Sight Village 2008

Sight Village is an annual exhibition show-casing the latest in the world of Assistive Technology products for the blind and visually impaired. Every year for three days in mid July, dozens of Assistive Technology companies from around the globe offer seminars, demonstrations and stands to introduce their products to industry, professionals and consumers.

While his blog entry will include Monty’s highlights from the event, a comprehensive article will soon be posted in the Resources area on the BRITE web site.

Screen readers in brief

Representatives from the three most popular Screen Readers in the UK were on-hand to demonstrate and discuss the latest versions of their products.

JAWS for Windows: Version 10 (out this autumn) promises to continue improving access to the web.

HAL/Supernova: Version 9.02 contains improved internet support and a new scripting language to complement Map files.

Window-Eyes: Version 7 (soon to be released) contains a new powerful COM-Object scripting

What I have observed during this round of Screen Reader updates is how close in functionality they are starting to become!

Refreshable Braille Displays in brief

HandyTech (from Germany) gave me a demo of some of their popular Braille Displays: Braille Star 40/80, Braille Wave 40, Easy Braille 40 and Modular Revelation 66/88. These displays use solenoid technology to produce nice crisp refreshable Braille in an ergonomically-friendly concave reading area. The Modular Revolution also contains Handy Tech’s innovative Active Tactile Control (ATC) technology that enables the screen cursor to follow the reading of the refreshable Braille Display user.

 I-Tell in Brief

Cobolt Systems have recently developed the I-Tell. A I-Pod accessory that enables recent models of I-Pods to be accessible to the blind via speech output. The device allows a blind I-Pod user to navigate and access the various menus and screens making the experience very accessible. I’m definitely looking forward to getting my hands on one of these for further trials!

 OCR/Scanning in brief

The KNFB reader is an Optical Character Recognition software package that makes use of the Nokia N82 mobile phone and it’s built-in 5 megapixel camera. Seconds after a photo of printed text is taken, the phone (using the Talks mobile Screen Reader) verbalises the captured material. This new method of scanning allows users to access printed material that was previously very difficult to access. Bulletin boards, signs, labels, food packaging, menus etc.

The Eye-Pal OCR package uses a high-spec digital camera to quickly capture text from a printed page and uses an attached computer to perform optical character recognition allowing up to 20 pages of text to be recognised per minute. It really worked and was fast too!

Don’t miss Sight Village 2009. For further information please visit:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s