relumino Mode on high, medium and low. The TVs were installed a meter away from each other on a wall in a room with a specified amount of light.

The test was two-fold, with objective and subjective evaluations. A certified contrast sensitivity test was employed for the objective evaluation. For the subjective evaluations, participants were asked to examine a set of eight still images and two videos on each of the screens. Their satisfaction levels were measured on a scale of 0 to 10. Based on the results, researchers carried out additional interviews adjusting picture enhancement levels on the spot.

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▲ A blurry vision goggle simulation of what Relumino Mode may look like to people with visual impairment

Relumino Mode was well received by the group. One of the participants highly praised the technology, saying “I was thrilled to see the ball in a soccer match on screen. It can get frustrating if you can’t see the ball because of low vision, as you can imagine. Relumino Mode helped me see the ball clearly.”

“The subjects’ responses indicated the Mode’s subjective results while the contrast sensitivity testing showed its objective results. Both of these factors, combined, allowed us to find the optimal setting for a brilliant image on TV,” said Jason.

Screens for All, Today and Tomorrow

“While project focused on people with relatively severe visual impairment, many people with lighter symptoms still need help. I’d like to work on developing projects for them,” explained Dr. Park.

Jason shared a similar point of view, saying, “Samsung will continue to advance technology in the long term to provide personalized picture quality for people with vision impairment and let them enjoy TV comfortably.” Samsung remains committed to accessibility and strives to leverage its technologies to enable more people do what they enjoy.

[1] Relumino Mode targets those who suffer from severe visual acuity loss (Source: WHO, World report on vision, 2019) and symptoms of blurry vision. This feature is not intended for use in the diagnosis of disease or other conditions, or in the cure, mitigation, treatment, or prevention of any disease or medical problem. Any information found, acquired, or accessed through this feature is made available for your convenience and should not be treated as medical advice.
Some features may be supported at a different time, and service availability may not be available at the time of purchase of this product. Relumino Mode is applied for TV models QN80C, QN90C, QN800C, QN900C and works on sources provided through DTV and HDMI only. The Mode does not work on other sources, OTTs, etc.

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