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How Apple Changed the Life of a Legally Blind Filmmaker

Rath is pushing the boundaries of everyday tech. His MacBook connects him to the world in ways you and I couldn't even imagine.
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Let's be real, how many times have you felt you'd die without your phone? My iPhone is an extension of my hand 99 percent of the time, so much so that when it's not physically in my palm or 6 inches away, I begin to feel my body's anxiety levels rise. It's an addiction. But in reality, if I didn't have a smartphone, although slightly hindered and majorly annoyed, my world wouldn't fall apart. I wouldn't reply to emails with the same speed or be able to check Instagram photos every spare second, but eventually I'd get over it.

Well for James Rath technology is more than just a millennial obsession. For him it's the key to living the life he wants. Rath uses modern tech to help realize his passions and to share his perspectives on the world.

James Rath, at just 20 years old, has faced more adversity than most people in their entire lifetime. Rath is legally blind (Ocular Albinism, Nystagmus). But he's also a filmmaker.

James struggled during childhood due to his visual impairment, and the antiquated methods used to help him complete every day tasks, like school assignments, did little to help. But that all changed when he discovered the zoom and voice features offered by the Mac OS. These tools allowed him to read, write, and even edit videos with ease. Though he always had a knack for filmmaking, he realized the video equipment now at his disposal, thanks to Apple, allowed him to see detail in the world like never before. The camera's view finder was essentially a window into society and Rath was able to create and learn in ways he never deemed possible, helping him to overcome depression.

Since that moment, the progression in video and OS technology and ease of access has not only allowed Rath to live a more "normal" life, but also fulfil his creative passions and share them with the world. The work on his YouTube channel is a showcase of everything from everyday celebrations and issues, like dealing with the dreaded break up, to helping the understand what life is like from his perspective.

Rath is pushing the boundaries of everyday tech. His MacBook connects him to the world in ways you and I couldn't even imagine. He uses his phone to take photos of printed text, sends them to his laptop, and blows the images up to a size he can control and digest with less strain. The combination of his video work and employment of technology, lets us understand a little better what he has to deal with on a daily basis. And people are starting to take notice. Just last week Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, tweeted out his encouragement for James Rath:

Thank you, James, for sharing your inspiring story.

— Tim Cook (@tim_cook) March 17, 2016

Instead of feeling isolated Rath is able to promote understanding at a visual level, that even my millenial -- 2 second at a time -- brain can understand. Now with the popularity of his videos, Apple has gone as far as to ask for Rath's opinion on their accessibility feature on their products. He has the potential to help millions of visually impaired people live an easier life. Even though some people think of Apple products as expensive Facebook machines, I think we can all appreciate how their tech is legitimately helping differently abled individuals.

It goes without saying that technological advancement are improving the way we live, but that's often overlooked because of how many people we see mindlessly scrolling through social media feeds on their commute home. What really blows my mind is that the same piece of technology glued to my hand for crushing candy, finding all the eligible men with a few swipes, and streaming unlimited music, is an indispensable asset to others.

Check out James on YouTube, Twitter, and Instagram.

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