Blog

  • A touching story about a blind man called David

    We have a very touching customer story to share with you courtesy of photographer Jim Mortram. Jim is a very close friend of David's and since David was the victim of a bicycling accident and lost his sight, Jim has helped David get his life back on track and regain his independence in a variety of ways.

    Here at Sight and Sound Technology our soul mission is to help people like David regain that independence that all of us, as human beings, hold so dear. We have found a careful mix of technology and training is the key to achieving this. When Jim brought David's story to our attention we were keen to help out, providing David with a SARA scanning machine and technical support to make sure it all runs smoothly and David understand's how to use his new machine.

    This was 2 years ago, below you can read Jim's touching words which were so successful in raising the money needed for a SARA:

    "I've been documenting David since he was blinded as a result of a freak bicycling accident. Before the accident robbed him of his sight (David is 100% blind, zero light perception) he was an avid collector of books and an avid reader. His rooms are filled with books gathering dust, their pages filled with adventures, lives, stories and descriptions of visions and vistas that David is unable to now experience.

    In David's words, "There’s nothing the same, if I’d been able to see a little after the accident I might have been able to access things but I can’t. I’m so cut off from the world, it’s just like being a ghost floating through the world and the only time you know you’re not a ghost is if you bang into something and it hurts and then you know you’re real as the pain feels real.

    Blind man David looking at his new SARA Setting up the SARA

    Together we can raise the money required to purchase a SARA - Scanning and reading appliance; a device designed solely for those affected with blindness and one able to be used right of of the box. The SARA will allow David to place his books or any other printed material upon it and then convert the printed text to audio that David will be able to hear. From being unable to read to able to read any printed material in 5 minutes.

    David's response to hearing the SARA for the very first time, “Having stories read out to me, I can visualise things in my mind and get new input. I can read books I have never read before, I feel like a person again.”

    You can watch a video of David explaining his blindness and why the SARA is of such importance here:

    Source: Postcards from the black : HopeMob : Fundraiser for David from J A Mortram on Vimeo.

     

    Now 2 years on from David receiving his first ever piece of technology for the blind and visually impaired, the SARA couldn't be a bigger part of David's life. As David was a great lover of books and reading prior to his loss of vision, the SARA has enabled him to independently read what he wants, when he wants - without having to rely on another person.

    The SARA comes with a standard 2 year warranty and when this ran out David became very worried, as the machine has become such a important part of his life. This is when Jim came back to us once again, this time not trying to raise money for a brand new machine, but an extended warranty. Jim contacted us through our Facebook page and as soon as we heard David's story we wanted to help.

    We have helped David out with an extended warranty and technical support to make sure he is well supported in case anything on the technology does go wrong. We would like to thank Jim Mortram for telling David's story and bringing to us, also for providing us with permissions to use his words, photographs, and video. For us here at Sight and Sound, to hear how much a piece of our technology has helped someone; and to see such happiness in their face as a result - certainly makes it all worth it.

    blind man, David, with SARA smiling David hearing his SARA for the very first time

    Source: Jim Mortram: http://smalltowninertia.co.uk/market-town-david-the-long-goodbye/

  • A word of thanks...

    This week we received a fantastic note from a long standing customer, Tolga Karatas. We have been helping Tolga over the course of 10 years with many different solutions to aid him in his everyday life, and of course providing a support line for when these bits of technology aren't working as they should be - or just in case a bit of guidance is needed.

    Here at Sight and Sound Technology we pride ourselves on providing the best support and after sales care for all of our technological products. So when we receive a message such as this, from a long standing customer, it makes us all here very happy as we feel we have certainly achieved our target.

    Hello,

    I would like the following item to be included in the news, I have been working with Sight and Sound for over 10 years, and I am really happy with the service I've received.

    I would like to especially like to thank the technical support Team, especially, Will Burton, who has been a great help to me over the last 10 years.

    Many Thanks,

    Tolga.

    Thanks you blind & visually impaired

  • All At The Press of a Button: A review of the HIMS Blaze ET by Jackie Brown

    My thanks to Sight and Sound Technology for loaning me the Blaze ET for the purpose of this review.

    In 2014, Hims released the Blaze EZ multi-player. This year, however, they have incorporated many of the features of that device into the Blaze ET, but with added functionality.

     

    WHAT’S IN THE BOX

    The package contains a Blaze ET, rechargeable battery, AC adapter, USB charging cable that also acts as the connection to a computer, USB gender adapter, carry pouch, earbuds, Braille quick start guide, and documentation CD.

    blaze et

     

    DESCRIPTION OF BLAZE ET

    Blaze ET is black in colour with primarily silver contrasting buttons. The unit is about the size of a Smartphone only thicker: 59.3mm wide, 116.86mm long, and 16.4mm deep, weighing 118g.

    Holding the unit in your hand, the speakers are at the top of the ET with a square recessed red button between them. This is the power/time button. A long press turns the Blaze ET on or off. A short press tells you the current time, even when the unit is off. Below the speakers are three buttons. From left to right, they are Info, Home, and OCR.

    Moving down the face of the ET, there are four arrow keys with a round button in the middle. Use these keys to navigate the various menus on the unit, and press the circular button in the middle to accept a command.

    Next, there are three colour coded buttons which, going from left to right, are Cancel (red,) Menu (blue,) and Review (green.) Use the cancel key to go back a level in a menu, or stop an action. The menu button opens a dialog box within applications, while the review key allows you to read back what you have entered in a text field.

    A normal telephone-style keypad occupies the remainder of the face of the ET, with a dot on number five for easy identification.

    At the very bottom edge on the face of the unit are two LED indicators which show charging status and when the internal microphone is in use.

    On the left side of the ET are three buttons. The top one controls the volume, speed and pitch of the TTS engine. When you select volume, for example, the other two buttons will increase or decrease the volume. Similarly, select pitch or speed of the voice, and the two buttons below will increase or decrease these elements.

    Below these three buttons is an SD card slot allowing for extra memory of up to 32gb. Internal memory is 12gb.

    The right side of the Blaze ET has two keys. The top one is the record button. Press it once quickly to ascertain a list of any previously made recordings. A long press of this button activates record mode.

    A slide switch about halfway down the right side of the ET allows you to lock the unit to avoid accidental presses. Push the switch down to lock ET, or push it up to unlock it.

    At the bottom edge of the Blaze ET are three ports. From left to right, these are 3.5mm headphone socket, micro USB port for charging the unit, and 3.5mm stereo microphone socket. The micro USB port enables you to connect ET to your computer, and to an external CD or thumb drive as well. You can use the external microphone socket as a line-in facility.

    There is a small hole at the very top edge of the ET through which a lanyard can be fitted.

    On the rear of the ET is the camera lens and a battery cover. Push down on the cover to remove it and insert the Lithium Polymer cell, giving you up to 11.5 hours play on a full charge.

     

    EXPLORING THE FEATURES OF BLAZE ET

    Power on the Blaze ET by pressing and holding down the square recessed button between the speaker grilles on the front of the machine for roughly two seconds. The unit emits a familiar musical chime. You can now explore what Blaze ET has to offer by using the up and down arrow keys, and activating an item by pressing the circular button in the middle. Choose from File Manager, Media Player, Book Reader, Radio, OCR, Webradio, Podcasts, Library Services, Utilities, External Apps, and Options.

    Within Utilities, there are some interesting features such as Colour Reader, Memo, Calculator, Sense Dictionary (optional,) Alarm, Sleep Timer, and the ability to update the Blaze ET firmware.

    The Options menu allows you to adjust recording and voice settings, turn on the Bluetooth feature and pair devices like a headset, set time and date, or connect to a wireless network.

    The Blaze ET has a nice physical keyboard layout making it easy to navigate to its many features. You can either use the up and down arrows to do this, or press a defined key on the telephone-style keypad that takes you directly to an application. You can, for example, go straight to Webradio by pressing number five on the keypad instead of arrowing through the main menu to find it, or to Memo by pressing number seven.

    A dedicated OCR button drops you into the application where you can take pictures of documents and packaging to identify them. You can turn the flash on and off, depending on the results you are getting, and you can set the unit to scan multiple pages, useful if you are working with a book.

    The camera is also used for Colour Reader where you simply hold the ET over a garment and snap to recognise it.

    Bookworms will find all the usual DAISY navigation features available on Blaze ET. There are also many supported file types including DOC, DOCX, TXT, RTF, and HTML.

     

    USING BLAZE ET

    I found setting up Blaze ET very straightforward. I was able to key in my WiFi password, adjust speed, pitch and volume easily, and set time and date without difficulty.

