Visually Impaired Teen is using Google Glass to See

Google Glass is being used by a teenager to help him see.


Ben Yonnatan, a 13 year-old Michigan teenager, was diagnosed with retinal dystrophy last year. Within months after being diagnosed, the visual disorder caused him to lose a majority of his vision and has left him with a four-degree field of view, which is described as “looking through a straw”.

Ben Yonnatan’s mother has a professional background in blind rehabilitation, so she has been experimenting with different technologies to see how they can help her son. They started off by using the camera on an iPhone. Since iPhone cameras can capture pretty large photos, Ben Yonnatan used the phone to capture a scene and then analyzed it on the phone. The iPhone worked out well, but they eventually moved to an iPad and used it in the same way.

After using the iPhone and an iPad for a while, Google Glass finally came out and it was like a dream come true. The device is very small, but like a phone it is able to capture a large scene. Also, the display is exactly the right size and works perfectly for Yonnatan. He can see everything he wants to see via the small display and it actually expands his periphery by nearly 70-percent.

“The first time I put it on, I was like, ‘Woah! Woah! Woah!'” Ben recalls. “I could see seven people! I took it off and I could only see one person with one eye.”

Doctors are uncertain about the future of Ben’s vision, and there is a chance he could go completely blind. Still, for now, the family is going to take things day by day. And, Ben is going to continue to enjoy his dancing classes and is going to continue to rock Google Glass.

Ben is documenting his Google Glass journey on Facebook, so if you’re interested in following him click right here.