Daejoon Alex Hwang, Ph.D.

Harvard Medical School

Instructor in Ophthalmology

Bioengineering Research Partnership Investigator

Research Summary

Center/Research Area Affiliations


After graduating from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, Dr. Alex D. Hwang joined Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear as a postdoctoral fellow. He became an Investigator and was appointed to Instructor of Ophthalmology at Harvard Medical School in 2015. His work focuses on bioengineering and low-vision rehabilitation.

Download his CV [PDF] for more information.


B.S., Mechanical Engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder (1999)
M.S. and Ph.D., Computer Science University of Massachusetts Boston (2003 and 2010)

Postgraduate Training

Postdoctoral Fellowship, Schepens Eye Research Institute of Mass. Eye and Ear (2013)


2009: Professional Development Grant
2008: Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN)

His Story

Dr. Hwang's engineering background and cognitive research experience in eye movements and human visual system have provided the foundation for him to develop a realistic headlight glare simulator. This work led him to a study the functional impact and the behavioral response to oncoming headlight glare during nighttime driving for people with cataracts.

He has also been developing head-mounted display (HMD) software for patients with low vision. He implemented and demonstrated the possibility of using a lightweight, see-through head mount display (Google Glass) as a vision-enhancement device. A unique, augmented edge enhancement technique was fully implemented and runs as standalone application on the Glass. These apps are easily transferable to other HMDs.

Dr. Hwang's interest in HMDs led to full stereoscopic 3D (S3D) imagery. He is now focused on one of the biggest hurdles of HMD technology: motion sickness while watching S3D contents. While most other studies have primarily focused on hardware latency issues or accommodation-vergence conflict, Dr. Hwan'gs S3D motion sickness model focused on viewer’s perceptual depth distortion regarding the scene/viewer motion. It is the first model that illustrates the detailed process of visual perception that may cause motion sickness in S3D.


Research Interests

  • Low vision and vision aids
  • Had mount display
  • Stereoscopic 3D (S3D)
  • Motion sickness with S3D

Impact of Headlight Glare in Patients with Cataracts

Using a physically validated, novel, real-time headlight glare simulator that runs concurrently with a driving simulator, Dr. Hwang aims to determine the functional impact and the behavioral responses to oncoming headlight glare, and how the presence of cataract in one or both eyes affects nighttime driving. The proposed studies will provide the first comprehensive data about the impact of headlight glare for cataract patients, before, between, and after sequential cataract surgeries.

Motion Sickness During Stereoscopic 3D Video Watching

The project aims to identify the causes and develop a non-medication-based solution to prevent or reduce motion sickness associated with stereoscopic 3D vision.

Face Recognition App for People with AMD

The goal of this project is to develop and evaluate the utility of the Google Glass as a face-magnifying and contrast-enhancing visual aid for patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD).

Current Research Funding

Faculty Research Awards/Google, Inc.
2014-2017 National Institutes of Health, R01 EY024075



7 (Google Scholar, as of August/2017)

Selected Publications

Dr. Hwang has published more than 16 peer-reviewed articles. Below is a list of selected publications. View his publications on PubMed or Google Scholar.

  1. Hwang AD, Peli E. New Contrast Metric for Realistic Display-Performance Measure. In SID Symposium Digest of Technical Papers. 2016;47,1:982-985.
  2. Hwang AD, Peli E. Instability of the perceived world while watching 3D stereoscopic imagery: a likely source of motion sickness symptoms. i-Perception. 2014;5(6), 515-535.
  3. Hwang AD, Peli E. Development of a headlight glare simulator for a driving simulator. Transportation research part C: emerging technologies. 2013;32, 129-143.
  4. Hwang AD, Peli E. An Augmented-Reality Edge Enhancement Application for Google Glass. Optometry & Vision Science. 2014;91(8), 1021-1030.
  5. Hwang, AD, Tuccar, M., Goldstein, RB, & Peli, E. Impact of oncoming headlight glare with cataracts: A pilot study. Frontiers in Psychology. 2018;9(164). 


For a complete list of Dr. Hwang’s patents, download his CV [PDF]

Perceptual Depth Remapping and Head Tracking Approaches to Reduce Motion Sickness While Viewing 3D Stereoscopic Video
Drs. Peli and Hwang identified possible causes of stereoscopic 3D motion sickness, and proposed non-medication based solution to prevent, or at least reduce the motion sickness. (2014, U.S. patent pending.)

Methods and Systems for Adjusting Contrast in Devices
Drs. Peli and Hwang redefined contrast definition for both positive and negative polarity cases and proposed methods that can measure and improve perceptual visibility of display devices. (2016, U.S. patent pending.)