    Adding music and playing it was a breeze, and making recordings was also very simple once I had adjusted its settings accordingly,.

    In comparing the Blaze ET OCR feature with the K-NFB Reader app on my iPhone 6, I believe that the latter is much faster and more accurate. But the Hims devices are the only multi-players to offer this feature, and it is an extremely useful one if you want an all-rounder on the go.

    Another useful feature unique to the Blaze ET is Skype. While I initially had difficulty in entering my Skype name due to a problem that is to be fixed in the next firmware release, I was eventually able to sign in, make a Skype call, and use the interface efficiently. So sitting down in the comfort of your armchair away from the computer holding Blaze ET in your hand like a telephone to Skype is perfectly feasible.

    The Collins Dictionary has limitations at present. I could enter words to ascertain their meaning, but when I deliberately entered an incorrect spelling, the search result came back with nothing found, and no list to allow me to choose the correct spelling. Perhaps this is something Hims could add in the future?

    Due to changes by the BBC, none of the BBC stations would work when I searched for them in the Webradio application. Other manufacturers of specialist players like HumanWare and Plexter have rectified this problem on their units, so perhaps this is another issue Hims could address in the near future?

     

    CONCLUSION AND PRICING

    If you want an all-in-one device that lets you scan documentation, identify colours, listen to music, books and podcasts, stream radio stations and even use Skype, then the Blaze ET is at your disposal. With a choice of UK or US Acapella TTS voices, connectivity options such as Bluetooth and WiFi, and the ability to set options for your recordings, Blaze ET meets most needs.

    I had major reservations about aspects of Blaze EZ when I had some hands-on with it last year. But the ET offers greater navigation and flexibility thanks to its intuitive telephone-style keypad. Features such as Sense Dictionary (optional) and Colour Reader are welcome additions, while improvements to Webradio and Podcasts make it a real competitor.

    An additional accessory pack offers a stand on which to place The Blaze ET for scanning, charging cradle, spare battery and charger. And Sense Dictionary is an add-on useful for students and writers alike.

    blaze et 2

    Blaze ET is distributed in the UK by Sight and Sound Technology, 01604 798070,

    www.sightandsound.co.uk.

    It will set you back £525.00 under VAT exemption. The accessory pack is priced at £97.00. And the Sense Dictionary add-on costs £25.00.

    Blaze ET is an expensive piece of kit, so be sure to request a demonstration for some hands-on before you buy. But with OCR, music and books galore, colour identifier and wireless connectivity, Blaze ET is a one stop shop, all at the press of a button!

  • Accessible Computers, but not only for those with Sight Loss...

    Here at Sight and Sound we make it our mission to build from the ground up and modify existing technology, ensuring that it is accessible to those who cannot interact with the devices in the same way as an entirely able bodied person could.

    In some cases, such as for the blind, we often design bespoke technological solutions - as altering already established technology doesn't usually provide the best solution. A great example of this is the computers we have designed from the ground up for the blind and the visually impaired, alongside the RNIB.

    More recently our team in the workshop engineered a fantastic solution for an elderly customer who struggled with arthritis amongst other things, which meant operating a computer became difficult - specifically pressing the buttons to turn the computer on and off (which on most computer systems are quite small and hard to press). When this problem was presented to our guys in the workshop, it would have been very easy to say, "Ok, well we will try and find the computer system with this biggest buttons" - however, this wouldn't have solved the customers problem.

    Accessible Computers

    Instead, workshop engineers James Oliver and Josh Drinnan (pictured above) wired in a completely new way of turning the computer on and off, through the headphone port on the front of the computer. The result is a very visible and large, easy to press button to turn the computer on and and off, wired safely into the new system through the headphone port so there is no way the button can be plugged in anywhere else - and potentially cause damage to the system. The computer works perfectly and the customer was thrilled with the solution the guys came up with.

    We are very proud of the team in the workshop for taking the initiative and engineering this solution and it really just goes to show, like everyone here at Sight and Sound, how much they care. If you are interested in your own bespoke accessible computer system, or would perhaps just like to ask us a few questions about one - then please do not hesitate to give us a call on 01604 798070.

  • Introducing: Computers for the Blind & Visually Impaired

    This week Sight and Sound and the RNIB have unveiled a new range of Fujitsu Windows PCs (computers for the blind and visually impaired) that come with screen enlarging and speech functions built in.

    Comprising of laptops, standard desktops and all in one PCs, each model in the new RNIB-branded range comes with either JAWS (Job Access With Speech) and MAGic screen magnification software for blind and partially sighted users. All units also come with DAISY e-book software installed.

    These functions can be easily toggled, making them suitable for other family members to use as well. The RNIB worked with Freedom Scientific, makers of JAWS and MAGic and Sight and Sound Technology when developing the custom PCs.

    Steve Tyler, the RNIB’s head of solutions, strategy and planning, said: "We're delighted to announce the launch of the RNIB accessible computers. Our aim was to provide blind and partially sighted people with easy access to technology, at an affordable price.

    "Working on this exciting project with Sight and Sound and Freedom Scientific demonstrates a commitment to bring accessible packages to our customers. We hope these computers will open up a world of online shopping, chat, news and information to people with sight loss."

    PCs with JAWS are typically more expensive than MAGic-equipped versions. The entry-level 15.6-inch laptop (1.70 GHz dual-core, 4GB RAM, 15.6-inch 1,366 x 768 display) costs £849 with JAWS and £673 with MAGic.

    The RNIB range consists of two laptops - a 13.3-inch and 15.6-inch edition - a tower with a 19-inch monitor and two all in one PCs, with standard and touchscreen displays respectively. Full prices and specs for all the models can be found on the RNIB’s site.

    The new PCs launch at a time where broadcasters, tech companies and the RNIB continue to look at ways to make platforms and services more accessible. Sky has recently committed to including subtitles on most of its on-demand content by Summer 2016, while the RNIB has recently finished trials its long-awaited audio description mobile app.

    This will allow your phone to listen in to a range of services including Netflix, Now TV and BBC iPlayer and deliver audio descriptions. The RNIB has also worked with British Gas to bring voice commands to Hive, letting users change the temperature with their voice

  • A review of the Braille Sense U2 Mini, by Julie Roadway

    When I first looked at the U2 Mini, I was struck by how tiny and portable it was. As someone who regularly has to take notes when out and about, the thought of having a note taker that I could easily slip in a handbag struck me as ideal. The ability to lock the keyboard eliminated accidental pressing of keys when carrying the unit, a feature I really like.

    braille sense u2 mini in case

    I felt the Braille display and was impressed by how clear and sharp the quality of the Braille was, and liked the fact I could silence speech on the go, making discreet typing in a meeting possible.

    The function keys on the top makes shortcuts to menus very easy, and the ability to manipulate files, create folders, and save them to an SD card for backing up purposes is a facility I regularly make use of.

    Editing text is very straight forward, and highlighting large blocks of text for deletion or copying I learnt to do very quickly.

    Dropbox is a feature I use every day, because it makes interacting with the pc easy, enabling me to share files between that and the U2 Mini.

    Checking e-mails on the go is very useful, and the "Google search" facility is a godsend.

    Internet access is vital for me, and the ability to copy text from the web and save it to files is invaluable. An excellent example of this was when downloading and copying the HIMS manual for the Smart Beetle and the U2 Mini and saving these manuals in separate files for later reference.

    The quietness of the keys when typing makes this a very unobtrusive tool when out and about, and the on-board help was excellent when learning the  many functions of the unit.

    As an iPhone user, the terminal clipboard helps me to manipulate text before sending it to my phone or iPad, thus avoiding many of the translation problems with Apple and Braille.

    Braille sense u2 mini

    The battery life is ideal for what I need; I either just charge the unit up over night or insert the spare battery that I charge in advance.

    I like the speech voice on the unit, and sometimes use it to rapidly read long documents or when using the web.

    When on a bus or sitting in a waiting room, to kill time, I listen to my daisy books using the media functions of the unit, and appreciate reading the horror and thriller books I enjoy in such a convenient way.

    I saved very hard for this little device, and I am glad I did! I would highly recommend it as a very effective personal assistant always to hand, always at your fingertips and I know I couldn't do without it now.

    I own a Braille Note Apex but much prefer my Mini.

    I received excellent help from Sight and Sound on the couple of occasions I telephoned Tech Support, and I definitely made the right choice when purchasing the U2 Mini.

