Preview Mode Links will not work in preview mode

On Tech & Vision With Dr. Cal Roberts

Oct 10, 2023

This podcast is about big ideas on how technology is making life better for people with vision loss.

When we buy a product off the shelf, we rarely think about how much work went into getting it there. Between initial conception and going to market, life-changing technology requires a rigorous testing and development process. That is especially true when it comes to accessible technology for people who are blind or visually impaired.

For this episode, Dr. Cal spoke to Jay Cormier, the President and CEO of Eyedaptic, a company that specializes in vision-enhancement technology. Their flagship product, the EYE5, provides immense benefits to people with Age-Related Macular Degeneration, Diabetic Retinopathy, and other low-vision diseases. But this product didn’t arrive by magic. It took years of planning, testing, and internal development to bring this technology to market.

This episode also features JR Rizzo, who is a professor and researcher of medicine and engineering at NYU — and a medical doctor. JR and his research team are developing a wearable “backpack” navigation system that uses sophisticated camera, computer, and sensor technology. JR discussed both the practical and technological challenges of creating such a sophisticated project, along with the importance of beta testing and feedback.


The Big Takeaways:

  • The importance of testing: There’s no straight line between the initial idea and the final product. It’s more of a wheel, that rolls along with the power of testing and feedback. It’s extremely important to have a wide range of beta testers engage with the product. Their experience with it can highlight unexpected blind spots and create opportunities to make something even greater than originally anticipated.
  • Anticipating needs: When it comes to products like the EYE5, developers need to anticipate that its users will have evolving needs as their visual acuity deteriorates. So part of the development process involves anticipating what those needs will be and finding a way to deliver new features as users need them.
  • Changing on the fly: Sometimes, we receive feedback we were never expecting. When JR Rizzo received some surprise reactions to his backpack device, he had to reconsider his approach and re-examine his fundamental design.
  • Future-Casting: When Jay Cormier and his team at Eyedaptic first started designing the EYE5 device, they were already considering what the product would look like in the future, and how it would evolve. To that end, they submitted certain patents many years ahead of when they thought they’d need them — and now, they’re finally being put to use.



  • “I’m no Steve Jobs and I don’t know better than our users. So the best thing to do is give them a choice and see what happens.” — Jay Cormier, President & CEO of Eyedaptic
  • “I started to think a little bit more about … assistive technologies. … And, I thought about trying to build in and integrate other sensory inputs that we may not have natively … to augment our existing capabilities.” — JR Rizzo, NYU Professor of Medicine and Engineering
  • “I think the way we’ve always looked at it is the right way, which is you put the user, the end user, front and center, and they’re really your guide, if you will. And we’ve always done that even in the beginning when we start development of a project.” – Jay Cormier
  • “When we put a 10-pound backpack on some colleagues, they offered some fairly critical feedback that it was way too heavy and they would never wear it. … They were like … it’s a non-starter.” — JR Rizzo


Contact Us:


Pertinent Links