S1E8: Creating a Care Map for Living with MacDCenters around the idea of creating a care plan to live with macular degeneration. This includes finding the right information centers, support systems, and strategies to navigate life with vision loss. Featured guest Mark Greget, the found of NuEyes talks about his career, passion for helping others, and the power of Assistive Technology.
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In this episode…
Co-hosts Shawn Doyle and Dawn Prall begin the episode with the idea of creating a care plan for a macular degeneration diagnosis. This care plan can be used as a map to live with the disease and manage fear and adversity. They encourage not only those with MacD, but caregivers and loved ones, to find information centers, support systems, and strategies to navigate life with vision loss. If you’re not a planner, they discuss how to get started.
In the next segment, Dawn interviews Mark Greget as the episode’s featured special guest. Mark Greget is an Assistive Technology pioneer and CEO and founder of NuEyes. He tells Dawn about his career journey, passion for helping others, and the empowering ability of Assistive Technology. Mark also brings forth the importance of relationship building, especially with doctors and retina specialists, in the distribution process. Through communication and trust, Mark successfully partners in the medical sphere to provide NuEyes Smartglasses to patients.
NuEyes is a technology company that uses augmented reality Smartglasses to change lives within a matter of minutes. Mark introduces their Smartglasses, the e2 and e2+, which have variable magnification, contrast, text to speech capabilities, and digital accessibility, meaning you can stream television, movies, and check your email without having to change contrast or magnification.
The episode ends with the Shawn and Dawn exchanging views on the importance of using magnification products correctly, a process which involves practice and being patients with oneself. They conclude with an entertaining round of Eye Trivia and information sharing on additional resources.
What We Discuss in This Episode
This eighth episode covers the following featured topics:
“…if you’re diagnosed with macular degeneration, instead of just being upset or grieving or being sad, why not come up with a strategy? So, in other words, an action plan, a strategy, a map, whatever to navigate through your diagnosis and to navigate through your life.” (2:49)
“Assistive Technology is something that’s really enabling somebody to deal with what they have in a positive way. It’s a positive way but it’s empowering somebody. It’s really changing somebody’s life for the better where they can go to school they can go to work; they can see a loved one’s face. It’s these almost immediate reactions of Assistive Technology empowering somebody to go out and do and hopefully do what I’m doing.” (15:05)
“NuEyes, we are a technology company that is using augmented reality Smartglasses, or inventing new versions of augmented reality Smartglasses, to help different verticals and different passions of ours, from the Assistive Technology space, low vision space, to the medical space…” (19:25)
“They put those on their head, these are glasses, folks, by the way, it’s a computer on your head. You put them on, and somebody says, ‘Oh my god, I can see my husband across the room, and I still want to be married to him.’ I swear to God, somebody said that to me.” (20:07)
“One of the things that that we get all the time, every day, is, ‘Well, why doesn’t my doctor know more about the device or know more about what’s out there for me? Why aren’t they connecting that?’ So speak to that a little bit with because I think that doesn’t make sense to our listeners to people who are not us who are not on the inside? They see a huge disconnect.” (23:00)
“An AI component or artificial intelligence component that we patented and granted for optical character recognition on a pair of augmented reality Smartglasses. So really, what that means is you can push a button, and it’ll read back to you in real time, instantly.” (27:44)
“At the end of the day, we’re experts in user experience because of the consumer group that we’re in. So for us, we really landed on Smartglasses. They’re a little bit smarter than my coke bottle glasses I wear every night. It’s really like you said, a computer on your face. Luckily, it’s getting lighter, smaller and less expensive. That’s really where we started in 2016, with the NuEyes Pro.” (30:13)
“I think it’s really critically important to learn to use your magnification products correctly. A lot of people think, you pull out a device out of the box, you hook it up, you plug it in, push go, and boom, right. It doesn’t really work that way in real life. What really is important is that you have to realize that it takes practice and patience. I’ve seen my wife make remarkable progress with her reader, because she was willing to practice and take her time with it, and to have patience. Now on a daily basis, it’s reading documents, all sorts of amazing things that’s really changed the quality of her life by being able to use those readers. But it did take practice and patience in the beginning.” (45:54)
Transcription excerpts from this episode
Hello everyone and welcome to MyMacDLife. I’m your co-host, Shawn Doyle, professional speaker, trainer, and book author. I’m here today with my co-host the lovely and talented, the amazing, the incredible, the irreplaceable, Dawn Prawl, the founder and executive director of The SupportSight Foundation, and a visionary.
Hi, everyone. We’re happy you’ve joined us. We’re excited to bring you some great information, education, and inspiration. We really want to make a difference in the life of people who are suffering with MacD, and we call it MyMacDLife.
I’m really excited to have our guest on the show with us today. I’m going to introduce Mark Greget.
Mark is the founder and CEO of NuEyes. We’ve got a lot to cover, so, stay tuned. Support for today’s MyMacDLife podcast comes from Healthy Vision Association, Novartis, Vispero, Centric Bank, and Heiko Stein and Associates.
