Smart glasses help blind teen see

Local News

Alyssa Baxter has a new outlook on life. Tuesday, the 16-year-old, who is blind, was given a pair of smart glasses to help her see.

“It’s amazing. I’ve never experienced anything like this,” said Baxter.

Baxter was born with optic nerve hypoplasia and is legally blind. 

“The left eye is 20/200 and the right is pretty much just lights and shadows,” said Lacey Benton, Alyssa’s mom.

Tuesday morning, Alyssa was given a pair of Vuzix M300 glasses. The glasses use Cyber Eyez technology, a camera that magnifies what the wearer sees. The glasses can read text, scan bar codes and recognize 16 billion objects, including colors and people’s moods.

“It’s a great way to help someone with more challenges than I would probably want to deal with in high school,” said Paul Boris, the COO of Vuzix.

Alyssa is a junior at Portage Area Junior- Senior High School. She’s also works as a library aide.

“I can’t do sports so, books,” Baxter said.

However, Baxter used to struggle to read the books’ spines. Librarian Jay Shuck wanted to make her job a little easier, so he reached out to Vuzix, who worked alongside Cyber Eyez and donated the glasses and software for free.

“She’s got great ideas, she wants to go into vet tech. Maybe she can without any impediments. That would be really cool if we could help her do that,” Boris said.

Shuck said Alyssa doesn’t need the glasses to be a good aide. He said he’s looking forward to seeing how they help her outside the library.

“I’m more excited for her to take these glasses and go outside the building,” Shuck said.

Alyssa said the glasses could help her get her dream job in animal sciences or biology. She hopes others take a closer look at the technology’s potential.

“It will be nice for other people to see stuff like this can happen so they can do stuff like this themselves,” Baxter said.

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