Wearables for Good: an Interview with Brian Mech of eSight

Brian Mech, President and CEO of eSight, envisions a future in which wearable technology enhances the human experience, dramatically improving quality of life for people with disabilities.  WEAR Conference caught up with Mr. Mech for a sneak peek at his presentation for WEAR 2016.

WEAR: We are witnesses to the Wearable Tech explosion and the introduction of new devices almost every day. What is your view on the wearable technology industry landscape as it relates to create meaningful human interactions and augment and enhance human experience?

Mech: The places where wearable technology has the greatest potential to augment and enhance human experience is definitely in the health space. The ability to improve health outcomes and quality of life with wearables - everything from fitness trackers to wearable medical devices and monitors - allows individuals to experience life, be that a person who is legally blind seeing a loved ones face for the first time with eSight, a mom (or her physician) who notices her heart rate is a bit erratic and prevents a major cardiac event with an activity tracker to the inclusion of wearables in clinical trials and big data research. Each and every one of these things is possible as technology, wearables and health meet.

WEAR: What potential do you see in these new technologies and products to change medical conditions, improve quality of life significantly and address health issues beyond fitness tracking?

Imagine a world where you don't need to go under the knife or swallow a pill to get better. That's the life that wearables makes possible. Certainly fitness trackers are useful in preventing health issues and early diagnosis, but they're only the beginning. The area of disability is especially ripe for disruption, with wearables including everything from electronic glasses that let legally blind people see, to wearable exo-skeletons that allow paraplegics to walk devices are changing the possibilities for people with disabilities everywhere.

WEAR: Can you please share your own personal/organization journey into the wearable tech field and why your own initiatives and projects can have such a strong impact on human experience and behavior change for Children (UNICEF) and Blind People (eSight)?

I've been in the low vision and wearable space for 17 years, and I've been with eSight for about a year now. One of the issues with so many of the existing assistive technologies for the visually impaired is that each device is meant for a specific activity, so people are limited to a specific activity per device, and most devices aren't mobile. Most people with low vision are out of medical treatment options, except for invasice surgery in rare cases. eSight is revolutionary because it's mobile, hands free and doesn't require surgery (or pills and needles for that matter). For people are who are visually impaired, this is revolutionary. eSight gives people back their independence, the ability to work, to go to school and can dramatically change their quality of life. 

WEAR: Please tell us about one very meaningful moment in which you have experienced of the interaction of man and machine, technology and body?

Every day, people see with eSight. In some cases, for the first time!

A specific story that stands out for me is about a gentleman named Derek. Derek was the first person in his family to graduate from college, and was working in electrical engineering. He was in the process of completing his MBA when he lost most of his vision. He was forced to discontinue his MBA. Derek just received his eSight Eyewear and will not only be able to watch his son graduate from Harvard, he is also considering completing his MBA. 

WEAR: What are you looking forward to hearing at WEAR in Boston this May and what would you like attendees to take away from your presentations?

I'd love to hear strategies other healthcare wearables have for becoming more of a part of the mainstream healthcare practice. The key take away from our presentation is that we have a solution for visual impairment that can change lives and if you know someone with low vision, tell them about eSight. It could change their life too.

Want to see eSight in action? A collection of videos is on the right. >>

Brian Mech will present with Yvonne Felix, Community Development Coordinator for eSight during the Wearables for Good session at WEAR 2016.  Register to attend WEAR using the link below.

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