Award-winning app could transform customer services for disabled people

An award-winning app that is transforming the lives of blind and visually impaired people across the planet is set to boost customer services in the public and private sector. Be My Eyes is used by almost 100,000 blind people in 150 countries around the world – connecting them with a network of 1.5 million volunteers who can help them with anything from checking food sell-by dates to choosing clothes or catching the right bus. And now they can connect directly with customer services teams in Microsoft – offering a new way for any customer-facing service to connect with its customers.  

Setting up wifi, changing settings on the TV or using online banking can be frustrating for any customer, but for someone without sight such tasks can be impossible. Users of Be My Eyes can now speak directly with sighted customer service staff at banks, tech companies and other organisations - via their phone camera. 

 

The first business to sign up is Microsoft. Since February, Be My Eyes users have been able to connect to a sighted person on the Microsoft Disability Answer Desk for advice on tasks such as setting up new programmes or using the accessibility features within Microsoft programmes.  

Understanding the needs of disabled customers

Since launching four years ago a common theme for Be My Eyes has been calls from people who need help with higher level technical tasks or who need help from companies directly, which prompted the creation of the new service known as ‘Specialized Help’. 

“The world is very badly designed for people with visual impairment,” says Alexander Hauerslev Jensen, community director at Be My Eyes. “We also know that many companies want to improve the customer support they offer people with disabilities. It’s good for customers to talk to those who know a lot about a specific product or service, ie the relevant company themselves.”

“Close your eyes and try to set up wifi in a new place,” adds Jensen, “It’s more or less impossible. Live video just makes the interaction so much faster.

“If someone from the company can see the problem in real time, issues with their products or service could be resolved more efficiently," he adds. "Each call represents something that’s poorly designed from an accessibility standpoint. It will mean companies will get very unique knowledge and then can change things - whether that’s identifying bugs or making packaging which is more accessible.”

Improving customer services for disabled people

Many businesses or services do not conduct user testing with people of different abilities and are unaware of the accessibility barriers they face when using their services or products. As well as legal risks they are potentially turning away millions of valuable customers. 

Microsoft has been able to reduce the time taken on calls to the answer desk by 30% since it started using the app. “They’re receiving a significant number of calls through the app and agents have been able to identify problems immediately using the camera,” explains Jensen.

The app won the AbilityNet Accessibility Award at the Tech4Good Awards 2018 – with judges particularly impressed by its plans to improve the support that organisations can offer its customers, so that no one is left out in the digital age. It can offer a simple way of delivering support to anyone who could potentially become excluded and an easy way to remove some of the barriers to technology and digital services.

Find out more about the Tech4Good Awards.

Summer time and now reading is even easier

JK Rowling, who wrote the Harry Potter series of books once said “If you don’t like to read, you haven’t found the right book.” That's good advice from someone who has sold millions of books. But what about people who'd love to be able to read but haven't found 'the right way to read the right book'? 

They might have conditions such as dyslexia or ADHD, or have had a stroke and can't hold a book in the way they once could. Technology can allow you to experience the joy of reading, even if it's not following the conventional way you 'read' the book. 

Read anywhere with an e-book

Amazon Kindle with coffee cup and chocolatesYou can read books anywhere; on your commute, on your lunch hour or even on the beach. There are many different ways to enjoy a book; you could pop into your local bookshop and buy a book in print or if you have a smartphone or tablet you could use one of the many different e-book apps to read the latest thrillers or biographies (along with the usual classic titles).  

If you are visually impaired you could connect to the EasyReader software. There are some readers who have dedicated e-book readers such as the Nook - I'm one of them! 

It is interesting to look at how popular e-books are as opposed to physical books. Earlier this decade e-books were more popular than printed books,  but now it seems to be the other way round, with paperback book sales outperforming digital titles. I must admit that I'm currently reading an e-book but my home is full of physical books and in my spare time I can be found in charity shops looking for (more) second-hand books.

Reading on your smartphone

To me, both ways of reading are pretty useful. Of course, because the smartphone is now so small we don't think twice about popping it into our pockets whereas a book, especially a many-paged book, can be quite heavy. Smartphones have changed the way that we read just as they've changed the way we stream music.

