Opening Eyes And Doors For The Blind
Reported August 15, 2011
PHOENIX (Ivanhoe Newswire) –Fourteen million Americans are either legally blind or have low vision. Less than half of them are employed and experts say inaccessibility to education is a big reason why. We met up with one student who is using science and technology to open eyes and doors, for those who need it most.
On campus, David Hayden is like any other college student. But in the lab, hes been tagged a genius.
I have other projects with NASA and Google, I wouldnt say Im a genius its just behavior, David Hayden, Computer Scientist who created the Notetaker, told Ivanhoe.
The computer science work hes doing has brought him international recognition.
It helps low vision students take notes in class, Hayden explained.
The high-tech tool pairs a remote-controlled video camera, and microphone, with a tablet PC. Half of the screen records live video of the lecture while the other half has a digital notepad to write or type notes. Students can zoom into the front of the class just by tapping the screen.
The basic problem low vision students deal with is you have this big board and a very limited field of view, and so every time you go from writing to notes, to looking at the board, to going back to your notes theres this delay, Hayden said.
That delay keeps many students from excelling in school. For David, the struggle was personal.
When youre in upper division math courses youre filling up boards a dozen times in 45 minutes so thats when the problems really started, Hayden said.
His frustration brought him to the lab. David and Arizona State professors have spent the last four years perfecting the tool.
It was the first time I was able to take notes without any trouble like I actually left the class feeling like I understood what theyd spoken about, Hayden said.
His work is also paying off outside of class.
One is this fantastic award he got for the Microsoft International Cup, an international competition that he won, Sethuraman Panchanathan, from the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing at Arizona State University told Ivanhoe.
Hes now graduated and got his undergraduate degree. Hes been accepted by MIT and a lot of other schools, John Black, Jr., Ph.D., Research Scientist at the Center for Cognitive Ubiquitous Computing, Arizona State University told Ivanhoe.
And may make education easier for millions just like him.
So that was a fairly emotional experience actually which is unusual for me, Hayden concluded.
Unusual, or just plain genius its an experience worth noting.
The Notetaker isnt ready for primetime yet, but when it is the team hopes to make it available for both fully sighted and low vision students. David and his team will be in New York City in July, to compete in the worldwide Microsoft Imagine Cup finals. MORE