Housing Executive. Housing-related assistive technology for visually impaired people

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1 Housing Executive Housing-related assistive technology for visually impaired people

2 Aims of the project To survey existing assistive technology for visually impaired people To consult visually impaired people on their needs And hence To determine what solutions might be possible now or in the future

3 Definitions Visual Impairment A sight condition that cannot be corrected with prescribed lenses

4 Assistive technology Any item, piece of equipment, or product system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Could be high- or low-tech From Assistive Technology Act 1998 Project restricted to that AT which helps independent living in the home

5 Methodology Survey user needs Survey currently available AT Gap analysis (compare needs with available technology to identify mismatch) Hold workshop to brainstorm how gaps could be filled

6 User needs survey VIPs & organisations in field 3 focus groups & 20 interviews Issues covered problems in home life solutions including AT characteristics of AT finding out about AT

7 Problems Reading & communication Security Using electronic equipment Personal care Accidents Housework

8 Solutions Assistive technology but lack of knowledge high cost stigma Mainstream solutions Home made solutions Other people

9 Characteristics of AT Affordable Not necessarily high tech Add on where possible Socially acceptable Varied (i.e. offer choice) Simple to use

10 Finding out about AT Visual impairment organisations Organisations dealing with other disabilities (some people may have more than one disability) Word of mouth Mainstream retailers and suppliers Housing and care professionals

11 Ways forward How do we achieve better dissemination of information about AT? How can we bring down the cost of AT? How do we make AT desirable? How do we make products suitable for VIPs mainstream? How do we get home made solutions more widely available?

12 Survey of existing technology Internet search looking at both national and international sources Centres of information for VIPs contacted Manufacturers, designers and researchers contacted

13 Findings split into four categories AT widely available at present E.g. magnifiers, liquid level indicators, Braille editing/translation software, writing aids AT that could be widely available soon E.g. talking measuring jug, automatic vacuum cleaners, devices with voice recognition AT undergoing development E.g. SMART home technology smart door entry systems, IR imaging technology, robotics. Future possibilities for AT Vision enhancement, cortical stimulation, vision substitution

14 Conclusions There are a wide range of AT devices available, from very low tech stuff such as bump ons, to high tech devices such as SMART homes or text readers. Do they do what they are intended to do, are there enough devices to meet all the needs of visually impaired people who wish to live independently in their own home?

15 Gap analysis Compare the results of the 2 surveys Find gaps Discover overlaps

16 Results - gaps The gap analysis shows there are only a few areas that VIPs have told us they want AT for which there is none produced. Either we do not have a full set of user needs for VIPs in the home, or the AT is not doing its job.

17 Results - gaps There appear to be some gaps in available technology. - opening some types of packaging - knowing who is at the door - safety issues such as knowing where a spill is - a device that indicated the cleanliness of a room. Also many areas identified in user needs where technology exists

18 Workshop Purpose of workshop was to discuss finding af surveys and gap analysis Attended by a broad range of players including people with visual impairment and people from organisations representing them Six break out groups discussing different themes Reading / communication Security Using / setting up electronic equipment Personal care Accidents Housework

19 Each group asked to focus on one or two issues Describe what an ideal AT solution would be like Say how it would work Was it new or a modified existing solution Who should be doing what to get the new AT available What were best dissemination routes to raise awareness PLUS recommendations for new areas of research

20 Ideal solutions varied Universal labelling system based on bar codes Knowing the contents of food container to matching clothes in the wardrobe Smarter, more ergonomic washing machine Voice activated, able to recognise clothes and chose appropriate was cycle Universal remote controller for all appliances Orientation recognition system to avoid accidents Based on video cameras, able to inform user of fixed obstacles or alert if normal room layout altered

21 Ideas for new research Potential for electronics in the home Research whether or not there is a link between accidents and visual impairment Develop guidance for manufacturers on how to help VIPs Research into what home made AT is around Research how VIPs use rooms and impact on lighting advice

22 Full report on

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