The Economy of Francesco

young people, a pact, the future

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young people, a pact, the future

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September 22-24 2022, - Assisi

September 22-24 2022, Assisi

"The Economy of Francesco"

young people, a pact, the future

Breaking news:

published today the letter with which Pope Francis summons young economists and entrepreneurs to Assisi to propose a pact for a new economy. Economy of Communion participates in the organizing committee of the event together with the Diocese and the Municipality of Assisi and the Seraphic Institute.

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Japan - Smart glasses not to exclude anyone

#EoF: the Stories - Keisuke Shimakage is a young Japanese entrepreneur who founded Oton Glass in 2014 to help his father. The device helps blind and visually impaired or dyslexic people

by Maria Gaglione

published in Avvenire on 21/06/2020

Doing research, doing business. Keisuke Shimakage is a young Japanese entrepreneur. In 2014 he founded a company "because,” says Keisuke “in our society nobody should be left behind. Oton Glass is the company that makes "intelligent" glasses for blind and visually impaired people, dyslexics or people with significant pathologies that prevent a correct reading of messages. These glasses make it possible to convert images of written text into sound through cloud computing.

Their appearance is similar to that of traditional glasses, but they actually integrate two cameras and an earpiece. The underlying technology is complex and sophisticated, the result of collaboration with university research groups (National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology of Japan) which has also led to scientific publications. "Thanks to these devices, the image of the text you want to reproduce,” explains Keisuke “is sent to a system, using Raspberry Pi, and once processed, it is transmitted to the person wearing the glasses through the headset. If necessary, the device can also provide the translation of the text into the desired language." Enterprise and research, that is, technology and implementation have been combined to overcome difficulties and barriers. At the origin of this business idea there is a personal story for Keisuke.

"I started working on the design of Oton Glass so that my father could recover his visual deficit. In 2012, after a surgery he developed a form of dyslexia. The first thing I did during that period was "interview" my father to understand the problems he had in his daily life and observe his behaviour. During the conception phase, I prepared sketches and designed prototypes on the computer. I then formed a team of engineers and designers who made a first working prototype. My father did the testing and based on his feedback we made other modifications to make more advanced prototypes, which were submitted to five other dyslexic people who gave us further suggestions.

Keisuke has kept this approach in his young company as well. "It was fundamental for us to create a community of development engineers, programmers, researchers together with visually impaired people who are our end users. Their presence, collaboration and feedback are invaluable. And it is a joy to know that this tool helps them to have more self-confidence, to leave home and to interact with others more easily, even in the work environment. Some cities, such as Toyooka, Sibuya, Fuchu, Mitsuke, have recognised Oton Glass as a support device for people with disabilities.

Keisuke still has many projects to improve his smart glasses and looks to the future with hope to build a new economy capable of welcoming human weaknesses and giving concrete answers. Doing research in the field of new technologies also means "taking care". Designing smart glasses can also be a tool for social inclusion.

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