OPTIC 2000 partners with Artha to support visually impaired e-sports player

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French optician and eyewear retail chain Optic 2000 has teamed up with health-tech startup Artha, to support France’s first e-sports competitor.

Optic 2000 and Artha

Optic 2000 has been working to improve the autonomy of the visually impaired for over 15 years, and Artha has developed a haptic belt capable of translating the surrounding environment into impulses that enable users to develop an entirely new perception of their environment.

There are more than two million visually impaired people in France today, and the ‘Optic 2000 Challenger’ initiative was established to enable the first visually impaired e-sports player to compete in a major video game tournament.”

E-sports is rapidly growing, attracting new enthusiasts globally each day.

Although inclusive solutions have expanded audiences, no visually impaired player among the estimated 223 million participants worldwide has competed at a high level — until now.

Salim Ejnaïni, who has been blind since the age of 16, rose to the challenge by competing in Trackmania at the Gamers Assembly, France’s premier e-sports event, held back in March.

After two years of intensive development to perfect the haptic belt, Ejnaïni was able to compete against ten sighted players in France’s most significant Trackmania tournament.

Impressively, only one managed to defeat him.

Promoting inclusion and awareness

This new use of AI not only demonstrates the vast potential of technological advancements to foster inclusivity but also exemplifies how artificial intelligence can transform everyday experiences for the visually impaired.

By integrating AI with sensory technology, Optic 2000 and Artha have not only enhanced the autonomy of individuals like Salim Ejnaïni but also opened doors to opportunities once considered unattainable, such as competing in professional e-sports.

The Optic 2000 Challenger marks a significant milestone in the pursuit of a more inclusive society where the benefits of technology can be enjoyed universally.

Victorien Serre, Creative Lead at AustralieGAD, said: “Our aim with the Optic 2000 Challenger project was to further establish Optic 2000 as a brand committed to vision for all.

“We wanted to break new ground by setting a record in the gaming world and showing that vision isn’t just limited to the eyes.

“By making Salim Ejnaïni the first visually impaired player to participate in an esports competition, we demonstrated that disability should no longer be a barrier.

“Salim’s participation proved that even without sight, one can compete with able-bodied individuals in their chosen field.

Serre added: “For this project, we worked with Artha, a start-up developing a revolutionary belt that offers a new way of seeing, and in which Optic 2000 is investing.

“Salim was equipped with the belt and underwent several months of rigorous training to reach a level that allowed him to compete with the best on Trackmania.

“It wasn’t easy, but his determination and dedication led him to the outcome we know.

On the importance of inclusion in the campaign, Serre said: “The key takeaway for marketers is that major brands have a role to play in inclusion and innovation by successfully executing projects like this one, and these projects should be ingrained in brands’ DNA.

“Inclusion isn’t just about speaking out; it also requires action.

“Allowing everyone to benefit from societal phenomena such as gaming means including them more broadly in society by giving them equal access to shared cultural experiences.”