OXSIGHT: Best of 2019

2019 has been an eventful year for OXSIGHT and we would like to thank all of you for your encouragement and words of support. 

This year has been great for us and we could have done any of it without you. 

Here are some of the highlights of OXSIGHT’s 2019. 

 

  • Brand new look for OXSIGHT

We kicked this year off with a bang by discarding the old, clinical teal and white colour scheme to bring you a silky luxurious black and yellow ensemble. 

Old oxsight to new oxsight logo

Sterile and clinical to sleek and luxurious

This change reflects our mission to not only bring you the best solution for your visual impairment, but also provide service and customer care of the highest standard. We care about every aspect of your interaction with OXSIGHT; from community all the way to clinical. 

 

  • OXSIGHT officially launches

It’s surprising to think back that earlier this year in February is when OXSIGHT officially launched. It was held at The Taj Hotel, London and we had the honour of having the Blind Poet Dave Steele host the event. 

dave steele at oxsight launch

The Blind Poet has the audience in the palm of his hand

Guest speakers included Prof Xinghuai Sun, a leading clinician and world authority on Ophthalmology & Vision Science, Prof Monica Chaudhary, a renowned low vision expert in India, leading UK technology journalist Rob Waugh, and OXSIGHT user and Ambassador David Quigley.

panel at oxsight launch

From left to right: Valerie Riffaud Cangelosi, Head of New Market Development – EMEA at Epson; Prof Monica Chaudhry, Director of the School of Health Sciences at Ansal University; David Quigley, OXSIGHT Ambassador; Prof Xinghuai Sun, Chairman of Ophthalmology and Vision Science at Fudan University in China; Rob Waugh, science and technology journalist.

 

  • Shaun runs for sight

In 2019, OXSIGHT’s Shaun took on the unenviable challenge of running 20 marathons before the end of 2020. He took on all comers, from local events to national races.

The highlight of the year for Shaun was undoubtedly his run in the London Marathon in which he not only finished (which is a feat in itself), but also smashed his personal best by over 20 minutes. 

shaun and his london marathon medal

Winner, winner, chicken dinner

With still half his runs to go, we wish Shaun all the luck in the world for the rest and hopes he continues to improve on his times. 

Break a leg, Shaun!

shaun celebrates

Cue Rocky theme tune

 

  • OXSIGHT China and India goes live

This year was the year that OXSIGHT truly went global. 

Although we already had users from outside the United Kingdom previously, 2019 saw the official launch of OXSIGHT in both China and India, allowing us to drastically increase the number of people in the visually impaired community we are able to reach. 

first oxsight user in china

First OXSIGHT user in China

This marked an important step in the development of both the company and the community in our mission to help as many visually impaired people as possible

 

  • OXSIGHT glasses awarded RNIB Tried and Tested certification

It’s no secret that there are other companies that make smart glasses for the visually impaired. But what makes OXSIGHT stand out is the recognition and support that we have gotten from the community. 

In particular, the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) put our glasses through rigorous testing and as a result, we were awarded with their unique RNIB Tried and Tested certification. 

Not only are we the first wearable technology to be awarded this prestigious accolade, but it indicates that our glasses have been tested both against RNIB’s internal guidelines and by blind and partially sighted people to ensure it is usable and accessible.

danielle at rnib

Danielle is just one of many successful demos OXSIGHT held at the RNIB

It demonstrates OXSIGHT’s commitment to inclusivity and lets customers know the product satisfies RNIB’s inclusive design guidelines, including visual, tactile, and audio aspects of the user interface.

It is a tremendous honour and one of the highlights of our year. 

 

  • Night at the theatre for the visually impaired

To raise awareness for accessible entertainment and in conjunction with World Sight Day 2019, OXSIGHT teamed up with Manchester Opera House and Henshaws to give ten registered blind individuals the chance to experience the musical “& Juliet” before its West End debut. 

oxsight users at the theatre

The blind are taking over the theatre

The lucky individuals were given the opportunity to watch the entire show with the help of OXSIGHT glasses and then taken backstage to meet the cast and experience a touch tour. 

theatre touch tour

Backstage at “& Juliet”

 

  • New glasses for central vision loss coming soon

OXSIGHT currently have 2 products on the market: the Prism and Crystal. These are great for those with peripheral vision loss, but less effective for those who lack central vision.

Because we simply cannot bear the thought that there are parts of the blind community that we can’t potentially help, our tech team have been hard at work creating a solution for those with central vision loss. 