So, Dawn, I was reading this morning – as part of my morning ritual, every day, I read.
Everybody knows about these, Shawn. Anybody who listens knows you’re on the elliptical.
Yeah, I can’t take credit for the idea because that came from Hal Elrod, the guy who wrote a book called The Morning Miracle. The advice has really paid off; you just having that great way to start your day. While I was reading my latest book about business strategy, I know that this show is not about business strategy, but extrapolating that idea of business strategy with the idea of: if you’re diagnosed with macular degeneration, instead of just being upset or grieving or being sad, why not come up with a strategy? So, in other words, an action plan, a strategy, a map, whatever to navigate through your diagnosis and to navigate through your life.
Like a business plan?
Yeah, for your disease. I think a lot of people when they’re faced with adversity, the adversity is so involving that it just consumes them instead of stepping back and saying, ‘Well, what’s the plan now? What strategy can I come up with to succeed and live with this disease and treatment and all these other different elements?’ So, I wonder what you thought about the idea of having a strategy around a diagnosis of macular degeneration? Post diagnosis?
Well, it’s interesting that it might help people do it, if they thought about it like that. A lot of people, patients, when they’re diagnosed with a chronic disease: asthma, arthritis, diabetes, there are – I was in acute health care a lot of my career – there are care plans. There’s a doctor or nurse, you know, whatever everybody’s involved. The strategies are diet and exercise, all the things to get healthier. I think people do eventually create a care plan, but for MacD? Let’s talk about that. People are out there listening. You might be a caregiver and not have the disease, and we hope you’re listening because one of the things that you could do as a result of this podcast, or this conversation, is to think about the loved one in your life or the friend or whomever, who has MacD and maybe suggesting to them, ‘What’s your plan? What’s your strategy? Because you’re going to live with this and I want to be part of it. Let’s create one together.’ The other thing about macular degeneration, I think that makes it a little bit different than other diseases, is that it’s your vision. That’s scary. I can’t see. That impacts everything. Everything. You know, your arthritis impacts your life. But it’s, I don’t know, am I making sense? I think that’s where that’s where this podcast comes in. That’s where SupportSight Foundation comes in, to help people create that plan.
I’m not downplaying the seriousness of arthritis, but I think with arthritis, you may have good days and bad days. Some days are better than others.
We know a lot more about arthritis and diabetes than we do macular degeneration, and there’s drugs for it.
With your vision, every day you get up and you’re reminded of it. It’s a bit harder bit of a journey.
There’s no treatment for dry macular degeneration. It’s not out there yet. I mean, I think we’re getting there, the research is getting there because 85% of people have dry. All you can do for dry, as you know, take the vitamins, and diet and exercise. That’s really healthy lifestyle related, and then do the Amsler grid, and make sure that the minute that changes, you’re talking to your retina Doc, or whatever, but let’s go back to what you’re saying. So, that’s kind of the care plan for that. That’s kind of already done.
If you have a good friend, and you call a good friend up and you’re upset about something, a really good friend of my opinion says, ‘So what are you going to do now?’ And not just going, ‘Aw,’ and feeling empathetic.
You’re teaching our listeners to plan. You know, not everybody’s like that. So what do you do? If you’re not the kind of person who does that? What do you think, how can how can we help them?
Great question. I think that’s what we’re all about here, on MyMacDLife, is to provide support, to provide resources, to provide information. Seek people out that can help you whether it’s your medical provider, whether it’s a physician’s assistant, whether it’s a medical professional, whoever, friends, family, articles, websites –
information, it’s about data and information.
Information is power, information will help you develop a strategy.
Getting smarter about it, you’re exactly right. You know, there’s a brand-new resource that we were involved in out there folks called AMD Central, we’re going to have some folks on to talk about it. Dan Roberts, who’s in one of our episodes alluded to this. It’s a collaboration between several macular degeneration nonprofits who serve the macular degeneration community, like The SupportSight Foundation. We, I’m proud to say, led the way to create this AMD Central. It’s a resource online, and a place to start. If you have macular degeneration, or you’re just diagnosed, it’s for caregivers, families, patients, and it’s really an amazing resource. It’s brand new out there. When you’re talking about a plan, one of the things we can suggest to people is that resource along with MyMacDLife. Where is the beginning of you creating your plan that’s right for you?
I think that’s right.
Let’s just bring it home because that’s what it is. That’s good. All of that on the elliptical? You’re good.
Get on that elliptical and you’ll be Shawn Doyle planning your life. You’re awesome.
Gotta have hope.
Mark is a pioneer in Assistive Technology. He’s a veteran in this space that were in, visually impaired community, visually impaired issues. He is a futurist and a visionary – no pun intended. I could go on and on but we’re going to start out by saying: Hey, Mark.
I appreciate you taking time to interview a scrub like me as a founder and CEO of NuEyes. So I appreciate it.
