Imperial College London Featured PhD Programmes
Gdansk University of Technology Featured PhD Programmes
Solent University Featured PhD Programmes

Making art accessible for the visually impaired [Self-Funded Students only]

   Cardiff School of Computer Science & Informatics

  Dr P Eslambolchilar, Prof T Margrain, Dr Y Lai  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Our ongoing research across two Schools in Cardiff University, Computer Science and Vision Sciences, have enabled us to develope state-of-the-art computer vision techniques for establishing correspondences and aligning images/shapes captured from different views on headset displays (augmented reality (AR)). In addition, our recent study of using AR technology to help those visually impaired has shown great potential for people with low visions’ mobility and navigation. Although the current preliminary study focuses on mobility aids, the participants clearly indicate that techniques for visual enhancement could make them better “see” artworks in the room. Benefiting from these streams of studies we have already undertaken, the project aims to carry out proof-of-concept feasibility studies by developing effective visual enhancement techniques to make artworks in museums accessible to those visually impaired. If successful, this can potentially lead to a larger scale prototype development and study with people with low vision in museums and galleries.

To achieve this, we partner with Guided Dogs, RNIB, Cardiff Institute for the Blind, Sight Cymru and Welsh National Museum, to provide facilities and support for carrying out the study. This PhD project is suitable for someone with strong HCI (specially user-centred design and field studies), software engineering and data analyses skills. The PhD is going to be interdisciplinary and working in a team is essential.

To give a general idea about project milestones, we expect the PhD candidate to:

1 - Have a good understanding of literature, conducting user studies, and analysing qualitative and quantitative data.

2 - Complete the ethics application for field studies.

3 - Arrange logistics with Cardiff Museum and recruitment of participants.

4 - Build on the existing techniques. The PhD project will develop visual enhancement techniques using augmented reality headsets e.g. HoloLens that can potentially help visually impaired clearly perceive artworks, e.g. zooming-in, edge or object enhancement, with the alignment of frames captured over time.

5 - Study and compare effectiveness of different enhancement techniques, as well as how their combinations work in the field i.e. Cardiff museum and an art gallery. This will lead to refinement of prototype system and or evolve into new prototypes.

6 - Write, publish and present at international conferences and prestigious journals.

Supervisory Team

Dr Parisa Eslambolchilar (School of Computer Science and Informatics),

 Prof Tom Margrain (School of Optometry and Vision Sciences)

 Prof Yukun Lai (School of Computer Science and Informatics),

Further information on the project

Write with your CV to Dr Parisa Eslambolchilar,

Entry Requirements

A 2:1 Honours undergraduate degree or a master's degree, in computing or a related subject.  Applicants with appropriate professional experience are also considered. Degree-level mathematics (or equivalent) is required for research in some project areas.

Applicants for whom English is not their first language must demonstrate proficiency by obtaining an IELTS score of at least 6.5 overall, with a minimum of 6.0 in each skills component.

How to apply:

Please contact the supervisors of the project prior to submitting your application to discuss and develop an individual research proposal that builds on the information provided in this advert. Once you have developed the proposal with support from the supervisors, please submit your application following the instructions provided below

This project is accepting applications all year round, for self-funded candidates via 

In order to be considered candidates must submit the following information: 

  • Supporting statement 
  • CV 
  • In the ‘Research Proposal’ section of the application enter the name of the project you are applying to and upload your Individual research proposal, as mentioned above in BOLD
  • Qualification certificates and Transcripts
  • Proof of Funding. For example, a letter of intent from your sponsor or confirmation of self-funded status (In the funding field of your application, insert Self-Funded)
  • References x 2 
  • Proof of English language (if applicable)

If you have any questions or need more information, please contact 

Funding Notes

This project is offered for self-funded students, or those with their own sponsorship or scholarship award.


Htike, H. al. 2021. Augmented Reality Glasses as a Mobility Aid for People with Low Vision: a Feasibility Study of Experiences and Requirements. Accepted in ACM SIGCHI Conference, Yokohama, Japan
Htike, H. al. 2020. Ability of head-mounted display technology to improve mobility in people with low vision: a systematic review. Translational Vision Science & Technology 9(10), article number: 26. (10.1167/tvst.9.10.26)

How good is research at Cardiff University in Computer Science and Informatics?

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities
PhD saved successfully
View saved PhDs