January Newsletter 280

Buzzing belt can help with sight loss

A small pilot study in Southampton is trialling technology known as the Low-vision Enhancement Optoelectronic (LEO) Belt, has already been used to help people with retinitis pigmentosa (RP) successfully navigate a maze.

The belt consists of a 3D depth-sensing camera and a portable computer stick connected via Wi-Fi to vibration patches hidden on a vest and ankle straps.

It scans the area in front of the person using the 3D camera and warns the user about nearby objects through vibrations – the faster the buzzing, the nearer the object – with the position indicated by the left, centre or right patch.

It was developed by Professor Steve Russell of the University of Iowa with the support of Professor Andrew Lotery, a consultant ophthalmologist at University Hospital Southampton, who has trialled it.


Blind chef produces recipe book for people with low or no vision

BOLTONchef who lost her sight after a nerve illness has published a cookery book of her favourite meals to help others with vision problems.

Kim Jaye, 54, believes that using her other senses of touch, taste, smell and hearing has improved her culinary skills.

Now she she has published her own recipe book ‘A Taste of Spice’ to help others in her position and raise money for the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

Available on Amazon and Kindle, it includes more than 12 recipes for authentic Indian cuisine, with tips on how to cook the dishes with low or no vision.


Tesco adopt sunflower lanyards to help customers with hidden disabilities

UK retailer Tesco has announced it will be providing sunflower lanyards at all of its stores, helping to promote disability inclusion for customers and colleagues in 2020. Tesco has become a signatory to the Valuable 500 group of companies.

The sunflower lanyard acts as a discreet sign that the wearer has a hidden disability and could require additional assistance. Tesco colleagues will be able to offer help such as speaking face-to-face to allow lip reading, packing bags and taking them to customers’ cars or reading labels for partially-sighted customers. Every store will display a permanent sign which says that the sunflower lanyard is recognised there.