Yeah, thanks for joining us and taking time from your busy life. Let’s get started. As most interviews begin, folks need to get to know you and then we’ll move on to all the exciting things you’re doing. So tell them, Mark, that story in the next couple of minutes and pull out the highlights. Tell everyone who’s listening about you and who you are and how you’ve got where you’re at right now.
Yeah, yeah, how I failed my way through inventing a bunch of cool products, some that were great, and some that weren’t. Yet, you don’t get to see the low lights, the ones that fail in the garage, and you get to see the ones that are highlighted that actually changed people’s lives. It’s been a roller coaster of an event. I’m from the east coast from the Washington, DC, Virginia area. I was an absolute delinquent in high school. My parents kept saying, ‘You have to learn Roman literature, you have to know about all these things that are important in life.’ As I was taking apart their computer day and night and learning about electronics and learning about software and learning about stuff that that mattered most to me. As my high school counselor told me here, ‘You’re really not going to matter about too much.’
Nice. So yeah, Caesar Who?
Yeah, Shakespeare really has done me well over the years. As I looked at it and said, ‘College is probably not going to be the best place for me.’ I looked at the military to get my stuff together in terms of being a less of a delinquent. When I chose the Navy, out of high school, and I remember this like yesterday, so I’m down to Richmond, Virginia, taking my ASAT test scared out of my mind and looking at the book. My high school teachers told me, ‘You’re getting F’s and D’s, and C’s and things like that’, they give me this massive binder. They go, ‘Mark, you’re really smart, pick what you want to do.’ I was like, ‘This, this is crazy.’ All of those things that I was passionate about, and that I liked, really at the end of the day, were real-life experiences to go out and do something good in the world. I enlisted in the Navy, had a good time, saw a lot a lot of great places, saw a lot of bad places, but overall, I think the most important thing, it gave me confidence in myself. It’s almost a leader leadership skill course, if you will, a crash course in entrepreneurship. You have these life skills that you didn’t know about that really came out in the military.
After the military, fast forwarding to 2000, I went to college in San Diego, got straight A’s. Loved, loved what I was doing and couldn’t understand why people were complaining about being in San Diego in the first place and going to school. It was it was a great experience. I minored in marketing, majored in business, loved the whole business aspect of stuff. Then I got into the Assistive Technology space. A few years after that I was pulled in by a buddy of mine, and said, ‘You should really take a look at this in terms of distribution.’ Helping people is super important. That’s what I’ve always been passionate about. Going out there and learning about macular degeneration, learning about glaucoma, learning about all these visual impairments where obviously glasses don’t help, surgery doesn’t help for the most part. It was really about kind of learning: why don’t glasses work, why doesn’t a hand magnifier work? Figuring out this the space in this industry from a ground up mentality, and really just pushing forward and trying to try to help people just like you do.
Let’s pick that apart a little bit if we can, because I know it’s hard to kind of compress your whole life story and in three minutes. The Navy, we got a lot of veterans out there listening. I’m sure they can all relate and thank you for your service by the way.
So Navy, got in shipshape, no pun intended. It changed your life, changed your course, we can all relate to that the path that we all take and the turns that we choose. You get to college, you smart guy, you’re confident. Assistive Technology, you could have gone a million directions: business, business, school, marketing. Why Assistive Technology? Before you answer that, I think it’d be great for you to share with our audience what Assistive Technology means; define it, why that, why that niche.
It was really a personal experience of mine. Assistive Technology is something that’s really enabling somebody to deal with what they have in a positive way. It’s a positive way but it’s empowering somebody. It’s really changing somebody’s life for the better where they can go to school they can go to work; they can see a loved one’s face. It’s these almost immediate reactions of Assistive Technology empowering somebody to go out and do and hopefully do what I’m doing, hopefully do what you’re doing, to be somebody that can be empowered by technology today.
Yeah, absolutely help yourself. For me, when I got out of business school, I originally went into financing. It’s boring and also cutthroat. It’s this knife that’s constantly in your back, the investors are never happy. They always want a higher return. You’re working long hours. I had two small daughters at the time, they’re 15 months apart. I’m miserable on Sundays. I’m just cranky, I’m crabby. My wife’s like, ‘Listen, go do anything, go pump gas, it doesn’t matter. Just go do something that’s going to make you happy.’ I really wasn’t sure what the next step of my life is; you have that fear of the unknown. I know, this is a no, I’m miserable but I have to pay the bills. I have young ones that obviously I want to support. So, a buddy of mine said, ‘Take a look at this. Let me know what you think.’ Full disclosure, I had no idea. I mean, I knew I was a technologist at heart. I knew I wanted to do something that changed lives. Financing sure as heck was not that. He said, ‘Mark, you don’t know what this is come out with me for a day, just come out with me for one day, I’ll treat you to lunch.’ Which he treated me to Denny’s, so many if I knew that maybe I would have gone out. He said, ‘Come out with me for a day and see what this stuff does.’
