Mad Max Fury Road, the recent epic sci-fi blockbuster, has some pretty impressive adaptive equipment on display throughout the film. It got me to thinking about other Hollywood portrayals of adaptive equipment, and curious about how far have we actually come in 2015, with their real life counterparts. How much of the Sci-Fi Hollywood technologies shown in films and on TV, are actually possible now? Remember Geordie La Forge from Star Trek the Next Generation? That’s right, the visually impaired character who had those rad eighties looking glasses than enabled him to see. Have they, or something like them been invented yet? Well yes it seem they have, and they can be purchased… for a price. http://esighteyewear.com/what-is-esight
“eSight's components work in tandem with the user to enhance the quality of an image reaching the eye, delivering more data and triggering an increased reaction from the cells in the eye.” Currently e-Sight fundraises for the 15k cost for each pair, and then matches them to a person in need. Theoretically it is now possible for a person with visual impairments to have improved vision beyond what corrective lenses can offer. Will this technology go on to eventually being able to augment all vision impairments? Let’s hope so. For now though, the cost of producing and manufacturing the technology will keep them inaccessible to the masses. But not so long ago, refrigerators and washing machines were also only for an elite few.
For those with visual impairments there are also new high tech advances in footwear. Haptic technology footwear by Lechal, and for those who don’t know what Haptic Technology means (I certainly didn’t! ), here is a definition: “A tactile feedback technology which recreates the sense of touch by applying forces, vibrations, or motions to the user.” Wikipedia
Lechal produce Bluetooth insoles that connect via an app to your phone to guide your walking with vibrations. They also offer a GPS connection to a phone.
The Lechel website doesn’t post the price per pair, but I’m guessing that they would likely compare with shoe designer Manolo Blanhik’s kind of prices. Following in the footsteps of the Tom’s Shoe’s “feel good policy”, proceeds from the sale of each pair of Lechal footwear will apparently go towards subsidizing a pair for someone who is visually challenged. Lechal has partnered with the world-renowned L.V. Prasad Eye Institute to implement this program.
The development of adaptive technologies, like solar technologies currently is experiencing a huge boom and are a good investment. "This is a growth market,'' said Richard Chandler, the former chief executive officer of Sunrise Medical in Los Angeles County, who recently raised venture capital to buy companies that make technology for the visually impaired. "In the United States alone, there are 2 million blind people and 10 million with low vision or progressive loss of vision.”
Add these new technologies to the existing braille display, text to talk, and speech recognition software, and perhaps we as service providers have never been better able to serve those with visual impairments.
I’d like to think Lt. Commander Geordie La Forge would be cheering us on, of course all while stopping a core engine meltdown.