     

  • Useful Tips and Tricks For Your HIMS U2 Experience

    No, I am not referring to Irish rockers U2, I am instead sharing some “how to” hints on the Hims U2 and U2 Mini Braille note-takers. So keep these commands handy for future reference …

    Braille Sense U2

    One of the many useful features of the Hims line of products is the ability to backup or restore your settings if the machine ever needs to be reset to factory default, or it is updated with the latest firmware. Here are a couple of useful tips to help you in this situation.

    It is possible to make a backup of all the settings you prefer on your machine, for example, start-up tune, power saving and voice all turned off, or Bluetooth and WiFi turned on. So before you perform a complete or hard reset, or update your device to the latest firmware, follow these easy steps.

    1. From the main menu, choose Settings, then Backup/Restore Personalised Settings.
    2. Next, tab to the Select All button and press enter.
    3. Now tab once to the Backup button and press enter.

    All your personalised settings on the machine will now be saved.

    The next time your U2 has had a factory reset, or the firmware updated, it is very simple to restore all those settings you had previously, and here’s how.

    1. As before, from the main menu, select Settings, then Backup/Restore Personalised Settings.
    2. Tab to the Select All button and press enter.
    3. Now tab to the Restore button and press enter.
    4. At this point, the FlashDisk, or internal storage, is displayed. Press the space-bar to select it, noting the asterisk that indicates you have done so.

    By pressing enter, you will soon see that your machine has restored all the settings you had before, and is a much quicker way than going through each setting to make your choice.

    Another very useful feature of the U2 family is the ability to select individual files in a folder to copy or move them in one go. For example, if you want to copy the second file in a list, then the fourth, then the seventh to the clipboard, you can do so by pressing the space-bar to highlight each file you want to copy or move. You can determine the files you have selected because an asterisk appears before each one. When you have made your selection, simply use dots one-four with the enter key to copy them to the clipboard, or dots one-three-four-six to cut. Now go to the folder where you want to move the files, and press dots one-two-three-six with enter to paste them. Job done!

    Finally, 10 quick commands you can use from the main menu of the device to speedily ascertain information, or perform actions directly. This is not an exhaustive list of shortcuts, but they are productive.

    1. Dots one-two-three-six with space: provides the build number of your firmware.
    2. Dots one-three-four-five with space: gives the current network status of your unit.
    3. Dots one-two-five with space: offers a list of commonly used commands on the U2.
    4. Dots one-two-four-five with space: toggles between contracted, uncontracted and computer Braille grades.
    5. Dots two-four with space: tells you the remaining storage on your FlashDisk.
    6. Dots two-four-five-six with space: opens the address bar to type in an URL.
    7. Dots one-six with space: tells you the battery status.
    8. Dots two-three-four-five with space: gives the current time.
    9. Dots two-four-five with space: brings up the sleep timer.
    10. Dots one-three-five with space: opens the Options menu within Settings.

    Guest Blogged by Jackie Brown

  • Sight Village Birmingham: What to Expect...

    With the UK's largest blind and low vision exhibition, Sight Village Birmingham, just around the corner - we thought it would be useful to put together a short blog on what sorts of new technology, software, and events you can expect to see at the upcoming show.

    The 2015 exhibition will be taking place Tuesday 14th July and Wednesday 15th July – doors open at 10am and close at 3pm, and as with previous years it will be taking place at New Bingley Hall. Entry as always is free.

     

    The Sight and Sound Technology Workshop

    This year, within the Sight and Sound Technology Zone we will have a live workshop in action ready to take a look at any of your broken or faulty hardware. So if it has not been working properly, or perhaps you would just like to learn more about the product and what else you can do with it - bring it down to the Sight and Sound Technology Workshop at Sight Village Birmingham, and so long as we support it we will do our best to help!

    sight and sound technology zone photo from sight village 2014

    VOICEYE Maps ready for lift off! 

    You may have already read our latest blog on VOICEYE Touch Maps, however to summarise it is a great new mobile software which can be downloaded for free from either the App Store or from Google Play - and acts as a touch map for the blind and visually impaired, allowing them to navigate around the interior of the mapped building independently and effectively.

    We will have VOICEYE Touch Maps in action and ready for you to use at Sight Village Birmingham, quite simply download the app prior to your attendance, and when you arrive through the doors of the New Bingley Hall your phone will audibly prompt you that a map of the area is available.

    An Image of How Touch Maps Works

    The Sight and Sound Prize Draw

    As always we will be bringing back the Sight and Sound Prize draw! At each Sight Village we offer all visitors to our stand the opportunity to enter our prize draw and win a variety of hardware or software solutions designed specifically for the blind and visually impaired.

    This year once again you will have the choice of winning either a Ruby HD (the market leading portable electronic magnifier), a copy of Zoomtext Magnifier, Zoomtext Reader, Magic Screen Magnifier, Jaws Screen Reader, or Kurzweil. If you already have this software we will offer you a free upgrade or an SMA which will entitle you to the next upgrade when it is due to come out!

    the sight and sound prize draw

    Introducing the Topaz PHD, from Freedom Scientific

    Sight and Sound will exclusively have the latest new hardware from Freedom Scientific available for you to get your hands on at Sight Village Birmingham - The Topaz PHD.

    The New Topaz PHD

    The lightweight TOPAZ® PHD offers the comfort and productivity features of a desktop video magnifier but folds away like a laptop. With auto-focus, a wide magnification range, intuitive controls, five default and 27 customisable high-contrast colour modes, and adjustable reading lines and masks, the new TOPAZ PHD offers the freedom to independently read and view the details that matter in the home, office, classroom, or on the go.

    Come and have a play with the Topaz PHD and a variety of other software and hardware designed specifically for the blind and visually impaired, only at the Sight and Sound stand.

     

    Register for Sight Village Birmingham 2015

    And of course if you are yet to pre-register for Sight Village Birmingham 2015, you can do that here via the QAC website: www.sightvillage.co.uk

    Or if you would like any more information, please do not hesitate to give us a call on 01604 798070 or get in contact.

  • Upcoming: Sight Village, Birmingham

    Every year, a large number of visitors come to the Sight Village exhibitions to find out more about the latest technology, equipment and support services available to people who are blind or partially-sighted. If you or a family member have a visual impairment it could be of great help to visit the show. Also welcome are a wide range of professionals that support people with visual impairments and businesses looking to better meet the needs of their employees and customers.

    Sight Village in Birmingham, the largest Sight Village gathering of the year, is fast approaching. The 2015 exhibition will be taking place Tuesday 14th July and Wednesday 15th July - doors open at 10am and close at 3pm, and as with previous years it will be taking place at New Bingley Hall. Entry as always is free.

    Sight and Sound employee Neil kneeling and talking to a customer

    Once again Sight and Sound Technology are very proud to be headline sponsors of the event, alongside Barclays Bank. And this year we have an exclusive and exciting new product to show you - which will be publicly displayed for the first time at Sight Village Birmingham - The Topaz PHD.

    The New Portable Desktop Magnifier the Topaz PHD

    The lightweight TOPAZ® PHD offers the comfort and productivity features of a desktop video magnifier but folds away like a laptop. With auto-focus, a wide magnification range, intuitive controls, five default and 27 customisable high-contrast colour modes, and adjustable reading lines and masks, the new TOPAZ PHD offers the freedom to independently read and view the details that matter in the home, office, classroom, or on the go.

    Come and have a play with the Topaz PHD and a variety of other software and hardware designed specifically for the blind and visually impaired, only at the Sight and Sound stand.

    The Sight and Sound Technology Zone at Sight Village Birmingham 2014

     

  • Coming Soon: Mobile Touch Map for the Blind, from VOICEYE

    Korean based software developer Voiceye have recently announced a revolutionary new feature for their Voiceye app for the iPhone and Android, Touch Map. Voiceye are renowned for their mobile phone application, also called Voiceye, which enables users to create Accessible Paper for those with print and visual impairments.

    This new feature is an update to the Voiceye app, so it is entirely free, as is the Voiceye app! If you already have the Voiceye app, quite simply, once you apply the latest update to your App (which you may have already done) - a new feature will be added to the menu called ‘Touch Map’.

    So what is Touch Map?

    Essentially, Touch map displays a map on the screen of a smartphone which allows a blind or visually impaired user to navigate around the inside of the building without any need for extra assistance. This is how the map appears below:

    TouchMap_img

    Touch Map will do exactly the same job as a physical tactile map, but all through your smartphone, without the need to learn braille - and because it is free, it is a lot cheaper than a Tactile Map too!

    To see exactly how Touch Map work’s for a blind or visually impaired user you can watch this walkthrough video from Voiceye below:

    On the 17th of April we were invited to the 2015 ISBA Blind Football European Championships launch event at the Museum of Football in Manchester. In attendance were a number of members of the England blind football team, members of supporting organisations including the Paralympics Committee and the FA, and ex-professional England footballer, Danny Mills.

