February Newsletter 302.
‘Envision’ smart glasses – a potential game-changer in helping blind people master their environment
Envision AI-powered glasses which have been released in the US and the UK are designed for those with profound sight loss. This is because, rather than seeking to enhance any remaining areas of vision, the glasses convey information to the wearer via speech output. The device can provide audio scene descriptions, such as the presence of a tree and a park bench, recognize and announce the pre-programmed faces of friends and family and provides both colour and object recognition – a lifesaver when scanning for that elusive TV remote!
The test every student heading back to school should do
Parents are being encouraged to send their children for an eye test after many spent large portions of 2020 behind computer screens and glued to other digital devices.
Blind people are at a higher risk of contracting Covid
The coronavirus has caused individuals to avoid unnecessarily touching surfaces, which is almost to the detriment of the blind and partially sighted, who depend on touching to feel and move around.
Corneal implant gives hope to some blind people
A legally blind 78-year old man has regained his sight after being the inaugural patient to receive a promising new type of corneal implant. Developed by a company called CorNeat, the KPro is the first implant that can be integrated directly into the eye wall to replace scarred or deformed corneas with no donor tissue. Immediately after the surgery, the patient was able to recognisefamily members and read numbers on an eye chart.
RNIB here to help in difficult times:
2020 was difficult year especially for the more than two million people in the UK living with sight loss. Many have faced anxiety, sadness and even fear about the unique challenges they have experienced – such as problems social distancing, difficulty shopping without guidance and isolation from losing tactile contact with friends and family during lockdown. That’s why the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) launched Emergency Mental Health Sessions for local blind and partially sighted people in October. The sessions are completely free and offer people with sight loss the opportunity to speak to a counsellor for an hour over the phone about however they are feeling and any problems that are on their mind. It doesn’t have to be about their sight at all. We know that the next few months might be tough for many, so we want to remind you that RNIB is here to help. If you or someone you know could benefit from speaking to someone, please call our helpline on 0303 123 9999. We can set up a chat within 36 hours and the service can be used as many times as needed. No-one with sight loss has to suffer on their own. Blind and partially sighted people deserve the same expectation of mental wellbeing as everyone else.
Lego Braille bricks help blind children to learn to read
LEGO is rolling out a new toy to increase literacy in blind and partially sighted children: Braille Bricks. More than just a construction game, each of these colourful blocks is moulded into a letter, number, or punctuation mark of the braille writing system.