Now to come full circle. Now you’re in a business where you’ve created products where people can see their 401k, they can see their IRA, they can see their financial statements, their bank statements. So there you go.
Yeah, it’s full circle, right. It’s a dual sword, we can get to that later. The first place I went was Braille Institute in Los Angeles. I’m walking in and I’m seeing the these visually impaired people, these visually impaired, consumers, or whatever you want to call them. They’re happy, they’re motivated, they’re empowered. One of the first people I met was Bill, Dr. Bill, if you will, from The Center for The Partially Sighted. It was really a life moment for me, this is something that’s really, really freaking cool. I can make a difference almost instantly, just as you do on a daily basis.
Awesome. I love hearing stories about how people got to the space that we’re in. It is a journey for all of us, no matter what we do, but the stories of how you, like myself and others, and folks who are listening, how you got to where you are in a visually impaired world, and never even thought about it before.
Let’s fast forward. Now we know what pulled you in, what inspired you. Let’s skip a few years, now you’ve got this idea. You’ve got NuEyes. Tell us, NuEyes is what?
NuEyes, we are a technology company that is using augmented reality Smartglasses, or inventing new versions of augmented reality Smartglasses, to help different verticals and different passions of ours, from the Assistive Technology space, low vision space, to the medical space, to enterprise and, really, we’ve come full circle with the products and I can get to that in a second. The passion has always been low vision, it’s been Assistive Technology. To go out to somebody’s house and change somebody’s life within a matter of 5,10, 20, 30 minutes –
They put those on their head, these are glasses, folks, by the way, it’s a computer on your head. You put them on, and somebody says, ‘Oh my god, I can see my husband across the room, and I still want to be married to him.’ I swear to God, somebody said that to me.
I think for me, honestly, meeting you a few years ago and seeing that news story with you in it and seeing that older lady and her daughter crying, saying she’s never seen her grandkids, that stuff is so impactful. Being a founder and being a CEO of a company, most times really just kind of sucks. You’re dealing with paperwork, quarterly statements, Board of Director meetings, all the stuff that you never wanted to sign up for. At the very essence of entrepreneurship you want to change the world, you want to do something better for humanity. That’s where we started. When I started NuEyes in 2016 I wasn’t like, ‘Yes, board meetings, that sounds amazing. CPAs that I have to pay thousands of dollars for? I can’t wait.’ That was definitely not the goal in mind. It’s moments like you had on the news story. It’s moments like James from the partnership with Comcast. That’s your solace, to be able to change people’s lives like that, where she’s seeing her grandkids for the first time, where you’re doing such an amazing thing for this consumer group that really has been left behind, in my opinion. Macular degeneration, it’s so prevalent in the US, 20 million people.
Going back to my story, my distribution, just like your distribution, was really kind of different when I first started in 2010, where they said, ‘Don’t go to doctors, don’t go and see the retina specialists, you’ll waste your time.’ I was like, ‘I have two small daughters. If they if they look at me weird, we’re going to take them to the doctor, right?’ So partnering with over 175 doctors within the first 12 months of my distribution, and really seeing thousands upon thousands upon thousands of patients was where NuEyes was born. People said, ‘Why can’t someone come with a pair of glasses that does the same thing? Why -’
– but Mark, let me interject here because I think this is important for our listeners to know. One of the things that that we get all the time, every day, is, ‘Well, why doesn’t my doctor know more about the device or know more about what’s out there for me? Why aren’t they connecting that?’ So speak to that a little bit with because I think that doesn’t make sense to our listeners to people who are not us who are not on the inside? They see a huge disconnect.
You’re 100% right. Talking with retina specialists and being friends with now thousands of retina specialists over the years, in some cases, if it’s not about education, the retina specialist feels like he or she failed. The psychology behind it is, ‘There’s nothing more I can do for you.’
Yeah, try coming back, eat right, exercise. Exercise, we talked about that on this podcast, it’s on the website, it’s on The SupportSight Foundation. If you have wet, 10% to 15% of the people can get an injection, we talked about that.
Even in 2010 when you were wet, I mean, there was no shots. They were cauterizing. They’re using lasers, you’re getting scar tissue, things like that.
Well, Avastin may have been on the market, but that was a repurposed cancer drug.
I mean, what at the time when I was there, Avastin had just been figured out as a cancer drug, down, I think, in Florida. For me looking at it saying, ‘There’s something more we can do.’ It was really about partnering. The world is about relationships. It’s about communication, it’s about relationships, it’s about trust. Doctors are so overwhelmed with the drug rap. My pitch to doctors was, ‘Dawn, there’s nothing you need to do. If you have a patient that you feel needs Assistive Technology, something that just help them out, I’m going to go out to their house free of charge. I’m going to send you a nice letter saying what happened. It’s completely free to them. We have different organizations, foundations, the veterans, administration, state agencies, things like that. If they have $1 or a million dollars, we’re going to treat them the same.’ And it worked. It was something where the company I was distributing for went from seeing a couple 100 patients in a year to seeing a couple 100 patients a month. That’s where I kept hearing: why can’t someone come with glasses? Hearing that 1000 times hearing that 2000 times.