    IMG_2518 It was a great launch event with plenty of activities and exhibits on show, including a very large depiction of Robbie Savage’s face with a large hole where his mouth is. The aim of this activity, get the ball through the hole - blindfolded. It was a great way to help fully sighted people understand just how hard playing Blind Football really is.

    IMG_2513Pictured above are some of the England Blind Football team players and coaching staff.


    The ISBC Blind Football Championships 2015, are taking place at the Point4 at the Royal National College for the Blind in Hereford - on 22nd-29th of August. Early Bird tickets are available now for just £5, for more details please visit: http://www.rnc.ac.uk/blindeuros/.

  • Digital Accessibility - Still a way to go...

    Citizens Online are a national charity that was set up to tackle the issues of digital exclusion, to make sure that the Internet is available to everybody and to help individuals and communities understand and gain the benefits of being online.

     

    This week, Citizens Online has released new digital accessibility report. The report summarises the state of play regarding digital accessibility, looking at policy and standards as well as demographic and technological trends.

    Digital Accessibility is defined as the ability for all individuals to easily use information technology products and services regardless of any impairment. In other words, it means that disabled people can perceive, navigate, interact with and contribute to the Web, apps, software programs and documents such as e-books and PDFs.

     

    The full report and all of its findings can be found here: digital accessibility report. However, the four main findings of the report were:

    1. Progress is being made
    2. The majority of websites nonetheless fail to meet minimum requirements for accessibility
    3. Standards, guidelines, technologies and policies are well-established and available for use in North America and the EU
    4. The main barriers remaining are education and encouragement of developers and users, and enforcement of law and policy – currently very low.
  • Touching Words

    BY GUEST BLOGGER JACKIE BROWN

    For those wanting to use a good English dictionary that they can access in Braille and speech on a mobile device, then look no further.  At long last, the Collins English Dictionary and Thesaurus has arrived for the Hims BrailleSense products.

    Once installed on your note-taker, simply open the Collins and type in the word you want to search for.  You can select between the dictionary and thesaurus.  It is a simple to use application, and is very handy if you are a student, writer, or someone who loves playing spelling and word games.  Having the Collins on your Sense product wherever you go, without requiring an Internet connection to look up content, is very useful too.

    The Collins English Dictionary retails for £115 from Sight and Sound Technology Ltd, 01604 798070.  You will require your machine’s serial number and MAC address so the software can be assigned to your unit.  You will be Emailed a file containing the Collins, plus straightforward installation instructions that are easy to follow.

    This product does exactly what it says on the tin, and is a welcome addition to the Hims range of note-takers.  It also comes in additional languages.

  • Get the most from your Sapphire handheld magnifier

    In this video we look at the Sapphire handheld video magnifier and how this product could make the difference for you.

    http://youtu.be/UJsb0dGAoSA

    To find out more please visit the Sapphire product page at the following link: http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/shop/products.php?product=SAPPHIRE--Portable-Video-Magnifier

  • YesterdaysWishes: Voiceye Review

    As part of her 'Blind Life Hacks' series, Youtube star 'YesterdaysWishes' has reviewed the Voiceye Accesible Print software available from Sight & Sound Technology. You can hear what she thought of the product and how it can be used in the video below.

    http://youtu.be/Ecu2mNI_owU

    To find out more about this product please visit the product page at the following link: http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/shop/categories.php?category=Voiceye-Accessible-Print

  • Valued Partner of the Year Award

    We have exciting news!

    We are very proud to announce that Sight and Sound Technology has been awarded the very first Valued Partner of the Year Award to be given by HIMS (Human Information Management Systems).
    partner of the year

     

    2015 is HIMS 16th year in business and Sight & Sound Technology have been working with them as the UK distributor for their range of products which support the blind and visually impaired.

     

    It was great to be acknowledged by HIMS with this award and at the heart of our successful partnership is that both HIMS and Sight & Sound are passionate about making a difference to the lives of those who are blind and visually impaired.

     

    We look forward to continuing our working relationship with HIMS into 2015 and beyond as we continue to offer the highest quality products to our customers throughout the UK.

  • Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind

    Sight and Sound work in unison with private individuals, charities, educational establishments and commercial enterprises. Our products are designed to improve quality of life at work, during study and at home.

    len

    One of our sales team called in to see Sheffield Royal Society for the Blind (SRSB) last week to hand over some demonstration equipment to Mobile Information Officer Liz Bowman.

    SRSB have recently invested in a brand new mobile Information Unit, and our equipment will help to find the best solutions which make a difference to the lives of individuals who are either blind or partially sighted.

    Sight & Sound have donated a laptop computer with access technology software as well as a Ruby portable electronic magnifier. We were delighted to be able to support SRSB and their brand new information unit for blind and visually impaired people, which will enable them to demonstrate the type of technology that Sight and Sound provide.

  • Attention all JAWS users! Get to know your keystrokes…

    A ‘keystroke’ is a combination of keys that you press on your computer keyboard to use different functions. The large numbers of keystrokes are what makes JAWS such a user-friendly piece of screen reading software.

    If you are already a JAWS user you probably already have a list of the keystrokes which you use on a regular basis. The following are some of the most commonly used JAWS keystrokes for use on the internet:

    1. Back a page: ALT+LEFT ARROW or BACKSPACE
    2. Forward a page: ALT+RIGHT ARROW
    3. Go to homepage: ALT+HOME
    4. Refresh page and cache: F5
    5. List of links on a particular webpage that you’re on: INSERT + F7
    6. List headings on webpage: INSERT + F6
    7. List all Form fields (things you can fill in): INSERT + F5
    8. Move to address bar: ALT + D
    9. Read address bar: INSERT + A
    10. Insert placemarker: CTRL + SHIFT + K
    11. Move to next placemarker (area that you can mark a link, graphic or piece of text that you can then move to quickly): K
    12. Move to the next table: T
    13. List all the tables on the webpage: CTRL + INSERT + T
    14. List all edit boxes on a webpage: CTRL + INSERT + E

    While the above are likely to be keystrokes you are already familiar with, we want to make sure that you are using keystrokes to their full potential.

    That’s why we have put together the below list of some lesser known keystrokes, which should help to enhance the usability of JAWS even further when it comes to navigating around your computer.

    • INSERT+TAB: To repeat information about where you currently are
    • Insert+F12: Press once to read the time, and twice to read the date
    • INSERT+5: Reads the colour of the text and background
    • INSERT+2: Switches JAWS to read by character, word, both and none
    • INSERT+1: Turn on/off JAWS keyboard help (which is used to find out what keys do without carrying out the action)
    • INSERT+6: To bring up JAWS setting centre for your current application

    --

    To find out more about JAWS and what it can offer you, please visit the product page by clicking the following link: http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/shop/categories.php?category=Screen-Readers/JAWS-for-Windows

  • Get the most out of your ONYX

    In this video we find out more about the ONYX camera and a portable monitor – how to get the most out of this product and everything that it can offer users.

    To find out more, please visit http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/shop/products.php?product=ONYX-Deskset-HD

     

  • How to register as blind or visually impaired

    Here at Sight and Sound we are committed to finding the best solutions which make a difference to the lives of individuals who are either blind or visually impaired.

    In addition to the tailored products and training which we provide our customers, we are constantly striving to provide guidance and support which can add value to our customers. One of the things we are often asked is how to go about registering as a person that is blind or partially sighted.

    Registering as blind or visually impaired can open up a number of benefits which you will be entitled to, including:

    • Blind person’s personal income tax allowance
    • Reduction of 50% on your television license fee
    • Car parking schemes, such as the blue badge scheme which can be used in any vehicle that you are travelling in
    • Free loan of radio, CD players and CDs
    • Free postage on articles marked as “articles for the blind”

    That is why we have put together this short guide to give you five simple steps to register as blind or partially sighted.

    Step 1

    To register for either, you can choose to register with either your eye consultant or your GP. The reason you must go to an eye specialist is because first of all an ophthalmologist must certify that your eyesight cannot be improved medically (through glasses, surgery etc). The registration is entirely confidential.

    Step 2

    Your doctor will confirm which level of registration applies to you. There are two levels of registration:

    • Severely sight impaired (blind)
    • Sight impaired (partially sighted)

    Step 3

    The eye specialist will then send copies of your certificate to your doctor and your local social services operations.

    Step 4

    You’ll receive this letter in the post, but please note this is not the final step to becoming registered as blind or partially sighted.