If you have an Amazon Echo device you can have books read aloud to you through technology accessed via the Kindle store and now there is a technology called WhisperSynch which will start reading exactly from where you finished off reading the last time. Let's face it, there's nothing quite as annoying as not being able to find exactly where in a book you finished listening up to last time, is there?  Currently Echo devices will also read Audible books, but not books from the Overdrive store.

Ask Alexa

Oh and if you are lucky enough to have an Echo you could always ask Alexa what books she'd suggest and she will come back to you with some recommendations. More and more skills relating to books are appearing on the Alexa skills list all of the time. If you have a Google Home device you aren't left out either - you can download books via the Play Books store on your Android phone. 

So as we've seen, you can now read on a number of different devices. Whether you're off on holiday or having a staycation or just reading on the way home from work - you've now got even more ways of escaping into a good book!


How can we help?

AbilityNet helps disabled people use computers and the internet at work, at home and in education. There are a few ways that we can help:

  • Call our free helpline on 0800 269 545 - our friendly, knowledgeable staff will discuss any kind of computer problem and do their best to come up with a solution. Our free helpline is staffed Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm.
  • Arrange a home visit - we have a network of AbilityNet ITCanHelp volunteers who can help if you have technical issues with your computer systems. They can come to your home, or help you over the phone/remotely.
  • Download our factsheets - these share in detail the many ways technology might be able to help you, and can be downloaded for free. 
  • Use My Computer My Way - this shares hints and tips that you can use to make your time on the computer that bit easier.

AbilityNet appoints new CEO

The Trustees of AbilityNet announced the appointment of Gary Moore as Chief Executive. Gary brings strong sales, marketing and leadership expertise from senior management roles in major technology enterprises including BT, O2 and Colt Technologies. He is a trustee of the WCIT Charity, and has extensive experience of assisting charities with information technology.

 

Alan Brooks, Chairman of Trustees, noted: “We are delighted to welcome Gary as our new CEO. Technology is rapidly changing, and the need for AbilityNet’s services is greater than ever. We are convinced that Gary will steer the charity to greater success in this fast-moving environment.”

 

Gary Moore commented: “AbilityNet helps thousands of users with disabilities every year to get the best from technology. I have been very impressed with the staff, with the services offered, and with the attentive engagement of the Trustees. I look forward to leading the team to delivering ever greater impact and benefit”.

 

Gary takes up his new permanent position from 01 August 2018.

 

Three positive habit forming apps

How do we break our bad habits and form good ones?

Summer is well and truly here and it’s a good time for students to be building momentum for the new academic year. For all of us working, it’s a good time to refelct on how we might better manage our time so we can enjoy those precious moments of time out. Let’s face it when we’ve been in education or work life for years it’s easy to assume we’ve formed some habits that would be better off booted out of our regimes. Good habits can help us be more productive, prioritise our do-to lists and remember our important tasks. You can feel satisfied too by tracking your progress through small, manageable goal posts.

Kicking bad habits or establishing new ones is not a piece of cake, but we believe you can make these changes. Plus it can be fun with the help of some handy apps.

image: 2 pieces of paper saying bad and good. A hand is picking up the one that says good

It can take between 2 weeks to 2 months to form new life habits

According to research by brainingpickings.org, it can take 66 days to form a habit. If you can commit to something as easy as drinking a glass of water after breakfast this habit could form in as little as 21 days. If we can make these small changes over a period of time it's more likely that we'll be able to stick with these traits well, forever. Imagine how much more we could achieve!

We set our experts on the case to track down the right apps that may well help you make these positive changes and keep you motivated.

  1. HabitBull: (Free – iOS and Android) is described as ‘perfect for people who have flexible habit-building goals’such as walking to work or university three times a week instead of everyday. The app doesn't limit you to one daily reminder and you can customise alerts for certain days and times of the week. The app allows you to track your habits with a number so if, for example, the desired habit is to take a break and think for 15 minutes every day, you can just enter "10 minutes" when that is completed and you’ll still feel like you're working towards your goals. You really can visualise your habits in a variety of ways, track streaks, look at a calendar, and even discuss habits with other users. You may need some patience to learn the interface quirks but, HabitBull is a great app with a lot of data available for you. 
  2. LifeTracker: (Android and web app) Achieving goals can be simple, it’s down to knowing when to do the right things at the right time. LifeTracker is built to know when to remind you about them. Get reminders about your most important activities when the time and place is right. Achieve more, remember important purchases, stay foucsed on your goals and feel a sense of achievement everyday. 
  3. Google Goals: (web app) Trying google goals for a few weeks can lead to some positive small changes that can really benefit all of us. Some people have reported being better hydrated, being able to meditate more frequently and achieving better sleep. But how does it work?
  • Open the Google Calendar app
  • In the bottom right, tap Create
  • Tap Goal
  • Choose a category, for instance Family & friends or Exercise 
  • Follow the directions on your screen to set up your goal such as ‘take a break’
  • Tap Done
  • Sessions will be automatically added to your calendar, starting with the first four weeks

