A blog by a man with significant sight loss and his encounters with the aid of his white stick (a long cane with a ball on the end). There is no guide dog, but the white stick can be 'anthropomorphisised'. Sometimes the white stick speaks.
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Wednesday, 28 November 2012
Sight Village, Kensington Town Hall, November 2012
Many of the
exhibitors were in the same place as last year and with recent meetings and
shows at Judd Street (RNIB and Action for Blind) and my discussions with Guide
Dogs at the VocalEyes reception at the House of Lords, I went more with the
intention of finding a few twitter contacts and searching the hashtag
#SightVillage for interesting exhibitors.
I made my way
from South Kensington Underground with the very helpful staff at the station by
way of the Circle Line (It is no longer a circle) to High Street Kensington. From there I headed towards the Town Hall,
remembering the way, and was met by Ray from QAC who was doing a sweep.I was then checked in and started on my visit
having established which rooms were in use.
some interesting camera based technologies which will read a simple
document.Many of the stands have
documents ready but I had a leaflet from the V&A which turned out to be
about Harry Winston’s Diamonds. This is one way to name drop.One type of equipment sounded interesting,
but costing around £2,000 was more than I was willing to pay.A cheaper piece of kit costing £500 was more
attractive but only worked on English text and facilities such as converting to
a readable text file for “paperless” purposes was an extra.I am no longer interested in magnifiers but
would like to have a document read to me, annotate it and store for reference
(and throwing the piece of paper away- A quoi sert un morceau de papier,
I ran into a
couple of stands from last year and chatted away.I tried out the Ultracane and discussed its
development.Some people recognised me
and I tried out a carbon fibre white cane on sale by QAC themselves (we met on
twitter).The Olympus stand remembered
me from the Judd Street day and said hello.Of course I could not recognise any visually impaired people so asked
one of the QAC volunteers to help me find some stands.I found Toby Davey from VocalEyes and I got
an unusual audio description of the coffee downstairs! (see below)
On the way
downstairs I ran into Megan from RNIB Books and we discussed issues.A coffee and a piece of lemon cake can best
be forgotten but the catering staff kept scratching their faces or hair while
handling food.The lemon cake was
wrapped tightly in cling film and it extruded and tasted like wallpaper paste.
Toby was right about the coffee.
My last stand
visit was with a tactile map overlay on a touchscreen.This was done on a plan of Rochester Railway
Station in Kent.I have been to this
station as it has both HS1 and regular tracks.A useful try out of technology in development.