Progress has been excellent and we have already begun user testing with the final product being available early 2020.

1 year, 3 products, countless helped. The future is sight.

 

  • The growing OXSIGHT community

2019 has seen OXSIGHT take a huge step in terms of overall growth. Our glasses are used on 4 different continents, our users number in the hundreds, and we are now able to provide our services to over a third of the world’s population. 

Our community has grown immensely and this is all down to you and all the support you have given. 

So in the spirit of the holidays, OXSIGHT would like to thank you and wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

merry christmas gif

Bring on 2020!

christmas elves

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Christmas is around the corner and for many it is a time of great celebration with family and friends.

However, this festive season also brings inconveniences that may be detrimental to the enjoyment of those with a visual impairment.

Here are some things that the blind may need to be wary of during the holidays.

 

Snow

Let’s be honest, it would be a miracle if we were to witness a white Christmas.

But on the off-chance that this happens, the snow also brings with it an overlooked visual issue – glare.

snow glare

“It burns. It burns!”

Firstly, snow is (mostly) white. When a sheet of white covers an area during a sunny day, it can reflect sunlight directly into the eyes of those nearby.

While people with normal vision may experience mild discomfort, the visually impaired may find this experience significantly more painful. Furthermore, because snow can reflect more than 80 percent of ultraviolet rays that fall on it, the eyes are more at risk of being sunburnt.

Who said that sunglasses are only for summer?

 

Christmas Lights

On the topic of light, Christmas lights can also cause nuisance to the blind.

Christmas light show

Also true for people without sight loss.

Bright, flashing lights can often be jarring to those with sight loss or light sensitivity.

Occasionally the orientation of the sense can bring on bouts of nausea and seizures.

Molly Watt, an advocate for the visually impaired, has a video in which she talks about how Christmas lights have negatively affected her enjoyment of Christmas.

 

House Hazards

Routine can be a powerful tools. It can help with self-improvement and  efficiency, as well as aid the blind in navigation around the house.

But with Christmas, comes an assortment of accessories.

Trees need to be erected and adorned with ornaments. Decorations are strategically placed around the house to maximise interior aesthetics. Presents are shoved under the tree and stockings are irreparably nailed to the wall.

These elements provide the house with a sense of festive joy, but can act as additional obstacles blind people need to traverse through as they go about their day.

An errant bauble on the floor can mean that someone is spending Christmas in the emergency room.

christmas house decorations

“Who would put a small tree next to the main tree?”

 

Christmas Dinner

It’s Christmas Day. Presents have been unwrapped. Family has gathered. Drinks have been free-flowing.

And now it’s time for dinner.

On the table is a myriad of vibrant colours. The turkey is nice and golden. The cranberry sauce sparkles bright red. The fresh green of brussel sprouts provide the perfect contrast to the earthy brown of roast potatoes and pigs in cosy blankets. To top it all off, there is a boat filled to the brim with a sea of gravy to glaze the meal with.

christmas dinner

Am I drooling?

Most people would be able to partake in such as visual feast before the actual meal begins.

This may not be the case for those with sight problems. Instead they have to make do with an aromatic banquet which, admittedly, is just as good if not better.

 

Social Awkwardness

This holiday period is a time when close family and friends get together to celebrate, socialise, and exchange gifts.

Unfortunately for some, this also means that random relatives or strangers may suddenly appear which can lead to awkward social moments.

family and friends at christmas

“Who’s touching me?”

Those unused to interacting with the visually impaired may find themselves not knowing how to act or saying the wrong thing, which can create awkwardness.

It is commonly believed that the remedy for this sort of situation is the oral ingestion of adult beverages. However, while this can produce short term benefits, long term detriment is just as possible.

 

Crowds

Holidays often brings with it a multitude of festive public events. While they are objectively fun, they are also often packed full of other human bodies.

Thick crowds are not conducive to easy white cane or guide dog usage, due to the lack of space and the potential of bumping into others. Debris on the floor can also make cane use much harder with the increase of unseen obstacles.

Christmas crowds

Challenge accepted.

In addition, those who utilise audio to facilitate orientation and navigation may also suffer due to the increase in unwanted sound.

These aspects can result in disorientation and stress for the visually impaired.


What do you find that you struggle with during the Christmas holiday period?

Gift Ideas for the Visually Impaired

The holiday season is upon us and there are only 19 days till you’re officially allowed to frantically unwrap all the goodies under the tree.

Upon discovering what this special occasion has given you, some will react with cries of joy while others may lower their faces with signs of anguish.