 

AbilityNet is a UK charity that helps provide information on technology and disability, if you’d like to know how technology may benefit you, you can call us on 0800 269 545 or email enquiries@abilitynet.org.uk

 

Can Alexa improve your health?

AbilityNet Accessibility consultant Adi Latif has contributed to a UK government video demonstrating the value of digital tech for people with specific needs. The video sets out specific goals for the NHS to invest in tech such as Amazon Echo (Alexa) and VoiceOver, showing how accessible technology can deliver health benefits and provide greater independence for people with disabilities.

AbilityNet's Adi Latif spoke at the BMA Conference in June 2018 about the role of tech in helping disabled people with their health care

Adi is an Accessibility & Usability Consultant at AbilityNet. He has a visual impairment and he uses a wide range of tech including VoiceOver on iPhone, Alexa, laptop with screenreader, Be My Eyes app, Seeing AI app, iWatch and a Braille display. 

Adi spoke at the British Medical Association's Annual Conference in June 2018 - sharing his insights about how medical healthcare could be improved in terms of accessibility. He has now worked with officials from the Department of Health to discuss the potential benefits of accessible tech in meeting people's health needs.

He says that accessible health-related apps and websites would give him control over this vital aspect in life: 

‘I can book train tickets. Send and receive emails from my phone or manage my finances through my banking apps, but I can’t manage my medical healthcare. This is a great opportunity for the Government to take a lead in ensuring that NHS services meet the highest standards of accessibility for all patients.'

He sees lots of opportunities for using Alexa to communicate with the NHS and suggested some ideas for the future: 

  • Asking Alexa for basic medical advice  - for example 'Alexa, I’ve cut my finger, what should I do?’
  • Asking Alexa to tell him test results or when his next hospital appointment is as at the moment, so he wouldn’t need to rely on paper.
  • Using a video camera (for example on Amazon Show) to connect with an NHS GP to avoid travelling to the surgery.
  • The camera would also allow him to show the NHS GP any physical symptoms which he may not be able to see for himself.

Adi believes that voice interfaces such as Alexa are potentially easier for people, especially for older people, as they may find smart phones or computers hard to operate.  Using your is almost like having a conversation, and so can be more natural.

The video showing Adi’s experience was posted on the Department of Health & Social Care Twitter page after an introductory speech by Matt Hancock his new role as Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. Matt Hancock is tech-savvy and wants the NHS to use tech to become more productive and accessible for people with disabilities. 

Useful information

Eight things I learned at the 2018 AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards Ceremony

Profile photo of Marta ValleI was present at the 8th annual AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards Ceremony, which took place just 10 days after I joined AbilityNet as an Accessibility and Usability Consultant - so a great opportunity to meet some of my colleagues from different locations and attend one of our major events!

The event was very successful and it was a pleasure to hear about the people and projects that are using digital technology to improve the lives of others and make the world a better place. In this post I've shared eight things I learned at the 2018 AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards Ceremony:

1. Technology is changing lives

Liz Williams from BT mentioned this idea at the beginning of the ceremony. Reading the stories of the 35 amazing finalists on the Tech4Good Awards website convinced me that this is an amazing truth: technology is making life easier, safer and better for all of us. Finalists like Be My Eyes or TapSOS deserved a prize, and so I was pleased when they won, but as Liz said "...all our finalists are winners".

2. Young talent is mind-blowing

I was surprised to see young people in the reception area before the Awards Ceremony started. Before the event I had read about the finalists in the BT Young Pioneer Award category, but I hadn’t realised the finalists were THAT young. When the Awards Ceremony started I realised that these young people have extraordinary minds. I think it’s fair to say that we were all moved by Lewis Hine's story - the teenager that founded Friend Finder to bring together students that miss school due to long-term health conditions or disability. The team that won the 2018 BT Young Pioneer Award, Water Watcher, impressed us all from the stage when speaking about their project to reduce water wastage worldwide.

