Thanks to so many technological marvels around us, every question has not one, but many answers. It’s amazing to see how people develop some really cool and concrete solutions with things they have access to.
Benjamin Yonattan is a passionate ballet dancer. He started dancing when he was five, and got really serious about it when he was nine. However, at the age of five, he also started losing his vision due to a visual disorder called Retinal Dystrophy which leads to a gradual and progressive loss of vision with age. As a 13 year old now, his vision has deteriorated to the extent that seeing with his eyes is like seeing through a straw. This was a major obstacle for a ballet dancer like him at dance conventions with hundreds of people around him. He would bump into people or feel squished into a smaller area.
Thanks to serendipity and his mom’s iPhone, Benjamin realized that putting the phone up to his eye, he saw a lot more than he did with his own eyes. The iPhone camera (or any smartphone camera) can capture a lot more detail and shrink it down in one little area.
This is very easy to demonstrate too – if you make a little hole on your hand by curling your index finger (to the size of a straw) and then see through it, you will see very little. If you then place a phone camera in front of your “hand hole” and see through it, you will see a lot more detail on the screen.
This led them to pursue a much robust solution for Benjamin’s vision – Google Glass! Since this device is wearable, Benjamin could have his hands free for other activities while having access to a substantial portion of his new vision. The first time he tried Google Glass, he was able to seven people in the room instead of the usual one without Glass. The following diagram shows how his vision improved when he started using Google Glass. It is to be noted that eventually, Benjamin will lose all of his vision.
Google Glass seems like a pretty handy and fairly affordable solution for someone with low vision who wants more independence in performing daily activities without the need of another person or accessory. If someone is in need of a temporary solution, this definitely can be considered as an option.