Blind Ambition: A Story of Changing the World

If you had the chance to change the world, what would YOU Imagine?

Meet David Hayden, a recent graduate of Arizona State University. Legally blind—David was having so much trouble taking notes in his new Math major, that he was close to failing.

Instead, he decided to take matters into his own hands.

Watch David’s Journey as He Imagines a World of Blind Ambition:


“In 2007 we were filling up a dozen chalkboards in 30…45 minutes, and I simply couldn’t keep up with note-taking. So in a very real sense I felt like, if I didn’t come up with a solution, then I wasn’t going to be able to finish the math degree and that just wasn’t acceptable to me,” says David.

From Desperate Attempt to Keep Up in School…To a Viable Product

“What started as desperate attempt at trying to allow myself to finish a math degree could generalize to a product to help low sighted people in the United States and even beyond that.”

David Hayden and his team of Shashank Srinivas, Michael Astrauskas, and Qian Yan (Mentor: John Black) created a product called Note-Taker, which not only helped David with his studies, but also has helped Jeremy Poincenot. Now a senior at San Diego State University, Jeremy went from 20/20 vision to legally blind within 2 months when he was 19.  Instead of giving up, he has used his willpower, and tools such as Note-Taker, to accomplish his dreams. He can now see the notes on the chalkboard, and he can keep up with fellow students. “I’ve done way more now than I did when I had my vision.”

The Imagine Cup: What Would You Do?

 “I believe that technological solutions more than policy solutions are the way to overcome barriers of access and empower individuals with disabilities,” says David Hayden. “We’ve really accomplished something here and I’d like to say…I’m just getting warmed up.”

Note-Taker placed second in this Year’s Software Design category for the Microsoft Imagine Cup—but more than that, Note-Taker has a viable product that the team hopes to get into market in order to help low-vision people take on the world. They had an idea—and imagined a world that they could change, and followed through.


What can you imagine?

What would you change?

How can you help the world?


Sign up for this year’s Imagine Cup and have a chance to do something that truly matters.

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