Technology to help people with sight loss - with RNIB and Envision

Blind person sitting at a deskIn the UK, more than 2 million people are living with sight loss. Of these, around 340,000 are registered as blind or partially sighted, says the NHS. And according to RNIB 250 people every day begin to lose their sight.
 
On Tuesday 28 June 2022 AbilityNet, RNIB and Envision discussed how technology can help blind people and people with sight loss.

Whether you are blind, or care for someone with sight loss, this webinar will be useful to you as it explores the technology available, including 'wearables' and apps, designed help blind people or people with sight loss.

The webinar shares some of the assistive technologies and free tools available that offer support including their free built-in adjustments, apps and resources. You can watch the recording or access the transcript below.

What the webinar covers

  • An introduction to apps versus wearables
  • Real stories from blind people and AbilityNet's recommendations for visual support apps and tech
  • How Envision's tech can help blind people and people with sight loss
  • RNIB's advice for how to make a decision about what tech may be right for you
  • An interactive Q&A session where attendees posed questions to the panellists

Meet the panellists

The webinar included a great line up of speakers:

Envision

Karthik KannanKarthik Kannan is the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer (CTO) of Envision. He leads the engineering to turn the latest breakthroughs in the field of computer vision into meaningful applications for visually impaired people. His focus currently is on how to use AI to capture as rich information from images as possible, with limited strain on processors. Envision’s aim is to build a range of computer vision applications on low-powered devices, smartglasses and wearable cameras. Find out more about Envision's technology on the webinar.

RNIB

Davinder Kullar is an accessible technology coordinator at RNIB. He supports people to adapt to low or no vision, and helps them to use technology to add quality and value to their lives.

During the webinar, Davinder shared how he and RNIB help people make informed decisions about products to best suit their situation and needs.

AbilityNet

Adi LatifAdi Latif is a Senior Accessibility and Usability Consultant at AbilityNet and lost his sight in his early teens. His work ranges from working on accessibility audits to checking the accessibility of a client's website and apps, and providing training on inclusive design. On the webinar Adi provided a demonstration of the vision support apps he finds most useful. 

Profile image of Alex Barker looking at the cameraAlex Barker has worked for AbilityNet for nearly 20 years and has recently become a Disability Consultant at the charity. Alex has Moebius Syndrome, a very rare condition that causes paralysis in facial muscles, club foot, missing limbs and sometimes cognitive issues too. So he understands a lot of the difficulties disabled people have when using technology. 

Webinar FAQs

The slidedeck, recording and transcript is now available on this page.

This webinar recording lasts for 60 minutes.  

Find out more in our webinars FAQs and sign up to our next free webinar in our AbilityNet Live webinar series.

You can find an archive of our webinars on our website and we also offer paid role-based accessibility training.

Q&As

This webinar lasted 60 minutes and included an opportunity to pose questions to the guests. The panel were able to answer many questions from attendees during the live session, which you can find by watching the webinar playback or accessing the transcript. Here are some additional questions we weren't able to answer at the time:

Q: Just out of curiosity, how much do wearables usually cost? 

Alex from AbilityNet: Wearables start at less than £50 for a smartwatch but for smart glasses that are accessible to blind users expect to pay at least £1500.  This is because of the added functionality that they have.

Q: Does the Soundscape app know which direction your head is looking when it uses binaural sound directions? 

Davinder from RNIB: If using supported accessories such as apple Air  Pods yes it does. This is because the supported headset needs to have additional sensors in it to enable them to carry out this task independently of the phone. Supported headsets are listed on the app and online details. 

Q: Does "Specialised Help" in the ‘Be My Eyes’ app work with non-Apple devices?  

Davinder from RNIB: The specialised help is available via the Be My Eyes platform. The app works on both apple and android and therefore once logged in and registered on any platform of choice, the user has access to the specialised help section.

Q: Does the Envision glasses read only the text on an email or would it recognise also the images?

Karthik from Envision: The Glasses can read text, recognize objects, faces, cash, light and even colours.

Q: Can "scan text" read hand-written documents?

Karthik from Envision: The Glasses can read handwritten documents in more than 60 differnet languages. Including cursive handwriting.

Q: Is the reader always on the right hand side or can be be on the left?

Karthik from Envision: The reader is always on the right hand side but you can also use your voice to operate the Glasses.

Q: Can everybody hear the audio or just the person using the glasses?

Karthik from Envision: The speaker is located next to your right ear so it’s mostly only audible to you. Having said that, you can always connect the Envision Glasses to any bluetooth headphones or speakers. That way the audio is only available to you.

Q: Can you refer us to ANY independent current reviews of excellent inexpensive android tablets for use by elderly people with “heavy hands” and inexperienced with such devices? And that can be used with screen readers … with good / loud “audio.”

Alex from AbilityNet: If you would like to call our free phone help line 0800 048 7642, I can support you with some advice and information on this.

Useful resources

Need accessibility training for your team?


Get 10 training courses for the price of 8


If you are looking to book individual courses, get 10% off any upcoming 2022 AbilityNet online training course booked this month, using the discount code AbilityNetTraining10.
You may be interested in our training course: Removing visual barriers - available on demand.

 

Date of webinar: 
28 Jun 2022 - 13:00