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16-year-old Mexican Inventor Creates Device That Helps Blind People "See," Walk Unassisted

Shopping & Technology By Thairi Kahoiti
16-year-old Mexican Inventor Creates Device That Helps Blind People "See," Walk Unassisted

No more canes: young Mexicano Diego Roel is helping the blind "see."

At just 17, Diego Roel Chapas is an inventor and entrepreneur with his own TED Talk who wants to change the world with innovative technologies. And he's well on his way, after designing a device called "Strap" that helps the visually impaired "see" obstacles in their path and walk independently.

When he was just 10 years old, Diego Roel Chapas met a young, visually impaired man in the grocery store.  The young man was using a walker, and Diego was struck by how difficult it must be for him to not be able to walk freely and confidently through the world.  In that moment, Diego promised himself that he would do something to improve the lives of the visually impaired.

Just 6 years later, "Strap" was born.

Strap, so named because it literally straps onto the users chest, is a wearable harness that holds a device which uses vibrations to detect and alert the wearer to obstacles in their path. Wearing it, a visually impaired person doesn't need a cane or companion - they can make their way through the world safely and independently.

Hundreds of visually impaired persons have tested Strap, with so much success that Diego, still a student the Tecnológico de Monterrey's high school program, PrepaTec, started his own company, Strap Tech, to fill the hundreds of pre-orders that have come pouring in from families, schools, even companies that want to purchase the device for their employees.

Diego has already won more than 18 national and international awards for his invention, including the Premio Municipal de la Juventud, a NEXT Entrepreneur Award, first place Global Student Entrepreneur Award, and first place in the Talent Land 2018 festival, earning the opportunity to represent Mexico in the Startup World Cup.

Every 5 seconds, a new person, often a child, loses their sight - that's 7 million people a year. Diego's device has the potential to make an enormous difference in the lives of the over 300 million visually impaired people around the world.

But the kid with his own tech company and Ted Talk isn't stopping there; he's always working on his next project. As he says, "I dream with my eyes open and my hands at work."

Felicidades Diego; pa'riba y pa'delante siempre!