Kate Russell, Mark Walker and the 2018 BT Young Pioneer Award winners - Water Watcher

3. It’s not easy to be a judge

No thank you, I don’t want to be a part of the judging for next year. How can you choose the best project from each category, when all the finalists are so good? The Digital Volunteer of the Year Award and the Comic Relief Tech4Good for Africa Award are just two examples of extremely challenging categories to choose a stand-out winner from.

4. You can vote for your favourite by waving a glowstick

When I first saw them, I thought they were candies. ‘How unusual...’ I thought. But no, they were glowsticks and we used them to choose who we wanted to receive the Winner of Winners Award. We all enjoyed the opportunity to participate in the voting and there was much laughter.

5. You can win a trophy and give it away

Related to my previous point, Christian Erfurt from Be My Eyes won the Winner of Winners Award and surprised us all with an admirable gesture: he gave the trophy to Lewis Hine ‘for his important work with Friend Finder.’

6. ‘Rings don’t fall off to the floor’ at AbilityNet

I’m not sure if there’s an equivalent expression to this crazy Spanish idiom. If your rings don’t fall to the floor it means that you’re happy to do any task that might be considered minor, whatever your seniority. I didn’t see a single ring on the floor during all the event. Everybody was working with Mark Walker, the event organiser and also the Head of Marketing and Communications at AbilityNet, to make sure the event ran as smoothly as possible. Everyone pitched in, no matter the seniority, no matter the task. I’m pleased to work in such a collaborative environment.

The team representing AbilityNet at the 2018 Tech4Good Awards

7. Networking is better around a chocolate fountain

Gary Moore, the CEO of AbilityNet, mentioned the chocolate fountain whilst on stage, and in my opinion it was truly the star of the delicious catering that was on offer after the event. There’s no better way to start a conversation than by sharing your thoughts about the perfect fruit combination to dip into chocolate.

8. It’s such an amazing time!

Kate Russell, who hosted the awards alongside Mark Walker, said it's not often we hear a genuine good-news story about technology. On the day of the Awards Ceremony we heard not one, but thirty-five good-news stories about technology. Big names like Facebook and Microsoft are using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve accessibility for all users. Robotics is going to change the world, like the amazing Small Robot Company in the agri-tech industry. Digital skills are reaching people that had little access to technology before. The future is promising, and we’ll get another opportunity to reflect on this again as we follow our 10 winners post-win and look forward to the next AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards in 2019. Are you ready?

The 2018 AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards winners alongside presenters and judges

Find out more:

For more information about the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards and this year's winners read the official AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards winners announcement on our website.

You can read more about our 2018 winners and finalists in a feature on the Guardian website.

For other details about the Awards visit the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards website.

If you're feeling inspired to use your digital skills to transform the lives of other people then check out our current vacancies and volunteer opportunities.

Winners Announced for AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2018

The power of technology to transform the lives disabled people was as a key theme as the winners of the AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2018 were announced at the eighth annual awards ceremony in BT Centre, London.

This year’s winners included Be My Eyes, an accessibility app that uses a smartphone to connect blind people with sighted volunteers, TapSOS an app originally designed for the Deaf community that provides a non-verbal way of contacting the Emergency Services and WaytoB a navigation aid for people with learning disabilities.

the winners of the tech4good awrads 2018 were announced at a glittering ceremony at BT Centre in July 2018

The Tech4Good Awards are organised by AbilityNet and sponsored by BT and supported by charities and businesses including Lloyds Banking Group, Microsoft and Tech Trust. The judging panel includes experts from the BBC, tech industry, charity and government. These are the only awards to highlight the amazing people from charities, business and volunteers across who use digital technology to make the world a better place. Entry is free and open to any business, charity, individual or public body in the UK. 

The awards ceremony took place on 17 July at BT Centre, London, where more than 200 people came together to discover who won this year's Awards:

  • AbilityNet Accessibility Award: Be My Eyes
  • BT Connected Society Award: Small Robot Company
  • BT Young Pioneer Award: Water Watcher
  • Comic Relief Tech4Good for Africa Award: Unlocking Talent Through Technology
  • Community Impact Award: Mind of My Own (MOMO)
  • Digital Health Award: TapSOS
  • Digital Skills Award: Generation Code
  • Tech Volunteer of the Year Award: Anna Holland Smith
  • Tech4Good People’s Award: WaytoB
  • Tech4Good Special Award: Lewis Hine of Friend Finder
  • Winner of Winners Award: Be My Eyes

The Awards are organised by Mark Walker at AbilityNet, who is pictured below with BBC Click presenter Kate Russell, who hosts the event, Ian Caveney of BT and Ben Scott Robinson of the Small Robot Company, winners of the BT Connected Society Award 2018.

