One Toronto startup has made it to the big TIMEs.
The accessibility wearables company eSight, based in Toronto, saw its eSight 3 product make it into TIME Magazine’s 25 Best Inventions of 2017 list. The company has seen three generations of the product so far, with the first and second releasing in 2013 and 2015 respectively.
The Canadian wearable joins the ranks of other high-profile inventions on the list like Apple’s iPhone X, the Tesla Model 3 and NASA’s Mars Insight lander.
The eSight 3 works like this: the wearable sits on a user’s face like a pair of glasses and records high-definition video of whatever may be in front of the wearer. That video feed is then augmented using magnification, contrast and proprietary algorithms to turn the stream into something legally blind individuals can actually see. This means wearers can do a lot of things they may not have had the ability to do before, from playing sports to seeing their children in real time.
“Today, eSight is proud to be the largest, most knowledgeable and best-funded R&D lab in the world dedicated to non-surgical sight restoration for the visually impaired,” reads an eSight description. “Our record of technological achievements and the breadth of our patents in the area are second to none.”
Launched in February of this year, the eSight 3 does come in at just shy of $10,000 USD per headset, but the company helps to connect potential buyers with grants and funding. The eSight 3 is lighter, smaller and much sleeker than previous versions before it, not to mention considerably cheaper.
The FDA and Health Canada define eSight as a Class I medical device, meaning it can provide enhanced vision without requiring surgery, pharmaceuticals or other invasive means. A study undertaken by the Canadian National Institute for the Blind found that eSight offers a significant improvement in the visual acuity and contrast sensitivity for users.
There are approximately 285 million people in the world who are blind, and 15 per cent of those are totally or profoundly blind. Unfortunately, eSight cannot help those with absolutely no vision, but for the other 85 per cent of that group, the technology can help them regain a portion of their vision.
Earlier this year eSight was on hand with the eSight 3 at the SingularityU Canada Summit, as legally blind guides donned the wearable technology to act as guides for conference attendees. It was the first time legally blind individuals were used to guide people around an event.
The press from the inclusion on TIME’s list is certainly a highlight for eSight as they hope to grow their user base and bring awareness to those around the world who want to take advantage of accessibility tech.