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