About the solution
David Hayden, a freshman double-majoring in math and computer science at Arizona State University, is visually impaired because of a condition that prevents optic nerves to fully develop, the bilateral optic nerve hypoplasia. This condition prevents to see and focus details which are a few feet away. Students with this condition often use a monocular to see the board but they do not always follow the class easily.
The Centre for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing (CUbiC) at Arizona State University, focused on serving the needs of physically challenged individuals, gave David the opportunity to work on assistive technologies. In 2007, David partnered with John Black, a research scientist at CUbiC, to develop a solution for his struggles.
The prototype they developed consists of an application on a tablet connected to a camera with a pan-tilt-zoom feature. The device was portable and allowed David to have the video of the blackboard in his laptop. To improve his experience, David split the screen in two, having on one side the video of the blackboard and on the other side a space to design and take notes with pen input. David also linked section of the notes to the video.
The developed prototype was improved after receiving feedback from other visually impaired students. In 2010, the invention won the Microsoft Imagine Cup competition in the ‘touch and tablet’ category. "External competitions are always great motivators to help you think more critically about a project. Not only do you need to sell it to yourself, you have to sell it to others! The Imagine Cup was a great venue for both reasons. I think we underestimated the publicity that would come from it," Hayden says.
In 2011, the team focused on the design, developing not only a functional but also a cute device. Eventually, the team won second place in the Software Design Category of the Microsoft Imagine Cup competition.
After graduating, David received an internship opportunity at NASA, and he pursued a PhD at MIT. David started manufacturing his Note-Taker in 2015, after founding his company HaydenAt.
More information: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sf1Kwoq-844&feature=emb_title
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