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Event demonstrates assistive tech for blind and partially sighted people in Northern Ireland


Staff member
Dec 14, 2023
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The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) recently showcased assistive technology products for blind and partially sighted people at its Technology for Life Fair in Northern Ireland.

Hosted by the Europa Hotel in Belfast, the event brought together suppliers of technology-related products and services on 28 February 2024.

Over 400 visitors affected by sight loss took the opportunity to browse over 20 exhibitors and speak directly to representatives from leading suppliers of assistive technology.

Alongside the exhibition, a series of technology talks throughout the day informed visitors of the advantages of specially designed apps on smartphones and tablets as well as demonstrations of the latest magnification and screen reading applications.

The event also featured presentations from Encompass, the Health and Social Care digital records project. Another highlight was a representative from the Education Authority NI sharing details of the technology support provided to students with a vision impairment.

Staff from RNIB welcomed Councillor Ryan Murphy, Lord Mayor of Belfast, to the event. The Lord Mayor was taken on a tour of the exhibition by Director of RNIB in Northern Ireland, Robert Shilliday. He spent time speaking with visitors to get an understanding of the difference assistive technology makes to the lives of those affected by sight loss.

Councillor Ryan Murphy said: “We’re working hard in council to make Belfast a more inclusive city which works for everyone. Today’s event is a superb showcase of how technology can be used to unlock challenges faced by people with sight loss and ensure everyone is able to access vital services.

“From smartphone apps addressing everyday needs to cutting-edge software, it’s been inspiring to find out more today about the various products and technologies available to remove barriers and make sure no-one feels left behind.”

The Technology for Life Fair event showcased assistive technologies from companies including Optelec, OrCam, Dolphin, Sight and Sound, Human Ware, and RNIB.

RNIB Technology for Life Coordinator Jackie Brown commented: “The RNIB Technology for Life Fair was the highlight of my year. It was just wonderful to see so many people coming together to find out the latest developments in the assistive technology that is such an integral part of the lives of blind and partially sighted people. In my role with the RNIB’s Technology for Life service, I see the real practical difference technology can make to a person’s life.

“It doesn’t have to mean flashy expensive tech. A liquid level indicator can be life changing if you’re struggling to make a cup of tea following sight loss. Advances in technology continue to open up the world around us, enabling people with sight loss to live independently, access information, grasp opportunities and be creative.

“We wanted to organise an event that brought together the industry leaders in assistive technology here in Northern Ireland. It’s one thing to read about some of this technology but it’s quite another thing to get your hands on the latest products and try them for yourself.”

Accessible toilet installer Closomat has launched its 2024 clinical webinar series called ‘Grading bathroom activities for age appropriate occupations’.

The post Event demonstrates assistive tech for blind and partially sighted people in Northern Ireland appeared first on AT Today - Assistive Technology.
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