Retina 2015 – Assistive Technology Session

Thank you to Fighting Blindness members Cearbhall O’Meadhra and Conor Maguire who gave a fantastic presentation about accessible equipment and technologies at Retina 2015. Below is a summary of their talk.

The best place to get an idea of much of the current assertive technologies is the internet. The links below will have plenty of useful information.

However, it is important to know that assistive technology help is available from the NCBI regardless of whether or not you are registered legally blind. Anyone who has a visual impairment can contact their local NCBI office to request assistance.

Useful Links:                        

Mobile Device Apps

  • Use ‘Tap Tap See’ or ‘Magnifier’ apps to identify items and read expiry dates and cooking instructions.
  • Google Maps, Apple Maps or ‘Ariadne GPS’ are useful location apps.
  • ‘Dublin Bus’ and ‘RealTime Ireland’ apps for real-time bus and train info.
  • ‘Hailo’ or ‘Lynk’ apps available for booking a taxi on your smartphone.
  • Amazon’s ‘Audible’ app can be used to download and listen to books usually read by the author or an actor.

Assistive Computer Software

  • Software: Tools such as JAWS, NVDA, GUIDE, ZoomText and Kurzweil.
  • Change the contrast on a Windows computer: CTRL+LEFT-SHIFT+PRTSCR

Assistive Hardware Devices

  • CCTV’s and Print Readers from Optelec and Rehan
  • Magnifiers: Made by Irish companies Ash and Rehan.
  • Low vision computer keyboards by Cherry and mobile device keyboards from Logitech are available.
  • Braille note-takers, braille embossers (printers) and electronic braille displays are now available.
  • Amazon’s Kindle and other eReaders can read the book aloud to you or display the font in bold large characters.
  • Books can also be accessed in large print or listened to on CD, USB stick and again as MP3 audio downloads either to your PC, smartphone or tablet.

Misc Assistive Technology

  • Talking watches, date announcers and alarm clocks are available from the NCBI shop and online.
  • Talking bathroom scales also available from the NCBI and online.
  • Appliances designed to be ViP friendly such as the ‘Aga’ cooker or the LG talking microwaves are available.
  • Filter Glasses called ‘Fitovers’ that reduce glare from daylight or harsh indoor lighting are available at the NCBI shop and online.
  • Bump-ons; small adhesive plastic buttons that can be placed on computer keyboards. Kitchen appliances, televisions and really anywhere a tactile guide can be useful are available at the NCBI shop and online.
  • Audio described movies and plays are available at some cinemas and theatres.
  • Smart, voice-enabled TV’s allow the device to be controlled and navigated by voice.
  • Apple TV is an €80 device that plugs into your TV and streams content. It is completely navigable using Voiceover.

Exchange Club – Technology Support Group:

The Exchange Club meets on Monday mornings from 1am to 1pm at the Fighting Blindness Office at Ely Place, Dublin 2. Click here for full details.