People can’t see they want to put glasses on, duh.
Yeah, absolutely. I grew up with glasses. I mean, I have contacts, but I take my contacts off and you guys go away. Hearing this, again, I was going to my wife and saying, listen, I think there’s I think there’s something here.
We’re onto something.
We’re onto something and then the ‘Oh, crap,’ moment going, ‘okay, we’re going to be spending our life savings and maybe this is going to work out or maybe not.’ You try to sell that with a nice bottle of wine at the end of the day.
Mark, we’re going to get into detail, but does anybody ever tell you you’re nuts?
All the time. There’s a plethora of haters out there. People that want to say I’m nuts and crazy. You know you’re doing something right when people hate you.
Talk about the products that NuEyes has, then we’re going to encourage people go to the website.
I appreciate you taking your time out and talk. That’s what this is about. We have three, if not four now, solutions for the visually impaired. If you’re later stage macular degeneration to a kid that has Stargardt’s or someone that’s just getting diagnosed with dry macular degeneration, originally it was coming out with a product that that was just a visualization tool, so magnification, contrast, things like that. Obviously, as your later stage macular degeneration, you get eye fatigue. So having an artificial intelligence component, like optical character recognition, things like that.
An AI component or artificial intelligence component that we patented and granted for optical character recognition on a pair of augmented reality Smartglasses. So really, what that means is you can push a button, and it’ll read back to you in real time, instantly. Luckily, Regina is a hero of mine, where she now has about 100% accuracy, which is good, thank you.
Yes, it’s printed, handwritten,
Yep, printed anything printed material, it will read back to you in real time. So you can save your eyes, reading for a long amount of time, whether you’re visually impaired or not, you’re going to be getting eye fatigue, of course.
Right. That’s also known as TTS, text to speech, correct? So the audience is clear on that. So you’ve got one product, what’s that called?
We started out with that product that was called the NuEyes Pro, that was the original one. The field of view was a little bit smaller for macular degeneration, it was a 30 degree field of view.
Let’s remind folks, macular degeneration, those of you that have it know this, but it’s a central vision disease.
So if you don’t have it, take your fist and put it in front of your face. You’ve got that central vision loss, that scotoma, if you will. You’re using that side vision, peripheral. So if someone with macular degeneration is talking to you, and they’re looking to the side and looking at the side, they’re not being rude. That’s just where they’re usable vision is.
Right. So what does the Pro do for that world?
For later stage, we weren’t as successful as I wanted to, but the younger generation, the star guards, beginning AMD patients. It was great. I mean, we went from the flip phone to a smartphone in really a New York minute. No, going from a 60 pound machine to –
Something you put on your head.
Some of the manufacturers weren’t so happy, obviously.
But do you think that people – and I think our audience could probably answer this better than the two of us and maybe they’ll share it with us on MyMacDLife.org or something – do you think the word technology intimidates people in this situation, why not just call them glasses?
I think you’re right. We went through so many different scenarios of prosthetics to Smartglasses to augmented reality vision. At the end of the day, we’re experts in user experience because of the consumer group that we’re in. So for us, we really landed on Smartglasses. They’re a little bit smarter than my coke bottle glasses I wear every night. It’s really like you said, a computer on your face. Luckily, it’s getting lighter, smaller and less expensive. That’s really where we started in 2016, with the NuEyes Pro.
As you know, I’ve done my research, obviously, and I’m knowledgeable about this, but I’m always learning something new. Then you came out with the e2, and what was the significant advancement there? What drove that product development?
I always believe you’re only as good as your last product. When I’m releasing a new product, and we’ve come up with a concept, and we’ve obviously alpha tested it, we’ve beta tested it, people are giving me the high five, and you still really don’t know until you get it out into the wild, if you will. With the Pro, all that feedback, from a guy screaming at me to people throwing things at me to people hailing the praises of the Pro, the best part about our industry is all feedback is good feedback. You’re always going to learn something, whether it’s good, bad, or indifferent about how your product interacts and what’s going to be the next iteration. So being humble in our industry, and being ears up, if you will, and listening to what people want, what’s next duration is super important. If you’re telling people what they want, you’re going to go out of business. If you’re listening to what people want, then you’re going to be successful. So with the e2 and e2+, I looked at it in a standpoint of, my parents are our baby boomers, we’re looking at an overwhelming amount of baby boomers coming out with beginning stages of macular degeneration.
Oh, yeah. You know, people are diagnosed at 50 and above age 50. Plus, maybe a little drusen here and there, but that’s the beginning age 50.
Absolutely. So what is this consumer group looking at? They’re looking at less magnification, they’re not they’re not wanting to read a 500 page book as your World War Two guys from World War One guys are unfortunately dying out there. They’re living to their hundreds but not much past that. So for us, what if we created something that was so unique and so different, that we included digital content, as well as that magnification piece that obviously is very important.
