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eSports Players Take Note - New Eye Training App Could Give You Competitive Edge

A new app developed by a neuroscientist improves eyesight, and video games require eyes.

Sports are a serious business, whether talking about the athletic variety or the digital.  With the amount of money involved, athletic competitors spend hours of time and huge sums of money training themselves to the absolute peak of physical condition.  Now, thanks to a neuroscientist at the University of California, eSports competitors might also have a part of their body they can train to perfection to improve their game: their eyes.

Aaron Seitz, the neuroscientist in question, has made an app for the express purpose of improving eyesight.  His original goal to was improve the ability of baseball players to rapidly perceive the path of an incoming baseball by helping their brains start picking out details from farther out.  The app proved successful, getting a few of the players up to an astonishing 20/7.5 vision, meaning they could see details from 20 feet away the average person would need to be within 7.5 feet to see.

This could be a big deal.

While long-distance vision is rarely a factor in eSports, vision in general definitely is.  Being able to pick out small details, particularly in the corner of one's eye, plays a major part in most competitive games.  There are already glasses intended to help details spring out better from the screen; is an app to improve eyesight really so strange?

This app is especially intriguing because it doesn't actually do anything to a person's eyes, but trains their brain.  It shows images which neuroscientists believe are what the brain actually translates light into, called Gabor stimuli, training your brain to better interpret what it sees.

Being able to interpret what the eye sees faster has definite applications for eSports, and there are still tons of questions left unanswered that could prove even more useful to athletes of all types.  Seitz is looking into why some of the baseball players showed more improvement than others, most especially the players who managed to get 20/7.5 vision.  That level of improvement is enough to make him question if previous beliefs regarding the human limitations on eyesight might actually be wrong, and his continuing study might actually prove useful in other ways.

In the world of eSports, any advantage is worth looking at.

Sharper imaging and faster detail detection are both things gamers could make excellent use of in any fast-paced game.  The baseball players also remarked their eyes felt stronger.  Eyes which tire more slowly would be of definite use to a gamer who practices for hours every day.  As competitive as modern gaming is, it is inevitable for innovations like this to find their uses in eSports.  Time will tell if Aaron Seitz and the University of California have developed a true training tool for gamers.

Published Feb. 19th 2014

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