Meet 3 Young Entrepreneurs Creating Technology for the Blind
At the speed in which technology is advancing, new low vision devices seem to be popping up at a more rapid rate than ever before. You have probably heard of the big-name companies creating devices that have generated mass amounts of buzz in the low vision device industry, but a group taking their rightful spot at the table is young entrepreneurs. Three of the most exciting technological advancements in the vision industry have been created by individuals between the ages of 13 and 22.
Meet the 15-year-old high school student that is spending her free time rethinking the white cane we are all familiar with. A unique meeting with a friend’s visually impaired grandmother sparked an idea that has now secured $56,000 in funding, including an investment from Microsoft.
Karumanchi noticed that the white cane provided little to no help in locating an object that was higher than the knees. Upon doing research, she was surprised to learn that the white cane, an object used by thousands, does not contain any navigational technology.
With this knowledge in mind, Karumanchi decided it was time to implement smart technology into the white cane. This latest prototype includes GPS navigation and an ultrasonic proximity sensor to alert the user of objects from knee to head height. She hopes to incorporate artificial intelligence software via camera into the cane by the time the next prototype rolls out.
At just 22 years old, Khaled Shady is definitely one of the younger entrepreneurs creating devices for a more accessible future for the blind and visually impaired. Navigation is one of the most difficult challenges facing an individual with a vision impairment. Shady aspires to tackle this problem with his innovative invention.
Having a friend lose his eyesight at the age of 15 has sparked a need to help his friend, and individuals like his friend, navigate their surroundings. Shady, along with three other computer engineers, took on the daunting task of creating a device that used RGB imaging and infrared depth data to assist visually impaired individuals in navigating obstacles. Through the use of a Bluetooth headset, the user can easily identify stairs, doors, and chairs, which are typically tough objects for visually impaired individuals to navigate around. The device has the ability to name these objects for the individual wearing the headset.
Shady envisions adding more features to this device eventually supporting the wearer enough for them to accurately gain a sense of their surroundings Shady envisions these devices encompassing the necessary features the wearers need to feel completely supported and to have an accurate understanding of their surroundings. One of the most exciting developments for this device is the affordable price. Shady will not stop until this device is an affordable solution for the millions impacted by a visual impairment.
Shubham Banerjee is only 13 years old, placing him as the youngest entrepreneur on our list. At the age of 12, the California teen, decided that the voice-to-text feature is too costly to be the only solution for those using braille devices. The going rate for a braille printer is around $2,000, a price Banerjee refused to accept. He decided to make a device costing closer to $200, merely 10% of the cost of similar devices.
To put Banerjee’s success into perspective, numerous companies in Silicon Valley have tried taking on this issue, but they have not found much success. After the span of several weeks and seven attempts, Banerjee created his first working prototype. The combination of a LEGO kit and a few small, electrical parts helped Banerjee print the first six dots of a braille sequence.
Now, at the age of 13, Banerjee is the creator of the invention Braigo, a small, low cost braille printing device This device is not only impressive but also accurate, beating out inventors working on a similar idea for years.