    Step 5

    You must then confirm that you wish to be included on the register of blind and partially sighted. It is after you confirm, at this point, that you are registered.

    --

    If you would like more information on any of the issues raised in this blog then please get in touch and you might also be interested in our blog 10 things to know about losing my sight.

     

     

  • Sight and Sound Customer Story Mr. and Mrs. Sibley

    Mr and Mrs Sibley talk about how Sight and Sound have supported them throughout the last 18 years, and how the guidance made an impact on her life for the better.

    http://youtu.be/S80z-8rZyKE

     

     

  • Get the most out of PEARL

    In this video we find out more about the PEARL scan and read solution, along with OpenBook - how to get the most out of this product and everything that it can offer users.

    To find out more, please visit http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/p/pearl/

    http://youtu.be/MhRCzgWV-rI

  • Sight Village London Competition Winner

    A huge congratulations goes to Sarah, of South London, winner of the prize draw competition which we were running at Sight Village London.

    competition

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Throughout the day we were inviting visitors to enter our prize draw and Sarah’s name was drawn at random shortly after the event. With the choice of a number of prizes available, Sarah has chosen a copy of Kurzweil 3000 as her prize.

    Kurzweil 3000 is award-winning educational software designed to provide literacy support in the classroom, at home, or in the workplace.

    Sarah said in response to winning the competition, “Excellent news! Thank you so much, I am very excited to receive this prize and find out how it can assist me in my daily life. I'm really looking forward to seeing what will be possible for me with this program to further my independence”

    We would like to say a big thank you to everyone who visited the stand during Sight Village London, it was great to meet so many of you and have the opportunity to discuss our products. And congratulations once again to Sarah, our competition winner!

    To find out more about Sight and Sound Technology products, please visit here: http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/shop/index.php

  • Customer Story - Mr Casling "I cannot praise Sight & Sound enough"

    Customer Testimonial
    Mr Dennis Casling

    As the UK’s leading provider of hardware and software to the blind and partially sighted, at Sight and Sound Technology we pride ourselves on working with our customers all of the way, from initial assistance right through to lifetime support.

    We are passionate about the levels of service we provide our customers, so we were particularly excited when Mr Dennis Casling contacted us to share some praise he wished to pass on to a member of our team for some outstanding customer service he had received.

    Mr Casling explained, “James Butler set up my computer. My old computer was falling apart, so James set up the new system in a way that was very accessible for me as a visually impaired user. Since then I’ve been back to them on several occasions either to solve issues that I have come across by using the new Microsoft Word, or around my emails, or to help me pick up my scanner.  And they are just extraordinarily good, efficient, to the point…marvellous! I cannot praise them enough!”

    We are committed to making the difference to our customers through knowledge, care and understanding, so to receive Mr Casling’s feedback was fantastic because it demonstrates that Sight and Sound Technology, our products and our people are having a positive impact on our customers’ lives, something which as a team we all strive to achieve.

  • Customer Story: Mohammed Rashid

    We spoke to Mohammed Rashid – a user of JAWS, Open Book and Braille Sense.

    Mohammed explained to us how he uses these products, how they make the difference to him in his everyday life and why Sight and Sound products are a “lifeline”.

    http://youtu.be/6LmzfcuzpCM

  • How this newsreader used JAWS

    Here is a fascinating interview from BBC Radio 5 Live in which a radio newsreader from Australia explains how she uses technology - including JAWS - to help her read the news.

     

    To find out more about JAWS, please visit here http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/search/?s=jaws&x=0&y=0

  • Get the most out of MAGic screen magnification

    In this video we take a look at the screen magnification software MAGic, what it can do and how you can get the most from everything this product has to offer.

    To find out more about our range of MAGic products please visit http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/shop/categories.php?category=Screen-Magnification/MAGic-Screen-Magnification

    http://youtu.be/VzWxLrb5C9k

  • Windows navigation and AfterShokz headphones

    At Sight & Sound we are passionate about innovative technology and solutions which can make the difference for the blind and partially sighted.

    So we were excited to read about the technology being developed between Microsoft and Guide Dogs that is designed to help the blind and partially sighted, navigate cities easier and safer. The technology relays navigation information to a user's Windows Phone, which then provides audio cues about their surroundings via a headset.

    Integral to this technology are the AfterShokz bone conduction headphones, which Sight & Sound are the distributor for in the UK.  These headphones are 'open ear' headphones - they hook above the ears and relay sound via the jawbone to the inner ear where the vibrations are interpreted as sound. The headphones mean the wearer can receive audio from a device whilst also being able to clearly hear the sounds from the environment they are in.

    A picture of bone conductive headphones

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    To find out more or to place an order for bone conduction headphones please visit our website at the following link: http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/shop/products.php?product=Aftershokz-Bluez-Bluetooth-Bone-Conductive-Headphones

  • 10 things I like about my U2 Mini

    BY GUEST BLOGGER JACKIE BROWN.

    The U2 Mini is so much more than just a note-taking device with 18 Braille cells.  In the few months I have had it, the Mini has become an integral part of my daily life, so I would like to share with you 10 of my favourite features.

    1.  Light, compact and fast - I fly to Scotland frequently from where I live in Northern Ireland, and find the Mini small and neat to carry in my hand-luggage.  And while waiting at the airport, I am able to delve into its many features to pass away the time.

    2.  Connectivity - using WiFi on the go is now essential, and the Mini is prompt at connecting within seconds of being turned on.  Similarly, I use Bluetooth to pair the Mini with my iPhone so that I have Braille at my fingertips whenever I want it for reading books or writing text messages.

    3.  Media Player - with 32gb of on-board storage, and the ability to use an SD card, I am also able to turn my Mini into a great music player that supports several file formats.

    4.  Epub files - the Mini supports this file format, which gives me access to titles I cannot open on my PC without additional software being installed to read them.

    5.  Email - when my PC is turned off for the evening, and I am relaxing in front of the TV, I can sit with the Mini on my lap responding to any Emails.  Similarly, when I am away from home, I can access my Email accounts using the Mini without being tied to a computer.

    6.  RSS Reader - if you are like me and love a variety of news and other information to be delivered when it becomes available, then this is possible to achieve on the Mini.  I browse on the device for the RSS feed of my choice and subscribe to it.

    7.  Excel Viewer - this is a very useful tool when I have an Excel spreadsheet I want to study as the Mini makes it possible for me to open and read such files.  This is a worthy function not available on other note-takers.

    8.  YouTube - a simplistic way to listen to a favourite clip or old programme.  I can open the application and search for what I am looking for.  Video content is stripped, leaving me with the audio that is streamed steadily to the unit.

    9.  DAISY - I can copy Talking Books onto the Mini and navigate within them to give me the full DAISY experience.

    10  Twitter - saving my favourite feature till last, this simple client is really great.  I can reply to, forward, search for and save tweets, as well as send Direct Messages, or click on links within posts.

    All in all, a great little box of tricks that costs £2,895, sold by RNIB and Sight and Sound Technology.

    --

    With thanks to Jackie Brown.
    To find out more about the U2 mini please visit our product page.

  • Making the difference for the Braille Guild

    We spoke to Freda, June and May from the Braille Guild to find out how Sight & Sound Technology and the Index Braille Embosser has made the difference for the Braille Guild when it comes to producing children's story books and much more.

    http://youtu.be/f4yE_g6iWtQ

  • Get the most out of Zoom Text

    A short instructional video showing you how to get the most from Zoom Text - an advanced screen magnification program making your computer easier to see and use.

    http://youtu.be/2H5sPH1bVdY

    Click here to sign up for Sight Village London as an exclusive Sight and Sound VIP, or call us on 01604 798070

  • The winner of the Sight Village Leeds Prize Draw!

     

    At each of the Sight Village events we hold a special prize draw for all attendees who sign up. Simply by entering a few details on a slip of card and putting into the competition box could put you in line for an amazing free prize!

    The winner is granted a choice of any one of the 5 prizes on offer (pictured below). A free upgrade for JAWS, Magic, Zoomtext, or Kurzweil 1000 or a Ruby handheld electronic magnifier!

    competition

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Our winner from Sight Village Leeds in September was Joan Staves from Yorkshire. Joan was delighted to hear about winning the prize draw, and chose the Ruby handheld magnifier as her prize.

    The next, free to enter, prize draw will be taking place at Sight Village London in November! You can register as a Sight and Sound special guest below - or call us on 10604 798070.

