This year I got the chance to attend the ImagineCup Worldwide Finals in New York City, where students from all over the world were presenting solutions to solve the world’s toughest problems through use of modern technology. One of the teams that particularly stood up from the crowd was Note-Taker – a group of guys from Arizona State University who built a device that helps legally blind people during their classes.
Their project had a real backstory to it, since David Hayden – a student at ASU and a member of Team Note-Taker, is legally blind himself. He decided that failing classes in college was not acceptable for him, even if the cause was his low vision. That’s how he came up with the idea of a device that will provide direct help to students with the same problem as him – by connecting an interactive camera to a portable PC, allowing to have a close-up on the activities going on at the blackboard.
The project inspired a lot of people at NYC, and Microsoft recently released a short documentary called Blind Ambition – a story of two low-vision students – Jeremy, a student athlete from SDSU, and David. The video features each of their struggles with visual impairment, and highlights David’s invention of the Note-Taker assistive technology.