To avoid spreading disappointment in the festive season of giving, here is OXSIGHT’s list of best gifts for the visually impaired.

 

OXSIGHT glasses

oxsight users at afternoon tea

OXSIGHT PrismTM and CrystalTM are specially designed smart glasses for the visually impaired. With intuitive technology, users have reported being able to see their whole family at gatherings as well as be able to finally appreciate that gorgeous roast turkey at the centre of the table.

OXSIGHT glasses enable users to maintain eye contact with their loved ones with its clear design and avoid eye contact with no-so-loved ones with its attachable shade.

They also come with a variety of accessories allowing the users to customise them to fit their needs.

Also… the launch of a new product in 2020 will bring more Christmas cheer to those with central vision loss.

Pro tip: change modes to highlight objects of interest.

Perfect for: You?

 

Stand by Me RP by Dave Steele

The Blind Poet Dave Steele shares his life with retinitis pigmentosa through the medium of written poetry. Steele tackles issues connected to family, social life, perception from others, and tribulations that he has had to overcome.

The best part?

There are 3 books in the series, so this gift will work for both new and returning readers.

Pro tip: read your favourites aloud to turn your party into a sob fest.

Perfect for: literary buffs, the newly diagnosed, the alienated

 

Watches for the Blind

As a whole, the process of telling the time is almost entirely a visually based task. While it is possible to access services that provide a speaking clock, they are often impractical for general purpose use when speed and efficiency are required.

Watches designed for those with sight loss have come a long way and help improve the ease with which users can tell the time.

There are 2 main types of these watches.

Talking watches are exactly that. They look like regular watches but at the touch of a button, a voice will sound which announces the current time for the user.

Tactile watches, on the other hand, utilise the user’s sense of touch to convey the time. The simple ones look like regular watches, but have have tactile dots which indicate the hours and hands that are touchable. More complex watches use other methods. Eone Bradley watches have 2 ball bearings that move according to the hands of a clock, while the Dot Watch is a smartwatch and displays time (and other info) in braille.

The main downside to these types of watches is their size. Most will be noticeably thicker than regular watches and some may have a larger case diameter.

Pro tip: coordinate with your attire to be cat-walk ready.

Perfect for: techies, the tardy, the fashion-conscious

 

Board Games

Nothing brings the family closer together than a board game session.

Those with sight loss may find it hard to join in with some tabletop classics, but fortunately, accessible versions have been made to make family and friends fun inclusive to all.

Most of these games have had braille added to them, while others now have tactile markers to help players differentiate pieces.

Pro tip: better to have cheaters on your team than not.

Perfect for: those with friends and/or family, kids, the competitive

 

iPhone

Search “phones for the visually impaired” and you will be bombarded with a plethora of options claiming to make phone operation easier for those with sight loss. And while these options are great, not everyone is happy to trade in style, function, and inclusiveness for improved accessibility.

This is especially the case when modern smartphones do a great job at providing options for those with disabilities.

Perhaps the leader in this field is Apple’s iPhone.

Their Voiceover function can read text and image descriptions, Dark Mode will increase contrast, Magnifier will enlarge anything on screen, and these are just some of the features available for use.

Pro tip: “Hey Siri, call me Thanos from now on.”

Perfect for: all ages, Internet addicts, fans of Steve Jobs

 

Audiobook Subscription

man listening to audiobook on street

Book reading has undergone an evolution in recent years. No longer are bibliophiles limited to simply using their eyes to digest written language. They can now experience books in an auditory capacity.

Audiobooks exist mostly in digital form, so simply gifting one to friends or family may be regarded as miserly. Luckily, there are plenty of subscription options on offer.

The only drawback is that subscriptions mean that you will be financially on the hook for a certain amount of time.

Pro tip: obtain login details from the recipient to take advantage of the subscription yourself.

Perfect for: pseudo-intellectuals, book club patrons, lazy students

 

Treatment

surgeon with green bay packers hat

Treatment for someone with a visual impairment is a more situational gift. Not every condition has a corresponding cure.

Fortunately, medical science is progressing at a rapid pace so, even if there isn’t one now, there may be one in the future.

Laser eye surgery may help those with long- or short-sightedness. Patients can also sign up to take part in the latest clinical trials involving the use of gene therapy or stem cells. While these trials may be quite experimental and have no guarantee of success, they also offer the opportunity to be at the forefront of modern medicine and contribute to the eventual production of a cure.

Pro tip: expectation management is a must.

Perfect for: the impatient, gamblers, “I know a guy”