Clemson researchers using interactive vision tool for driving studies

September 14, 2011
CLEMSON, SC – September 14, 2011 – Researchers at the Clemson University International Center for Automotive Research (CU-ICAR) and the psychology department have partnered with Perceptual Testing Inc. of San Diego to study the relationship between visual function, muscular coordination and driving.

Above photo: Automotive engineering graduate student Yubin Xi demonstrates the Vision Coach. image by: Clemson University

The researchers are using Vision Coach, an interactive light boardused in rehabilitation clinics across the country by occupational,physical, vision, speech and language therapists; anddriver-rehabilitation therapists. Robin Donley, president of PerceptualTesting, said, “Many times improvement in visual function and visualinformation-processing skills can enhance not only the drivingexperience, but also the quality of life for many patients.”    

The Vision Coach, while used for many rehabilitation purposes, alsois used to train professional athletes, the military and law enforcementprofessionals. Perceptual Testing searched the nation for a researchpartner and selected the team at CU-ICAR due to its automotive expertiseas well as its clinical partnership with the Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center.

“It is exciting to have a partner who can conduct research in auniversity setting and immediately apply those findings in a clinicalsetting,” Donley said.

According to Clemson psychology professor and researcher JohnellBrooks, “Maximizing driving independence can be best accomplishedthrough public and private partnerships between universities, healthcare facilities and industry.”

Her research studying drivers’ capabilities and limitations has takenher from academic research to clinical application. Brooks also has anappointment as a clinical researcher with the Greenville HospitalSystem. The partnership between CU-ICAR and Perceptual Testing has ledto additional programs at the hospital’s Roger C. Peace RehabilitationHospital. 

The vision research also is likely to influence future automotive designs.

Paul Venhovens, the BMW Endowed Chair in Automotive SystemsIntegration at CU-ICAR, said an increased understanding of drivers’vision and coordination can support improving general vehicle design. Italso is crucial to understand the interaction between the driver,vehicle and the driving environment while designing and evaluatingfuture driver-assistance systems aimed to support drivers of all ages incomplex driving tasks.


To participate in the testing
Licensed drivers interested in participating in the research can call 864-283-7272.

Vision Coach
For information on Vision Coach, call 877-826-2240 or go to