Blind people are becoming more independent due to new technology

There are more than two million blind or partially sighted people in the UK.

In the past those affected by this would have been reliant on others to go about their everyday lives.

It would also have left them unable to access the same products and services as everyone else, or required them to access them in a different way.

But advances in technology are changing this, opening up new levels of independence for blind and partially sighted people that they could not have imagined a few years ago.

RNIB recently partnered with RBS to adapt the bank’s new mobile app to make it accessible to blind and partially sighted customers, allowing them to access the same services as other customers, in exactly the same way.

Similarly, digital assistants like Amazon Echo are allowing people to control devices in their home through voice commands, from any room in the house.

The most exciting developments remain in the use of artificial intelligence, particularly its integration into wearable technology.

Among the products on display at RNIB’s recent Techshare conference was AI enabled glasses that can convert text and signs into audio descriptions, allowing the user to engage with books, restaurant menus and street signs without assistance.

They also have the capability to recognise faces and remember names, informing the user who they are talking to and making it easier for them to join in with conversations.

For a long time, the features that made products accessible to blind and partially sighted people were viewed by developers as added extras but more sectors are coming around to the fact that those same features are also in demand across the entire population.

And as technology continues to move forward this trend looks set to continue, bringing complete independence for blind and partially sighted people another step closer.

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