Yeah, break that down. So these glasses, the e2 and e2+, have the basic magnification, the contrast and the OCR that reads aloud. Then you added the, I’m just going to call it a virtual reality. So for a baby boomer, I can go on Prime, I can go on a Wall Street Journal subscription that I have digitally, I can check my email, I can do all that in those glasses.
You’re doing it in an accessibility format. It’s already been preprogrammed for you where you don’t have to change contrast, you don’t have to change magnification. It’s this virtual reality environment, this immersive experience, where if you want to watch Xfinity stream in that IMAX theater, it’s this massive, huge 101 degree field of view where you’re able to see MASH or watch MASH – that’s the one of the number one comedy series still of this time by the way. I’m a plethora of useless knowledge.
Well, no for those folks listening if you’re a MASH fan, which by the way I was, my dad was, you could watch it on these. You better check these out at NuEyes.com.
And by the way, it’s timeless. I was showing different books and shows that I was watching to my girls, by the way Airwolf didn’t make it unfortunately, it’s so bad. Watching MASH, like this is still funny. This is rad.
Radar. He was the first gay guy I think on TV and nobody talked about it.
This is fun, but I really want to boil it down. I don’t want to rush you because we could go on forever. We’re going to bring you back.
I appreciate it.
Okay, first of all, we got the e2, e2+, you’re constantly in developer mode. How can we deliver a better solution? Right? A wearable? What is this category called again for Assistive Technology?
It’s a wearable one device. Yep.
Okay, and so what does that mean, for people who know nothing about what you’re talking about?
Yes. It’s not a 60 pound machine that you’re carrying around. It’s not a desktop device. It’s something that’s lightweight. It’s something that you can put on your face. It’s something that, in my opinion, has a multitude of uses.
Let’s talk about that because it’s all about tasks, right? Tell folks what the main uses are of wearables e2 and the Pro?
We all use a technical term, but it’s really less technical. It’s about data visualization, it’s about basically seeing, seeing as clear as you can with your usable vision.
You can watch TV, you can see the faces of your grandchildren that you haven’t seen before. Can you drive?
No, you cannot drive.
Is that coming?
It’s in the works. I do have a story behind that. Full disclosure, that’s why, when the product boots up, ‘Do not drive or walk with the product.’ The law is yet another great thing, how much legal fees you pay in in a month, in a year, it’s insane. At least they keep us out of trouble most of the time. We launched the Pro in 2016, I get a call about two weeks later, I won’t mention his name. He’s a distributor in upstate New York. He’s visually impaired himself, great guy known him for a long time. I get this message, he goes, ‘Mark, this product has changed my life. What you did with the Pro is so amazing. I was driving down the highway, it was so great.’ And it’s this innocence. All the color went out of my face my hair standing out, we were like, ‘Oh, no, that’s really not what it was for.’ We’re trying to move technology on the road, but not literally. That’s why you see the disclosure on there, ‘Do not drive or walk with a product.’ With the Pro and the Pro3, they’re more mobility driven. Tons of people walk with them every day with canes and dogs and things like that.
Awesome. You can get outside with them; you can be much more independent. I want to just say let’s
share this information with everybody you know. People need to know that you’re out there, that these devices are out there that change people’s lives, that make them help them be more independent. I mean, let’s face it, finding out you have MacD is really not the thing you want to hear. It’s devastating. But once you pick yourself back up, and like you said, empower, right? What I love about what NuEyes does, and what you do, is because in the end of the day, it’s about helping people who can’t see or who are losing their precious vision understand there are tools and technology out there that’s accessible, usable. I like to tell people; you can’t cut a steak with the butter knife. You need a lot of different things in your life and NuEyes could be the right solution for a lot of people.
Absolutely. You’re looking at technology where we’re at. I always believe there’s no one pair of glasses for one person. I would go out and I’d see five macular degeneration patients a day and everyone was different.
Yeah, you see with your brain.
It’s hereditary. You see with your brain, you know, did you smoke all your life, did you not? Did you sit on the sun? All these different factors and it changes. I think for us at NuEyes, as we as we’ve moved into the enterprise space and the medical space, we’re so passionate about low vision, we’re still dedicating a lot of our resources, a lot of our money in r&d to come up with what I feel is the next iteration of glasses that will really help people. For me, guess what everybody has: a smartphone. So having a pair of glasses that now emulates your smartphone with that data visualization, that forward facing camera is really where, in my opinion, the next iteration of products should go if you want to be on FaceTime, if you want all of these all of these apps that are on your phone, now in an accessibility format that’s now rendered on your glasses. You know, for the for the low vision component, again, we’re not necessarily looking at gesture control, we are doing kind of that Minority Report feeling where you can do gesture control and move your apps around stuff.
