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Adapting the tech we have, to enhance lives

Adapting the tech we have, to enhance lives

August 15 2016

By Guest

Being featured in the Nominet Trust 100 in 2015 was unfathomably exciting for us; winning has given us a real boost to continue doing the work we believe in. One of our team noted: “A few people mentioned Nominet Trust to me as I added the NT100 logo to my email signature, and I noticed much more interest from their side to work with us. Especially when they didn’t know anything about us!” Naturally, this support has been very important to us.

Firmly and without reservation, we believe in the tech we are producing and supporting, but to have the recognition of such a highly esteemed organisation was really special for us. At GiveVision, our motivation comes from our users and it is very exciting to be recognised by equal-minded peers.

Since inception, our main goal has been to make the everyday technology that we take for granted as accessible to visually impaired people, as it is to the fully-sighted. Our mission is to take wearable technologies such as smart glasses and virtual reality goggles, and turn them into the best sight enhancement software available. Since we have found that our users prefer sight enhancement to audio description, we have worked tirelessly to create something that adheres to the needs of our users, and helps them improve the abilities they already possess. So far, we have tested with over 100 people and have had some hugely encouraging feedback. Additionally, we have had a lot of success reaching out to people for support, for trials, and for the general feedback that we need to pack our kits with as much potential as possible.

Recently, there have been many positive steps forward in our world. We closed our seed-round and managed to ascend from feeling like a start-up to feeling like we’d really started! Moreover, we pre-launched our first product - a huge milestone for us. The SightPlus was something we were, and very much still are, hugely excited to share with people. These virtual reality-style goggles have the software to allow visually impaired people to alter the way they see the world; allowing access not only to what fully-sighted people see, but potentially more. Following on from our pre-launch, we organised some truly beneficial trials with charities all over the country such as Beacon centre and Sight Concern, a massive step in the right direction for our kit. Obviously, social technology relies on a positive social reception and high level of interest, so trials and testing are very important to us. If we are designing technology for people, we need to know that they like it! As a result of these trials, we were able to consent to 20 super-testers taking our kit home with them to provide us with practical and personal feedback on our technology.

It is important to understand the impact of social technologies. To us, the reason they are so important is because they are so integrated within our social regimes. These days, everybody has a smartphone, or tablet, or some other technology that plays an integral role in their day-to-day lives. Therefore, the celebration and encouragement of companies attempting to alter this tech, for those who find it harder to access it, is paramount to the industry’s growth.

Organisations like Wayfindr have particularly impressed us in this sector. Wayfindr have recognised the challenges visually impaired people face when travelling; as a result, they have developed software that helps visually impaired people navigate the London Underground. Like us, they are solely focused on improving and maintaining the levels of independence that visually impaired people can enjoy, a cause worthy of support.

Of course, there are so many organisations working with technology for many amazing causes and tech for good is something that we believe in celebrating and embracing. Too often technology can be exclusive; we sit with our phones in front of our faces and limit the invitation for personal interaction. However, technology can and should be inclusive too. Why not take the tech we already have, and adapt it to enhance our lives? That is our mission, and we are very thankful to Nominet Trust for continuing to encourage us to develop and improve towards this goal. 

If you know an inspiring project using technology to create a more inclusive society, nominate them for the 2016 NT100 here.

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