APRIL NEWSLETTER No.335
Reading Sight Resource Pack
The pack includes a guide to developing library services, Supporting the vision and print impaired community through library services, plus posters, postcards, and a Reading Friends toolkit (co-produced with The Reading Agency).
The pack is available in English, in Welsh, and as an audio & Braille version.
Available to download from: https://readingsight.org.uk/resource-pack/
Omega 3 fatty acid may prevent sight loss
A form of the fatty acid omega-3 could help to stave off the deterioration in vision caused by Alzheimer’s disease, diabetes and several other disorders, researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago have found.
New GPT-4 app can be ‘life-changing’ for visually-impaired people
Be My Eyes is the first digital visual assistant powered by the new model. The first app to integrate GPT-4’s image-recognition abilities has been described as ‘life-changing’ by visually-impaired users. Be My Eyes previously supported users exclusively with human volunteers. According to OpenAI, the new feature can generate the same level of context and understanding. But if the user doesn’t get a good response or simply prefers a human connection, they can still call a volunteer.
Sony develops affordable camera for the visually impaired:
“Aspiring photographers with low vision have a new way to see the world with the Retinal Projection Camera Kit, available in limited quantities this summer. Sony is hoping to change that with its new Retinal Projection Camera Kit, a device that affixes the QD Laser’s Retissa Neoviewer to its HX99 point-and-shoot camera. The Neoviewer sends an image directly to your retina using a safe, low-power laser, and offering a clearer view of an image than folks with visual impairments enjoy without assistants”.
Creators with low vision who have tried the Neoviewer are already singing its praises. Chris Gampat, is editor-in-chief at The Phoblographer, and has long enjoyed picture making, despite being legally blind himself. He suffers from keratoconus, a condition that impacts daily life. He’s not able to drive, even with corrective lenses, to say nothing of photography. In day-to-day life, he sees the world with a bit of fuzziness, not unlike an impressionist painting or smudged writing on a chalkboard.
Chris says that the Neoviewer is a different matter entirely. He doesn’t need to fiddle with diopter adjustments to get a clear view of the frame. The Retissa Neoviewer takes a signal from the camera sensor and beams it into his optic nerve, for a clear view. I asked Chris if it was anything like having 20/20 eyesight, but he’s just not sure, telling me he’s “forgot what that’s like.”
How the video-game industry must step it up for blind players:
Sight loss charity moves services for the visually impaired into libraries
A sight loss charity is spearheading a digital revolution for people with visual impairments by shifting some of its services into libraries. After successfully bidding for access to Manchester Central Library, Henshaws have been given the green light to extend its services to Wigan Library and several others across Greater Manchester. Henshaws hopes moving its digital services to libraries will mean more visually impaired people have better access to the online world and will be able to use the digital skills they gain to shop, manage their finances and find information online.