You’re using these fancy words, but let me say this: so you can use your pointer finger, folks, imagine that, your index finger your pointer finger? Minority Report, by the way as a plug for Tom Cruise’s movie? You can literally guide things with your finger.
That’s what we’re working on. That’s where my brain has gone, where you’ve got a pair of lightweight glasses, it sits in your hand and sits in your pocket, it plugs into your cell phone, and now you have your cell phone rendered in real time right in front of your face. That’s where I feel the wave of the future is. I could be wrong, but I’ve been told by some of our confidents and alpha and beta testers that they think that’s where it’s going as well.
Well, Mark Greget we are bringing you back. I just want to say, wherever your brain is going, keep it going that direction because the world needs this. We need people like you who understand, who are doing this because, sure you want to make money, but you’re doing it for all the right reasons. You’re doing this because you want to change people’s lives who can’t see and keep doing that. Keep us posted. We’ll have you on. I think the inspiration here for people, I hope, the takeaway is that this stuff is going on all around you. MyMacDLife podcast, our website, NuEyes.com, there’s lots of information out there. If you can’t see it, get your grandkids to do it.
Yeah, or shameless plug, put on an e2.
We’re going to list this information on our website, we’re going to put it in the podcast at the end. I want you to have the last word. What do you want to say to people listening?
I think at the end of the day, we are we are a technology company. But most importantly, we’re an advocate. We will not stop, we will not quit inventing technology for the visually impaired. This is more than just a business. This is more than just an idea. This is a passion. To be able to change somebody’s life with our glasses is super humble and super appreciative. That’s why we get up in the morning every day and deal with deal with crazy stuff.
I love it. You’re crazy. You’re right. You’re crazy good. I am honored and privileged to know you. Let’s do this together so we can share the good stuff. Thank you very much for showing up today.
I appreciate your time.
Tips to help maintain independence, living with macular degeneration, we are all about making your life easier. We hope you’re listening. Maybe even if you’re in a situation where you can jot these down, go for it. Again, we’re going to talk about the correct magnification. Make sure you’re using the correct magnification product and the product power for the task. You got to think about what you’re doing at the time. I always say, you don’t cut a steak with a butter knife, right? Well, the same rule applies here. Not all magnifiers are the same. That’s pretty profound, isn’t it, Shawn?
It is, and my dad has a great saying he always taught me: it’s not the job. It’s having the right tool.
You got that right. So using the wrong map power magnifier will result in failure. How many of you out there have done that? You grab your 3x magnification, magnifying glass and you still can’t read what you’re trying to read. That’s frustrating. The frustration comes from not having the right tool for the task. It’s really important to figure out what you’re trying to do, and then have the tool to do it with, like Shawn said. Second of all, we recommend that you have your eye doctor prescribe the correct magnifier, or eyeglasses or telescope, for reading, for the tasks that you’re doing. Talk to them, tell them what you’re trying to accomplish. You have a relationship, and they can prescribe things that are going to help you. But if you don’t tell them what you’re trying to do, it’s really hard for them to do that. So have that conversation with your doc, the next time you’re there. You’ll be glad you did. Shawn, what have you have to say about magnification, it’s a hot topic right now.
It is. It’s something that’s very near and dear to my heart, because my wife suffers from low vision. I think it’s really critically important to learn to use your magnification products correctly. A lot of people think, you pull out a device out of the box, you hook it up, you plug it in, push go, and boom, right. It doesn’t really work that way in real life. What really is important is that you have to realize that it takes practice and patience. I’ve seen my wife make remarkable progress with her reader, because she was willing to practice and take her time with it, and to have patience. Now on a daily basis, it’s reading documents, all sorts of amazing things that’s really changed the quality of her life by being able to use those readers. But it did take practice and patience in the beginning.
That’s awesome, Shawn. The key to this, folks, is, and a lot of you are out there doing this, but we just want to encourage you to keep practicing and have patience with yourself and use the right magnification for the task. That’s the takeaway for today. Thanks for joining us.
Dawn today we’re going to play a trivia game but it’s a little bit of a different version of trivia. It’s Eye Trivia. I think it’ll be fun, I think it’d be educational. Just so the audience knows, Dawn does not know the answers to any of these questions.
We want them to play along, right?
Yeah, as you’re driving along, as you’re swimming, as you’re listening as you’re working out, as you’re eating your lunch or you’re washing your dishes, whatever you’re doing when you’re listening to us play along with our game and see if you can guess any of these answers.
Yeah, yell out the answer. Send an email it to us. Yeah, I’d love to know if you got it right. MyMacDlife.org.
That’s right. So question number one. The average person blinks how many times per minute, Dawn?
Well, per minute, I’m going to say a million
Per minute? That may be per year. Would you like to give a second guess?
I think I did just lose my mind.
One minute. Well, I think that’d be like hyper-blinking. When you give it another shot?
No, onto to the next. Okay.
So let’s go back to it.
