We want to ‘make the world a better place’. It’s a phrase I ‘secretly’ hate seeing in pitch sessions as it just simply sounds disengenuous. Making the world a better place and raking in big stacks are often at odds with each other.
I came across a wonderful project developed by some Irish university students today. ‘Field of vision’ essentially utilises AI and a hardware devise to allow the visually impaired to immerse themselves in live sports.
The AI allows real time ball tracking and gives the position on the device to the fingertips of the person using it. It’s a wonderful application of applying technology they’ve learned for the benefit of humanity.
FOV will enable visually impaired fans to touch, hear, and feel the excitement of a sports match as it unfolds before them.
I’m not sure if they have a website yet but they are over on twitter so go and follow their progress there: https://twitter.com/FieldOfVision11
I really love to see projects like this especially from any student. I’m a firm believer that students who are learning any form of technology should have at least one attempt to work on a project that will benefit humanity. It’s important that they can apply themselves to the hard problems before they’re daunted by what is and what is not possible early on.
I remember tackling a small project which would allow people to divert the easy earned cash of search engine advertising (Google) back to selected non-profits; it was an abysmal failure (though we had to sell it soon after launch), got us delisted from a google advertising program but it really was worthwhile to think about new channels of revenue for organisations who could do with the cash injection. Looking back there certainly were other more difficult problems I’d like to have taken on.
If we can take a small amount of time to tackle daunting issues that are faced by the world it should deliver a new perspective to the student and should also no doubt lead to new unexpected innovations. Surely that could only be a good thing.
This concept shouldn’t be limited to students. Professionals who have mastered their craft owe it to the world to give back in any way they can. Finding a tribe where you can discuss problems with people outside of their ‘bubble’ is important. Getting quick feedback is important from experts in the domain you are challenging is a must.
Universities and colleges are traditional venues to discuss and debate ideas but with the pandemic looming in everyones mind there should be a number of places online to interact virtually. My concern is that many of these online communities are often echo chambers where people push an agenda or that they want to make a business out of it.
I started this blog post wanting to write about a cool project I saw today; but now; well, I’m musing to myself what problems am I tackling in my own life to make the world a better place. Unfortunately my mood has turned to a depressed one. Living as an ex-patriate in a developing country like Nepal exposes me to difficult problems like poverty, pollution and unemployment. It’s incredibly unsatisfying knowing that I’m not doing anything to effect change on any of these issues. Does anyone else feel helpless on this or is it just me?