Life-changing innovations showcased at RNIB event

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Catapult: Driverless car is being launched as a public tranport option. 

TechShare Europe aims to show how new technology can change people’s lives for the better. 

15th September 2016 by Gavin Stuart 0 Comments

A driverless car, augmented reality glasses and an electronic braille-dot display are just some of the innovations on show at the two-day TechShare Europe event.

Organised by sight loss charity RNIB and held at the Glasgow Science Centre, the event aims to show how new technology can change people’s lives for the better.

Representatives from Google, Microsoft, Netflix, Samsung and Apple will also attend the conference to discuss their companies’ plans for accessibility. 

TechShare is already Europe’s leading accessible technology conference and this year’s is set to be the biggest one yet

Steve Tyler, the charity’s head of solutions, strategy and planning, said: “TechShare is already Europe’s leading accessible technology conference and this year’s is set to be the biggest one yet.

“Improving accessibility for blind and partially sighted people to everyday products and activities is the hallmark of RNIB and it is great that the world’s biggest technology companies are helping to lead the way in making that happen.”

The MyEye (picture above), developed by Israeli-based OrCam, uses artificial intelligence built into a smart camera on a wearer’s glasses and can recognise text from newspapers, street signs, supermarkets and other sources, relaying it back to the user through a built-in earpiece.

The system also includes facial recognition software allowing for identification of people the wearer has met before.

Eliav Rodman, director of marketing at OrCam Technologies, said: "OrCam’s mission is to harness the power of artificial vision to improve the lives of people who are blind and partially sighted.

“MyEye is the most advanced technology providing visual aid through a discreet, wearable platform and easy-to-use interface."

The Catapult, a driverless pod soon to be launched as a public transport option in Milton Keynes, can safely navigate around people and obstacles.

Developers Transport Systems hope their invention could also revolutionise the mobility of those who are unable to drive.

Campbell Chalmers, director of RNIB Scotland, said the case for accessible products rests not just on social inclusivity but hard economics.

He said: "According to research last year by the Business Disability Forum, the 'walk away pound', representing lost revenue to businesses that don't offer sufficient access for people with disabilities, was estimated at £1.8bn per month for UK businesses alone. That's a huge untapped market."