    Click here to sign up for Sight Village London as an exclusive Sight and Sound VIP, or call us on 01604 798070

     

     

     

     

     

  • Computers and Laptops for the Blind and Visually Impaired

     

    Losing your sight or a severe decrease in the quality of your sight does not mean the use of computers and laptops is out of the question. In fact technology has made some fantastic leaps forward over the past 10 years providing us with intelligent software, specifically designed to facilitate the use of computers and laptops for the blind and partially sighted.

    As a company we are passionate about everything technological for the blind and partially sighted. That’s why we have created this useful guide to give you some valuable information to consider when buying a computer or laptop.

     

    What now?

    To begin with you will need to establish how strong your sight is.

    -          If you can read what is on the computer screen, but in order to do so you need to get very close or view one thing at a time in isolation. Or perhaps the clarity on the screen is not there for you, which could be down to the colour of the text.

    -          It may be that with some adjustment to the setting within the Windows operating system that this will be enough magnification to meet with your needs, however if this is not the case.

    -          Then Screen Magnifying software is what you would need for your computer or laptop, this will also give you the option to change the text colour, foreground and background colour of web pages and the like to assist you in the use of the PC.

    -          If in fact you cannot make out anything on the computer screen clearly whatsoever, with or without magnification – then Screen Reading software is what you would require for your computer or laptop.

     

    What is best for you?

    Screen Readers

    Screen Reading software is for those with very little or no sight. Essentially the software works audibly, a synthesised voice will read out anything which the computer user navigates to on the screen, so instead of seeing where they are on a screen, the user can hear where they are. Naturally with all screen readers some training is needed before hand to learn how to interact with the software – this would involve learning a number of different commands or keyboard shortcuts.

     

    We would recommend the most popular screen reading software, JAWS. You can get a demo version of JAWS to try it for yourself by giving us a call on 01604 798070.

     

    Screen Magnifiers

    Screen Magnification software, as previously mentioned, is for those with some useable sight. The software will magnify everything on the screen of the computer or laptop to a size of the users choosing – whilst ensuring the quality of the magnified text or image is not compromised. Many screen magnifiers also have options to alter the colour of the mouse pointer and screen colours, allowing you to choose the screen to be displayed in the colours which are the easiest for you to see.

     

    The market leading Screen Magnification software is ZoomText from AI Squared, and this is what we would recommend. Once again, a trial version of the software is available if you would like to test this software out. Please either give us a call on 01604 798070 or visit the website to download here: http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/shop/products.php?product=ZoomText-Free-Trial-Software

     

    The Full Package

    Here at Sight and Sound, we are not only able to offer you the Screen Reading and Screen Magnifying software but also the entire computer system and training as well. We are one of the only companies in the UK which is able to offer such a complete service for the blind and partially sighted.

     1. All you would need to do is start by telling us if you would like to purchase a desktop computer (something a bit more permanent that stays in one place), or a laptop computer (a completely portable computer).

    2. From there we will guide you through the different options of computers and discuss which software options would be best for you and your level of sight.

    3. Once we are certain that you have all of the specialist assistive software and hardware you need with your computer – we will then go about installing all of it onto the computer for you so that when your computer system is delivered all you need to do is plug it in and turn it on.

    4. Finally, we have our own team of highly experienced trainers. The trainers can either come to your house and train you there, meet you at a local place of your choosing, or provide training online through the use of the internet.

    5. Once you feel confident enough to go alone, we will leave you to it. Although if you ever run into any problems, we are the only UK supplier to offer a free telephone support service to all of our customers – so help and assistance is always just one call away.

    If you would like to arrange a demo in any of the aforementioned software or computers systems then you have a couple of options at your disposal.

    Either give us a call on 01604 798070, or get in contact.

    Visit us at one of our many exhibitions we hold all over the country (the details of which can be viewed here: http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/p/category/events/)

     

  • Get the most out of your Topaz...

    A short instructional video which aims to show you all the features and benefits of the Topaz, the market leading electronic desktop magnifier for the blind and partially sighted.

     

    Click here to sign up for Sight Village London as an exclusive Sight and Sound VIP, or call us on 01604 798070

  • 10 Sports for the Blind and Partially Sighted

    Being diagnosed as blind or partially sighted does not mean that you have to give up on your favourite sports, or sports altogether. In fact there are many sports which have been adapted for those who are blind or partially sighted, as well as entirely new sports only open to people with a sight condition. With that in mind we have put together a short list of 10 potential sports available to the blind and partially sighted, as well as all the details of how and where to get involved:

    1. Football: Football is still fully accessible and there are many sports clubs and schools all over the country who field competitive teams. Brought to the fore quite recently by the London 2012 Paralympic Games. It can be played either indoors or outdoors, using an audible ball and standard five-a-side goals. British Blind Sport (BBS) organises national competitions for both partially sighted and totally blind teams.

     

    British Blind Sport (BBS)

    Contact: George Ferguson

    T: 01926 424247

    www.britishblindsport.org.uk

    sportdevelopment@britishblindsport.org.uk

     

    2. Golf: Golfing for the blind and partially sighted has been one of the more popular sports over recent years. Sight and Sound even sponsored the Blind Golf Championships in 2010. The same equipment is used and the rules are almost entirely the same. All blind golfers are assisted by a sighted guide who ensures the club head is correctly positioned behind the ball, provides a description of the hole and the distance to hit the shot. The handicapping system for blind golfers also allows for full competition between blind and sighted golfers. There are 3 separate organisations who organise golf for the blind and partially sighted:

     

    The England and Wales Blind Golf Association

    t: 02476 414166

    www.blindgolf.co.uk

    enquiries.blindgolf@gmail.com

     

    Scottish Blind Golf Society

    5 The Round, Dunfermline, Fife, KY12 7YH

    Contact: Robin Clayden

    t: 01383 737 717

    www.scottishblindgolf.com

    robin@scottishblindgolf.com

     

    Northern Ireland Blind Golf Association

    Michael Gardner (NIBG Secretary)

    t: 028 9065 8593

    www.nibg.co.uk

    michaeljgardner@hotmail.com

     

    3. Tandem Cycling: Tandem cycling has also been rapidly increasing in popularity following the home nation’s success in the Commonwealth Games this year and can be pursued recreationally or as a competitive sport. There are a number of clubs and organisations in the UK for blind and partially sighted people. The best port of call is the Tandem Club who would be able to introduce you to contacts at a local level:

     

    The Tandem Club

    Contact: Peter Hallowell (Disabilities Liaison Officer))

    www.tandem-club.org.uk

    disabilities@tandem-club.org.uk

     

    4. Table Tennis: Table Tennis has been described as one of the easier sports to adapt to following a loss in sight. For many partially sighted people, table tennis can be played without any need for specialist equipment or modification to the rules. To find out more:

     

    British Table Tennis Association for the Disabled

    Contact through the website at www.bttad.org

     

    5. Swimming: Many swimming pools welcome swimmers with sight loss during public sessions, and will also provide special sessions for organised groups. As swimming for the blind and partially sighted becomes more and more popular there are an increasing number of regional, national and international competitions held every year. British Blind Sport (BBS) hold a swimming gala annually In Worcester for people of all ages. The Amatuer Swimming Association is the best port of call for those looking to get involved for the first time:

     

    Amateur Swimming Association

    Sport Park, 3 Oakwood Drive, Loughborough, Leicestershire, LE11 3QF

    t: 01509 618 700

    www.swimming.org

    customerservices@swimming.org

     

    6. Polybat: This is a sport designed specifically for totally blind people and is quite similar to Table Tennis. Polybat uses a rectangular table with raised edges and a wooden bridge stretching across the centre, from side to side, with enough room for the ball (small, with plastic beads inside) to pass underneath. Bats are square pieces of wood with a handle extension and the ball is struck from end to end, each player trying to defend their own sunken goal and score points by dropping their ball into the opponent’s.

     

    Overall it can be a fast and exciting game, played as singled or doubles, for fun or competitively. For more information get in contact with:

     

    English Table Tennis Association

    Norfolk House, 88 Saxon Gate West, Milton Keynes, Bucks, MK9 2DL

    t: 01908 208860

    www.etta.co.uk

    judy.rogers@tabletennisengland.co.uk

     

     7. Rowing: Rowing is a fantastic sport which can be enjoyed by the sighted, partially sighted, and blind alike – without any need for any specialist rules or equipment. There needs to be only one sighted person in the team and that is the cox. Rowing is one of the few sports in which people with sight loss can compete with sighted people on equal terms.

     

    British Rowing

    6 Lower Mall, Hammersmith, London, W6 9DJ

    t: 020 8237 6700

    www.britishrowing.org

    info@britishrowing.org

     

    8. Goalball: Goalball is another game designed specifically with the blind and partially sighted in mind and over recent years has been growing hugely in popularity with both men’s and women’s annual national competitions and involvement at international and Paralympic level.

