Since then, organizations for the blind have been reaching out to the team, expressing the need for the technology. Arbitman, who has continued as an advisor to the team. has been keeping the blind community up to date on his website and they are excited about it.
The team registered the company and filed for a patent. EyeTalk is continuing to refine the prototype and has been exploring manufacturing in China, India and Mexico to keep the price low, said Sanchez. Although EyeTalk is in the development stage, the team hopes to sell the glasses for about $200 and wants to partner with organizations such as Lighthouse for the Blind that could provide the glasses for free to those who can’t afford them. According to the business plan, EyeTalk projects startup costs at $300,000 and a loss in year one, but sees sales reaching $18 million in three years.
Amundarain and Mashni said the next step is further testing and improving the product for durability. They are building the product so that it can be updated with other features as they are developed, such as one in which EyeTalk can help individuals navigate without a walking stick, and another for translations in multiple languages. They are exploring launching a KickStarter campaign to raise initial funds for production. Ultimately, EyeTalk is seeking $300,000 in initial funding to take EyeTalk to market, the team said in its plan.
Pissaris said a project like this can not only help students find their passion but also help them understand the complexity of launching and operating a business. Can they pull it off? “They are very driven, very ambitious and incredibly talented. Their passion is infectious. Yes, I absolutely believe that they will do it.” said Pissaris.
The early progress has even surprised the hard-working team. “At first we didn’t believe in ourselves,” said Sanchez. But lately many things have been coming together. “Every time we get results, it drives us onward.”
Arbitman and the blind community is rooting for them. “That gives us such motivation to keep going,” added Amundarain.