Who would have thought that a group of college students at Florida International University (FIU), vying for a chance to compete at the FIU Track of the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge, would have potentially reinvented an industry and created a whole new market.
That’s in essence what has happened. After being challenged by a faculty member, FIU students Maria Pia Celestino, Viurniel Sanchez, Jesus Amundarain and Esam Mashni came up with Eyetalk, the brilliant concept that could revolutionize how blind or visually impaired people function. The user wears a pair of eyeglasses that has been outfitted with lightweight components to ""read"" printed materials aloud to the wearer.
The concept was born when Sanchez thought that the recognition technology research project he had been involved in and that was funded by NASA and the Department of Defense, could be reconfigured to assist visually impaired people navigate throughout their environment.
Eyetalk, which is still under development, is said to portable, affordable and does not require an Internet connection. As Michael Arbitman, who is blind and also happens to be an entrepreneur, said, "A product like this could give me my freedom back”.