According to the World Health Organization (WHO), there are 285 million people with low vision worldwide and 39 million who are blind. In the USA alone, about 1.3 million are blind, a number which is projected to increase to 1.6 million by 2015 and 2.4 million by 2030 (NFB, 2012). Due to their disability, only 37% of blind adults in the U.S are employed.
While poverty causes blindness, blindness perpetuates poverty due to increased costs and lack of employability. Because blindness is such a debilitating illness, it requires continuous assistance, thereby also limiting the working capacity of others in the family, often times, causing a spiral of poverty in the family.
Currently, there is no affordable mechanism that enables blind people to read text in books, magazines, newspapers, product packaging, and other similar items posing a significant constraint and limitation on their daily lives. While computers and smartphones are able to address some of these issues, these solutions are very expensive and largely targeted for developed countries. Moreover, many solutions such as software and assisted technology equipment are not mobile as many work only through computer-based, LCD screens.