We only have a handful of senses to experience our lives and our environment. Out of those few, we have even fewer senses that are critical to how we socialize with others and how we consume our world. This makes it all more critical if one of those senses are limited.
Legally blind people are affected by severe restrictions on how they are able to see. For instance, their field of vision might be smaller or their ability to differentiate between colors and distances could be different from how you see.
Technology tries to solve problems
In 2016 we were happy to report on the EnChroma Glasses and how they were able to let color blind people see the world in full spectrum. Now we encountered another tech company with the goal to help people live a richer life.
That company’s name is eSight and they are located in Toronto, Canada. They work a wearable, which allows the legally blind and people with low vision to actually see. The device is worn on your head and a visor is in front of your eyes.
Making use of a hands-free design, with the eSight wearable you can actually “do” something. You can complete normal tasks a lot easier and you are able to work jobs that would not be as easily completed without the device.
The mission of eSight is simply “everyone deserves to see” and I believe they are right about that. The overall objective of technology is to improve the life of the people who leverage technology. If there is a way for people with limited eyesight, I believe they deserve every possibility to improve that.
How does the eSight solution work?
The design idea behind the eSight wearable is elegant and quickly explained. The eSight glasses use an embedded high-speed, high-definition camera to capture everything the user is looking at. The software algorithm calculates potential video enhancement and renders the improved video on the two OLED displays in front of the wearer’s eyes.
In comparison to less sophisticated solutions, the eSight wearable has great visual clarity and virtually no lag in the video processing. Making use of their patented Bioptic Tilt capability they are able to balance the field of view out to enhance the user’s comfort and avoid nausea or motion sickness.
Our interview with eSight
We (CI) reached out to eSight with our questions about their solution and Jeffrey Fenton (JF), Director of Marketing at eSight, was kind enough to take some time and answer us.
CI: Thanks a lot for taking some time to answer some of our questions. I want to start this off with a little bit more on the background of eSight. How was the company founded? I mean, who had the idea for this and what was the motivation behind that?
JF: eSight was founded on the belief that Everyone Deserves To See. In 2006, our Founder, a successful engineer, asked a very different type of question: “If I can engineer successful technologies for the commercial market, why not create a technology that can let my two, legally blind sisters actually see?” Well, 11 years later and we are proud to have just launched eSight 3, the 3rd generation of this breakthrough hardware that lets the legally blind actually see. eSight is a game-changer for the legally blind, and we are proud to be the largest lab in the world dedicated to wearable technologies for the legally blind.
CI: Do you feel the pricing is set up fairly to all possible buyers or do you hope for health insurances to cover the cost of the eSight wearables?
JF: eSight is more affordable than every before, both with our price reduction in our latest generation, but also with the introduction of our Affordability Program to help individuals identify sources of funding for this technology. Unfortunately, many individuals in this community cannot afford eSight, and we believe that a day will (and should) come whereby society provides this technology to its legally blind citizens, at little or no cost. We believe that key stakeholders – from insurance providers to employers, educational institutions, and government – should consider purchasing this technology for its legally blind members. Not only is it economical, it is, perhaps more importantly, socially just. It is simply the right thing to do.
CI: Have you ever been looking at curing the conditions that cause blindness and partial blindness cases? Could there be a way or would that mean working even more with technology and possibly implants in the future?
JF: We are constantly exploring new conditions, with new technologies and solutions. We are the largest, most knowledgeable and well-funded lab in the world that is dedicated to addressing blindness through wearable tech like eSight. While we cannot comment on our roadmap or future solutions, we can tell you that we will never settle; we are just getting started and are working on some pretty amazing stuff.
CI: Many thanks again for your time! If you don’t mind, I’d like to ask you something slightly more personal with my last question. What’s your favorite story from a person using your technology for the first time? We’d love to share that with our readers.
JF: It’s almost impossible to identify a single story or user; each one is as touching, inspiring and heartwarming. I will say that recently, I got to take part in an assembly whereby an entire community surprised an 11-year-old girl with the gift of sight. This day was magical. It shows just what’s possible when a community comes together to rally behind a legally blind individual who needs a technology to help her see.
While the pricing aspect of the eSight solution remains to be a challenge for some, I remain hoping for help from health insurance companies and maybe even the governments themselves. Being able to see should be everybody’s right if it’s possible. I’m glad there are companies out there, that pursue to improve people’s lives this much.
YouTube: eSight Wearable Helps the Legally Blind to See
Story pitched by news scout Pupu Liang.
Thanks for that!
Photo credit: eSight
Source: Jeffrey Fenton via email