Okay, eyelashes. My wife has the most beautiful eyelashes. People often ask her when we’re out in public, ‘Wow, who did your eyelashes?’ and she’s like, ‘God.’
That’s funny. She’s beautiful anyway, very gorgeous.
The question is: eyelashes have an average lifespan of how long? How long would your eyelashes. . . do they fall out and regrow? I was shocked by this. It’s pretty interesting. So what’s the average lifespan of your eyelashes?
That’s a very good guess but the answer is five months.
So you get new eyelashes every five months?
Actually if you started the human body, almost everything in your body regenerates itself continually. It’s true though. It’s a good thing, right?
It’s macular degeneration then you’re going to make people think that their macula, their retinas, are going to regenerate. We aren’t there yet in the research. But how do the eyelashes know not to all fall out at the same time.
It’s the genius of the Human Design. It’s just amazing. You study the human body, how it all works right? It’s incredible.
So you’re ready for question number three of Eye Trivia? The word eyeball was coined by someone. Who first coined the word eyeball and where did they coin it? So, who first coined this word eyeball?
What do you mean where? Like where were they when they did it?
No, in what format. I guess I should say, like, where was it recorded? Who first used the word.
So God, I wonder when that was? Because we’ve had eyeballs forever. So what did they call it before that?
I know. I don’t know what they called it before that. So by whom and what format?
I’m going to say. Ben Franklin because he did everything.
You’re super close actually.
Were they were in love with somebody and they were gazing into their eyes?
I don’t know. That’s a good question.
Marriage proposal, a marriage proposal format and Ben Franklin it.
Very, very good educated guess. Incorrectly wrong. The word eyeball was coined by William Shakespeare in the play A Midsummer Night’s Dream. By William Shakespeare
Oh my God, that’s crazy. William Shakespeare. He said eyeball. That just does not sound Shakespearean to me.
Ready for question number four of Eye Trivia?
I guess, I’m doing terribly.
These are hard. I didn’t give you an easy ones.
People are going to think I don’t know anything.
These are just hard questions. And, you know, we got to make challenging questions. So people listening in the audience can go, ‘Oh, that’s interesting.’ Question number four: what percentage of our brain is involved in the seeing process?
All of it.
That is a good guess.
We do say that. Shawn, we tell everybody out there. They’ve heard us, me, doctors that we’ve talked to, you don’t see with your eyes you see with your brain, correct.
According to science, half of our brain is involved in the seeing process.
That’s a lot.
You think about all the functions that you have to perform, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting. I mean, that’s a lot of different senses and moving cognition, half of the brain is involved in the seeing process. So that’s pretty interesting. Are you ready for question number five? Dawn? Question number five for our trivia is: what animal has the largest eye?
You think about like a frog? I mean, like, the biggest frog you could think of would be how big? I don’t know, 12 pounds or something?
Relative it’s all relative?
The actual answer is the giant squid. It has the largest I have all of the animals in the animal kingdom, the giant squid.
I didn’t even think squids had eyes.
They have to see. So back to question number one which you originally guessed a million. The average person blinks a million times a minute.
I have to back that down.
That’s a good choice, that’s a little bit in the downward direction.
Oh my god. I hope people aren’t like turning this off.
They’re having fun with this.
Oh my gosh, I hope everybody’s getting these right because this is making me look really bad. Next time I ask the questions.
That’s right. Okay, the average person blinks how many times per minute?
I’m backing off a million. I heard you. I’m going there. I’m going to say 100.
Good guess, it’s 12. The average person 12 times per minute but 10,000 blinks in an average day. 10,000 blinks.
That’s kind of like steps people should do.
Little, little fitness plans, right? Good job, Dawn. That was fun, wasn’t it?
Thanks, Shawn. It really was fun. I didn’t do very well but I learned a lot and let’s just tell everybody out there who listens, maybe you got a few answers right? Maybe not. Maybe you kind of sucked like I did. Share that information with people. It’s interesting. I loved it.
Hey, everyone, thank you so much for spending time with us today. We’re really glad you’re here. Please come back. May 2021 be joyful, healthful, peaceful, hopeful and kindful.
It’s definitely a privilege and a pleasure. And remember, for more information, please go to MyMacDLife.org we have all sorts of resources and info there for patients who have MacD and their families and remember to join us next time on MyMacDLife.
This program is empowered by The SupportSight Foundation. The SupportSight Foundation’s mission is to save sight for millions of people who suffer from age related macular degeneration, AMD, and lose their precious vision. As a 501c3 public charity, our goal is to provide patient education and access to low vision resources to help individuals, families, and caregivers whose lives are severely impacted by AMD. We place a high priority on connecting with people, their families, and loved ones who live with the daily struggle of impaired vision. The SupportSight Foundation funds innovative research projects conducted by the top scientists in the field who are on a path to discover effective new tools, technology, and treatments for people like you with vision loss. The SupportSight Foundation, SupportSight.org, or call us at 888-681-8773, and connect with us on social media. Thank you.
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