October Newsletter 312

Mastercard introduces accessible card for blind and partially sighted people

Mastercard introduce a new accessible card standard for blind and partially sighted people, called the Touch Card. With the new Touch Card, Mastercard has improved upon a current design standard by introducing a system of notches on the side of the card to help consumers use the right card, the right way, by touch alone. The new Touch Card credit cards have a round notch; debit cards have a broad squarish notch; and prepaid cards have a triangular notch. The standard has been designed to work with point-of-sale terminals and ATMs, ensuring it can be deployed at scale.


Donor funded research to ease the burden for people with macular degeneration

As research goals go, it is bold with perhaps a touch of the miraculous. A camera on a pair of glasses collects the visual information which is then sent to a mobile phone and processed. The result is sent wirelessly to a microchip implanted in the retina which decodes the wireless signal and sends electrical impulses to the part of the brain that produces vision: the visual cortex.


TV licence discount available to those with sight loss

People who register as legally blind will be able to apply for a 50 percent discount to their BBC TV licence fee


Actress Judi Dench talks about coping with macular degeneration

Accessible packaging

For so many of us, it’s a given that we can identify our favourite food products and read on-pack instructions. But for those who are blind and partially sighted, this information is inaccessible and it’s a problem. The RNIB charity hasn’t stopped campaigning to make packaging and retail outlets accessible. And the signs are that progress has been made. It’s taken new technology (from NaviLens) and the support of a major brand (Kellogg’s) to kick start change. And last month, RNIB took the campaign one step further with the unveiling of a pop-up store to give people some insight into what it’s like to be blind or partially sighted.


Accessibility features built into your Apple watch

The Apple Watch has a wealth of accessibility features that you may not know about. There are several features that make the text easier to read, which can come in handy if you find yourself struggling to read text on your small watch screen or experience eye strain using your devices. There are also features for blind, low vision, deaf, and hard of hearing people to ensure that everyone can easily navigate and utilize the Apple Watch.

Here is an overview of everything the Apple Watch has to offer in its accessibility menu: https://www.makeuseof.com/apple-watch-accessibility-features/

Pellet designed to cure blindness has to be injected into patients’ eyes:

A revolutionary new treatment for cataracts could help to prevent and treat the world’s leading cure of blindness. Cataracts affects 1 in 3 people and this could remove the need for surgery entirely. Thirty patients with cataracts aged 65 and over will participate in the first human trial of the treatment, which sees an implant injected into the eyeball.

People could avoid cataracts surgery entirely thanks to an injectable ‘pellet’, which slowly releases antioxidants and lowers calcium levels in the eye to prevent and even treat the condition, which is the world’s leading cause of blindness.


Public library service for people with disabilities

Charitable bodies such as the RNIB and its Reading Services audiobook offering do a great job but they can’t offer a universal service to all. Public libraries are special because they are for everyone. During the Covid epidemic Public libraries proved their worth during the pandemic lockdown, quickly innovating to provide books and services online. E-book borrowing shot up: between March and mid-August 2020 more than 3.5 million extra e-books were borrowed.