    The game is played indoors on a rectangular “pitch” that has dimensions corresponding to a volleyball court. The goal posts are positioned on each team's base line; a heavy audible ball is used. Each team has three players who alternately throw the ball along the floor with the aim of getting it across the opponents' goal line. The defending team tries to prevent this by diving across and behind the ball. In competitions, all players must wear eyeshades that are impervious to light.

     

    Goalball UK

    t: 0114 223 5670

    enquiries@goalballuk.com

     

    9. Archery: This is another sport which has been successfully adapted for the blind and partially sighted audience. The equipment required is the same for fully sighted archers but there are a number of extra aids available if necessary. These vary but those commonly used are a block and board for positioning the feet and a vertical stand which grips an adjustable horizontal point of flexible material, for example, paint brush bristles for guiding the position of the hand of the forward aiming arm. Electronic aiming aids have also been developed but are yet to be adopted extensively.

     

    British Blind Sport Archery

    Contact: Peter Price (Secretary)

    www.bbsarchery.org.uk

    secretary@bbsarchery.org.uk

     

    Archery GB

    Lilleshall National Sports Centre, Newport, Shropshire, TF10 9AT

    t: 01952 677888

    www.archerygb.org

    enquiries@archerygb.org

     

    10.Mountaineering: Rock climbing and mountaineering are very physically demanded sports and are quite the step up from rambling, however there are some less challenging routes in the UK. A number of blind and partially sighted people take part in this sport with the help of sighted instructors and leaders. The Milton Mountaineers is a charity that specifically caters for visually impaired people from all over the UK and organises a yearly mountaineering expedition.

     

    Milton Mountaineers

    Contact: David Carrington-Porter

    5 Shelwick Grove, Dorridge, Solihull, B93 8UH

    t: 01564 779 233

    Mobile: 07814 844 227

     

    There are of course a vast range of sports for the blind and partially sighted other than the 10 listed above, everything from Cricket to Water Skiing. In order to find out more the best port of call is British Blind Sport, please find their details below:

     

    British Blind Sport (BBS)

    Contact: George Ferguson

    T: 01926 424247

    www.britishblindsport.org.uk

    sportdevelopment@britishblindsport.org.uk

    Click here to sign up for Sight Village London as an exclusive Sight and Sound VIP, or call us on 01604 798070

  • How JAWS and Sight and Sound Made the Difference to Me...

    We went and spoke to Marcia Holder to find out just how screen reading software JAWS and support and training from Sight and Sound, made the difference in her life for the better.

    Sight and Sound Technology: Making the difference through knowledge, care and understanding.

    To find out more about JAWS please visit our online store here: http://www.sightandsound.co.uk/shop/index.php

    Click here to sign up for Sight Village London as an exclusive Sight and Sound VIP, or call us on 01604 798070

  • Get the most out of your Ruby HD...

    Do not forget to sign up to become a Sight and Sound VIP at the upcoming Sight Village London. 

    Click here to sign up for Sight Village London as an exclusive Sight and Sound VIP, or call us on 01604 798070

  • The Blind Orchestra

    Have you ever heard or seen a blind orchestra?  The Inner Vision Orchestra are a group of blind and partially sighted musicians from all over the world who make up Britain's only blind orchestra.

    Watch the trailer (with audio description) below. Meet the cast and read more about these musicians who are celebrating the power of music to transform lives by visiting their website (link to Inner Vision Film website).  Audio description will help people with sight loss access the finished film.

    Blind Orchestra Link to Trailer with Audio Description

     

    Click here to sign up for Sight Village London as an exclusive Sight and Sound VIP, or call us on 01604 798070

  • 10 things I need to know about losing my sight

    Finding out that you are losing your sight can be a challenging and uncertain time. However there is a lot of support and advice available which is why we have put together a short list of ten different notes for those who are losing their sight, which could be useful or encouraging to know. At Sight and Sound we embody the responsibility this industry demands, aiming to help make a difference to our customer’s lives, through a combination of knowledge, care and understanding.

    1. What support groups are available for people with sight loss?

    There are a large number of different types of support groups available to people who are blind or visually impaired across the UK. The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) is the UK’s leading organisation for blind and visually impaired people – they have one aim, and that is to be there for everyone affected by sight loss (either directly or indirectly).

    There are also more specialist societies and charities such as Blind Children UK, Action for Blind People, the Macular Disease Society (MDS) and Sign Health (a healthcare charity for blind-deaf people).

     2. What can I get to help with my sight loss?

    Although it depends on the individual and their diagnosis whether there are any forms of medication which can treat sight loss – there is an extensive range of technology available which can help make those things that have become more difficult since sight loss has set in, become easier once again.

    3. Registering for Sight Loss

    Registration is entirely voluntary and confidential – even if you chose not to register it will not bar you from receiving help from social services. In order to register you would need to visit your ophthalmologist who will certify you as either severely sight impaired (blind) or sight impaired (partially sighted).

    You may be asking, why would I want to go to the trouble of registering my sight loss? Well there are some very significant advantages to be gained: There are a range of concessions available to help make life more affordable. In addition to this you may be entitled to some particular welfare benefits.

    If you have any questions whatsoever about certification or registration we would recommend calling the RNIB helpline on 0303 123 9999 or email helpline@rnib.org.uk.

    4. Do I need to notify my employer?

    It is important to notify your employer upon being diagnosed with any form of sight loss, although it depends on the job you are doing, for the most part the technology available today enables those who are blind or partially sighted to continue work as normal. Although you are not legally obliged to inform your employer – it is your choice. Additionally, you are protected by the Equality Act which protects you from different kinds of discrimination in the workplace.

    A fantastic tool for those who have questions about starting, or staying in work, following a diagnosis of sight loss is the Staying in work checklist.

    5. Are there schemes or support that exists to help me stay in employment or find employment?

    There is a range of support available, such as Access to Work - a scheme designed to provide advice and practical support, such as help in funding equipment, to people with any disability.

    There are also more specialist schemes available such as Work Choice and Work Programme – government run initiatives which help people prepare for, find, and stay in work.  For more information on all the government support that is available to you in relation to employment please visit the specially designed RNIB page: http://www.rnib.org.uk/information-everyday-living-work-and-employment-practical-support/government-support.

     6. What sporting and recreational activities are available?

    British Blind Sport governs most blind sport competition from local to international level and are the best point of contact to find out what is going on in your area. There are all sorts of sports available to blind and partially sighted people such as football, cricket, golf (via the English Blind Golf Association), and cycling – through to sports specifically designed for and played by blind and visually impaired people, such as Goalball.

    There are also a wide range of recreational activities available such as photography, music, pottery and crafts, drama and dance.

    7. How can I help make a difference?

    Everyday thousands of people across the UK are campaigning for local, national and international change. The RNIB has a network of over 5,000 campaign supporters across the UK – in order to get in contact with your local campaign officer and find out how you can make a difference for people with sight loss please visit this web page: http://www.rnib.org.uk/campaigning/campaign-your-area .

     8. How can I maintain my independence?

    Maintaining independence is at the forefront of the thoughts of many with sight loss. And here at Sight and Sound the preservation of your independence is the principle concept behind everything we do.

    As previously mentioned, we have an extensive range of solutions designed specifically to maintain independence, as well as a fantastic team of trainers, and an unmatched technical support team in the UK.

     9. Looking after your eyes moving forward…

    Regular visits to your optometrist (optician) are the best way to make sure your eyes are healthy. Although some sight-threatening conditions, such as Glaucoma, have no symptoms prior to sight loss, the majority of sight-threatening conditions do.

    The RNIB suggests 5 steps to ensure your eyes are healthy and you are at little risk of developing an eye condition:

    • 1. Regular eye tests - as suggested above, regular visits to your optometrist.
    • 2. Stop smoking – Smoking can double the risk of developing age-related macular degeneration, the UK’s leading cause of sight loss.
    • 3. Eat healthily and watch your weight – A well balanced diet can help delay the progression of cataracts or AMD. Whereas avoiding obesity can reduce the risk of developing diabetes, which can cause sight loss.
    • 4. Keep your eyes covered in the sun – UVA and UVB rays in sunlight can harm your eyes and can increase the risk of cataracts or AMD. Sunglasses, contact lenses with a UV filter or a sun shield are recommended by the RNIB.
    • 5. Safety first – DIY causes thousands of eye related injuries each year. Investing in protective goggles for these sorts of activities and also for certain sports is recommended in order to reduce that risk.

