Teens develop technology to help the visually impaired

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SAN FRANCISCO (CBS) In a room filled with tech Giants and Silicon Valley elite, some Bay Area teens are getting a lot of attention.

What began as a high school project won the Visa developer hack-a-thon and landed the recent high school grads a coveted spot at TechCrunch Disrupt.

The idea was inspired by their friend's dad who lost his vision to glaucoma and had to buy a $10,000 device to help him get around. They wanted to make something cheaper and more accessible.

It's called Blindsight. The wearable device pairs with an app that helps the visually impaired with daily tasks. It has features to find objects and read text.

The device uses vibrations to guide the user toward objects and machine-learning to identify faces.

It also uses Visa's open-source technology to help make payments and shop, which is how they won the Visa challenge.

"When we heard about the idea and the fact that there are millions of visually impaired people around the world, we felt like this solution would be able to help bring payments to that population," said Charles Tsang of Visa.

And Visa's not alone. The team made it to the semifinals at TechCrunch Disrupt and they hope to someday make it to market. They plan to try to slim down the device to the size of a smartwatch.