Technology to assist visually impaired and blind on show in Canberra

An exhibition displaying latest in adaptive technology was held in Canberra. The display, hosted by the Royal Society for the Blind (RSB) Canberra Blind Society, aims to introduce clients to adaptive technology which could make their lives easier.

Canberra artist Lien To has been able to continue the hobby she loves thanks to the latest in technological advances for people who are blind or visually impaired.

“I’m an artist so I use CCTV technology to draw a lot of patterns,” Ms To said. “It makes things bigger and because I do a lot of fine-detail work, it makes it so much easier.”

Ms To said events like the RSB Canberra Blind Society Overview days helped her keep up with changes in technology.

“Technology changes every single day and every single year,” she said. “It’s just so interesting to learn what all these new gadgets can do and how they can make life easier for people with vision impairment.

“Twenty or 30 years ago when you went to school, you had big sheets of paper that teachers would enlarge for you to poster size .. It was very annoying and it took up the whole space and now you’ve got technology that can enlarge things for you and you can read a normal-size page without any difficulty.”

Adaptive technology helped Anna to become social and communicate with community

Anna Saxon gets around with the help of guide dog Elska, but said adaptive technology has allowed her to communicate within the Canberra community.

“I sit on various ACT Health committees and I wouldn’t be able to do that without being able to read policy documents on my iPad,” she said.

“Even some of my friends who don’t use technology much ask me ‘how do I do this Anna?’.

“I never thought I would use a computer when they first came out, but now I depend on them.”

Ms Saxon said developments in everyday technology such as smartphones and tablets were also helping to make life easier for people with visual impairment.

“I used to get my library books from Vision Australia. Now I download them straight onto my iPhone, so I carry them with me wherever I go.”

Canes with built-in GPS among new technology on show

While technology was constantly improving, some exciting new designs were on display this year in Canberra, says adaptive technology specialist Gina Baulderstone said

Ms Baulderstone said one invention was a cane with built-in GPS.

“[It] will allow people to have the one device, rather than having to have multiple devices to do the job,” she said.

“Normally people will have a cane and a device for GPS to help them move around and gain direction. Now they can also program in their own routes they go to regularly.”

“They can build this into the equipment and it will tell them where they’re passing, what’s on their left, what’s on their right, if there are any traffic lights.”

Original story by By Elise Pianegonda for ABC News.

Recommended For You

About the Author: Akhtar Jamal

Tribune International