     10. Are there any events held specifically for people with sight loss?

    Sight Village is the biggest UK based event designed specifically for people with sight loss. Sight Village is held at 5 locations each year – Birmingham, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Leeds, and London.

    • Many exhibitors from around the world take part in showcasing their products and services.
    • Thousands of people attend each event throughout the year, and entry is completely free, guide dogs are also welcome.
    • Sight and Sound will be exhibiting at Sight Village London, which is next on the calendar on November 4th at Kensington Town Hall, London.

    Click here to sign up for Sight Village London as an exclusive Sight and Sound VIP, or call us on 01604 798070

     

  • Luke Hawes, raising money for Cancer Research UK

    One of Sight and Sound’s newest employees, Luke Hawes, has had all the hair on his head shaved off in order to raise money for Cancer Research UK. Luke, who works in the Workshop as a Workshop Engineer Apprentice has only been with the business for 6 weeks but has really taken to the Sight and Sound ethos, involving everyone in the business,  as well as his friends and family, in raising money for a good cause.  So far Luke has managed to raise over £240.00 for this fantastic cause. Congratulations Luke!

    Luke

  • Case Study - Michael and Daniel Smith 'Inspirational, identical twins'

    We spoke to a variety of our customers to see how Sight and Sound’s products helped make the difference in their lives. In this edition we focus on identical twins Daniel and Michael Smith, who within a year of each other were both diagnosed with Leber's Optic Neuropathy. Specialised technology such as the Topaz desktop screen magnifier and the portable Pearl scan and read camera were provided in order to help them finish their studies and ultimately enter the workplace.

    Michael and Daniel also took part in a Sight and Sound sponsored charity tandem bike ride to raise money for Blind in Business, you can read that full article here: Visually impaired twins cycle tandem towards their future.

    Click on the image of Michael and Daniel below, or the link beneath that, to discover the entire case study:

    Case Study - Twins

    02794 SAS Case Study Template_17_Twins

  • Case Study - Nicola King 'An entirely bespoke solution'

    We spoke to a variety of our customers to see how Sight and Sound’s products helped make the difference in their lives. In this edition we focus on Litigation Officer Nicola King, who needed to make the transition from Zoom Text screen magnifying software to Jaws screen reading software, following the complete loss of her sight. This proved to be an entirely bespoke solution due to the specialised systems Nicola had to use in her everyday work - with the selection of the product best suited for her needs and some very specialised training Sight and Sound made the difference.

    Click on the image of Nicola below, or the link beneath that, to discover the entire case study:

    Case Study - Nicola

    02794 SAS Case Study Template_17_Nicola

  • Case Study - Ian Ketteringham: 'Without Jaws, I wouldn't have this job'

    We spoke to a variety of our customers to see how Sight and Sound’s products helped make the difference in their lives. In this edition we focus on Ian Ketteringham and how screen reading software, Jaws, makes such a huge difference to him in his every day working life. Ian was diagnosed with Leber's Hereditary Optic Neuropathy, however Ian soon discovered that with the right technology and support at his disposal he was able to lead a fully independent life once again.

    Click on the image of Ian below, or the link beneath that, to discover the entire case study:

    Case Study - Ian

    small SAS Case Study Template_17_Ian

  • Case Study - Jilly Goddard: 'Good training and good products were my enabler'

    We spoke to a variety of our customers to see how Sight and Sound's products helped make the difference in their lives. In this edition we focus on Jilly Goddard and specifically how a combination of the right product (voice to text software) and a thorough training program enabled Jilly to excel in her role as a Coordinator of Individual Learning, at a secondary school in Twickenham.

    Click on the image of Jilly below, or the link beneath that, to discover the entire case study:

    Case Study - Gilly Goddard

    02794 SAS Case Study Template_17_Gill

  • Welcome to the all-new Sight and Sound Blog!

    Sight and Sound Technology have launched a brand new blog that will look to provide useful and involving content for the blind and visually impaired.

    Each week we will have a couple of new updates for you covering all sorts of industry views, news, and product reviews.

    Although this blog is new, one thing that will never get old is our commitment to making a difference through knowledge, care, and understanding.

    Watch this space.

    Blind person navigating path with white cane

     

  • Experience the redesigned TOPAZ 22 inch Desktop Video Magnifier

    For a limited time only and whilst stocks last, the TOPAZ 22 inch desktop video magnifier is now at a promotional price of £999.99 (excluding delivery and VAT, if applicable).

    Shop Now

    The TOPAZ XL is designed to provide the clearest, true-colour magnification possible for reading, making out cheques, writing letters and working on crafts and hobbies, while bringing the utmost efficiency when working with documents and a computer.

    • Comes with a 22-inch LCD flat panel monitor
    • Clear, vivid image
    • Ergonomic design with easy-to-use controls
    • Directed LED lighting for a bright work surface without glare
    • 8.25 inches of workspace under the camera
    • Extra large reading table for newspapers, oversized books, and handcrafts
  • Important Announcement from Ai Squared

    ZoomText 10.1 / Windows 8.1 Compatibility

    Microsoft will be releasing the Windows 8.1 update tomorrow (Thursday, 17th October). The current release of ZoomText 10.1 is not compatible with Windows 8.1 and will cause severe problems, rendering your system unusable and challenging to resolve. Therefore...

    • Do not install the current release of ZoomText 10.1 in Windows 8.1.
    • If you already have a Windows 8 system with ZoomText 10.1 installed, do not update your system to Windows 8.1 without first uninstalling ZoomText 10.1.

    Fortunately, Windows 8.1 is not an automatic update. You have to go into the Microsoft Store, search for it, and download it so this won't just happen to you out of the blue.

    And there’s more good news. In the very near future, we will be releasing a ZoomText update that includes support for Windows 8.1. We will let you know just as soon as it's ready.

    If it's too late and you have already updated to Windows 8.1 with ZoomText 10.1 and encountered this problem, please read our knowledge base article for steps to resolve the problem, or contact our support team 01604 798070 option 3.

  • Blind Trio conquer highest mountain in Great Britain

    Sight and Sound Technology Three Peaks Challenge

    3 Peaks

    An incredible amount of team spirit, hard work and determination was behind the successful ascent of Scotland and England’s highest Peaks; Ben Nevis and Scafell Pike. Sadly we were forced to abandon the final leg (Snowdon) due to unexpected, atrocious and dangerous weather conditions.

    The 3 Peaks challenge ended earlier than expected when the weather closed in whilst we undertook the 2nd leg; the ascent of Scafell Pike in the Lake district. Driving rain and 70mph winds made Scafell almost impossible and on more than one occasion we were close to turning back. A number of the team were blown to the ground by the force of the wind and the horizontally driving rain reduced visibility to a few metres at times. The same weather system was over Snowdonia and together with the fact that our final peak ascent to Snowdon would be in darkness, the team decided that it would be too dangerous to be on the mountain in those weather conditions.

    Day 1 began well, the weather at Ben Nevis was good and the team reached the highest peak in Great Britain roughly on schedule after 3 ¼ hours. The descent was a different matter, darkness had fallen and the steep rough terrain made it hard for some of our visually impaired team members to see the paths. At times it took two people to guide. We made it down in 4 hours, two behind schedule but raring to go for the 2nd leg. By the time we arrived in Cumbria conditions had worsened and they continued to deteriorate as the team made the tricky ascent over loose shale and rock at the summit.

    It was still a massive challenge, great team bonding exercise and a tough test even for the experienced climbers in the team. Most importantly we raised almost £4000 for the Blind in Business charity and we all arrived back safe, if not a little disappointed that we could not complete the challenge. We plan to return to Snowdon as a team to finish the last leg as soon as we can get back together.

    Now time for some rest and muscle rejuvenation – Well done to all who took part, the drivers that clocked up over 1,000 miles and had hot meals at the ready after each descent and of course to all of those who have supported us with their good wishes and kind donations. There is still time to donate, just visit our Just Giving page.

  • Sight and Sound Technology celebrate BVCA Management Team Award

    BVCA Management Team Award

    Sight and Sound Technology was delighted to receive their BVCA Award for the ‘Venture Capital Backed Management Team of the Year’. The award was accepted after a wonderful evening at the award ceremony in Marriot Grosvenor Square Hotel in London on July 4th 2013. Recognising the positive impact that the company has had on the British and Global Economies, the award commends the achievements of the management teams and appreciates their creativity and leadership.

    Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology commented:

    “To even be shortlisted was exciting - winning it was another thing entirely, and the whole team at Sight and Sound Technology is immensely pleased with this recognition.”

    BVCA Management Team Award

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