Small Robot Company won the BT Connected Society Award at AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards 2018

Mark said everyone was still buzzing after another amazing event:

“We've had another fantastic year, with so many inspiring stories from people who are using tech to make the world a better place. We had over 200 high-quality entries and our 35 finalists included big tech names such as Microsoft and Facebook, along with small charities, startups and lots of volunteers. 

"Our judging panel includes tech, charity and business experts from a huge range of organisations, including the BBC, BT, Comic Relief and Government. The standard was much higher than usual so they had a really tough time choosing the winners. 

“The Award Ceremony is such an uplifting event - it's wonderful to meet so many amazing people who are using their passion for technology to change the lives of other people. It's such a privilege to celebrate their success and help them share their stories to inspire others. Everyone at AbilityNet is so proud of the way the Tech4Good Awards has grown over the past eight years - and so grateful for the support we get from BT and all the other partners and supporters."

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Smartwatch app which helps people with a learning disability travel more independently makes finals of Tech4Good Awards

Tech4Good Accessibility Award finalist waytoB, founded by two students, has integrated a smartphone and smartwatch platform to help people with a learning disability navigate their environment more independently. It's currently being trialled in Ireland and is a finalist in this year's Tech4Good Awards, which celebrate the amazing people who use tech to help make the world a better place.

waytoB has been created so that a carer, friend or family member can add safe routes via a smartphone platform for a person with a learning disability. That person adds the routes with their smartphone and is then able to track the location, heart rate and battery life of the person with the learning disability. They also get notified of key journey events (e.g getting lost, stopping for longer than expected, showing high levels of anxiety, etc.).

The person who has a learning disability follows icon-based instructions on their watch to better navigate their environment, with the watch vibrating when there's a new instruction.

Universal Design principles

WaytoB has been designed to be as flexible and inclusive as possible, providing independence to everyone: people with learning disabilities including autism, the elderly, and people with physical, cognitive, visual and hearing impairments. The project started in 2014 as part of an innovation module in user-centered design at Trinity College, Dublin. From the very beginning, students Talita Holzer Saad and Robbie Fryers developed their solution with the principles of Universal Design in mind, to ensure it is accessible to every type of user. 

In 2015, Public Health England estimated that there were more than one million people with a learning disability in England alone. Often people with a learning disability rely on others for transport and assistance to access their community, so WaytoB has the potential to open up independence.

A spokesperson for WaytoB said: “A study conducted by IDS-TILDA (at Trinity College) found that the majority of people with a learning disability over the age of 40 that it spoke to are dependent upon others for transportation and access options - and that the need for such assistance was the greatest barrier to successfully participating in social activities."

Standard navigation apps not safe for everyone

waytoB ’s research has also shown tthat popular smartphone apps for wayfinding are not suitable for those with learning disabilities - both from a cognitive perspective, and from a safety aspect, ie walking while trying to follow a smartphone screen presents risks from traffic, crime, and others.

Robin Christopherson, head of digital inclusion for AbilityNet adds: “waytoB is a really innovative take on the satnav, that all-important guide most of us use every day. By combining smartphone and smartwatch features this is navigation with a twist – specifically designed to provide that extra help needed by users with a learning difficulty or disability.”

  • You can vote for waytoB in the AbilityNet Tech4Good People's Award here - which closes on 9 July.
  • Winners of the 8th AbilityNet Tech4Good Awards will be announced on 17 July in London.  
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Tech4Good Accessibility Award: Microsoft Seeing AI app reaches the finals of AbilityNet competition

Microsoft’s Seeing AI app, which audibly explains what it sees in front a phone camera, is an amazing tool for blind people and has reached the finals of the AbilityNet Tech4Good Accessibility Award. Now in their eighth year the awards are supported by BT and celebrate some of the amazing people who use tech to help make the world a better place.

Microsoft Seeing AI used for seven million tasks  

Since launching in July 2017, the app has assisted blind and partially-sighted users in completing more than seven million tasks and has been downloaded by 200,000 users.

The app harnesses the power of Artificial Intelligence to open up the visual world and describe nearby scenes, people, food in supermarkets and more, with spoken audio. Its key features include real-time text reading, audio-based barcode locator and product-recogniser, face recognition and emotion/age/gender description, currency recognition, colour-recognition, audible light detector and handwriting reader.

Understand more about the Seeing AI app on the film below. 

The app can also describe inaccessible images in other apps, including Twitter, and WhatsApp. Additionally, Seeing AI allows users to teach the device to recognise instantly when friends and colleagues are visible.

It is still being developed and added to by Microsoft employees after being created at a company hackathon event in 2014 by three members of staff. 

Checking homework and being more productive at work

A spokesperson for Seeing AI said: “Blind students in school can now read inaccessible paper text which is not in braille or does not have a digital equivalent. Similarly, blind parents are reading books, checking the handwritten homework of their kids and notes from teachers. People are also using it to get more productive at their day jobs and be able to achieve much more during office hours.”

The app joins four other finalists in the Accessibility category of the awards, last year won by Bristol Braille Technology. Four out of five of the finalists in this category in 2018 have developed or used technology to help people who are blind or who have sight loss understand more of the world around them. 

Machine learning technology

Robin Christopherson, head of digital inclusion at AbilityNet, adds: “I'd like to thank Microsoft for bringing real cutting-edge machine learning to a group of users with such evident needs in this area. While none of the smarts within Seeing AI are solely or even primarily intended for blind users, it takes a company as acutely aware of the importance of accessibility as Microsoft to do such an excellent implementation that brings the best of AI to those who benefit most." Read Robin's full blog on Seeing AI, here

 

Sight enhancement for people with low vision reaches Tech4Good finals

New technologies for people with sight loss and those who are blind are a key theme in the finals of the AbilityNet Tech4Good Accessibility Award this year.

Four out of five finalists are using tech to offer people with sight loss more understanding of the visual world. GiveVision has developed what it calls ‘the next generation of low vision aids’.  Its first prototype - SightPlus - currently works as an advanced digital magnifier and a pair of binoculars, giving people with low vision the ability to see much more of their surroundings and in greater detail. In the video below, you'll hear from Libby Powell, Paralympian, on her experiences with the aid. 

The technology, which combines augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) headsets, has taken GiveVision - a company of software engineers, researchers and social entrepreneurs - to the finals of the 8th AbilityNet Tech4Good Accessibility Award. The awards are supported by BT and celebrate some of the amazing people who use tech to help make the world a better place.

Robin Christopherson, head of digital inclusion at AbilityNet, comments: “GiveVision takes the best of image enhancement technology and uses it to address the challenges faced by the many millions of people with a vision impairment worldwide.”

Over the last four years, the company has worked with hundreds of tester to refine and develop the vision aid. It says the most commonly sold sight aids are handheld magnifiers, which have limited fields of view and functionalities compared to SightPlus.

A spokesperson for GiveVision told AbilityNet: “The device enables testers to have their hands free, which drastically changes the way they can engage in an activity. For instance, imagine having to hold a monocular to watch a play for two hours. With the technology, users can also capture more visual information by adjusting the zoom, contrast or brightness."

Second incarnation is similar shape to glasses

The second incarnation of the product (shown below), currently due out next year is a more discreet option (note: launch date has moved to 2020 since this article was originally posted). It will use the same technology but be smaller and more slimline, similar to a pair of glasses.

Sight Plus mark 2 slimline glasses

The company is excited to be now embarking on a study with Moorfields Eye Hospital to test its device further. 

The importance of assistive technology

On the growing need for assistive technologies for people with sight loss, GiveVision explained: “Today an estimated 246 million (updated from 217 million) have moderate or severe sight impairments, and this number is predicted to double in the next three decades.

"The issue with sight conditions, such as Macular Degeneration or Diabetic Retinopathy is that there is no cure, or there is a limited treatment that can slow down the progression of a disease but doesn't restore the vision. Patients who are registered partially sighted or blind will have to rely on assistive technologies.

“While the use of a smartphone with accessibility features or applications has increased, our research and testing shows it’s more useful and desirable for some people, particularly older generations, to have a dedicated magnifying device,” they added.