New immersive VR technology lets you walk in shoes of people with sight loss Posted on 12th October 2023 A new virtual reality experience which simulates more than 30 eye conditions, providing a 360° immersive experience, has been launched on World Sight Day in Galway today. Empatheyes uses unique eye-tracking software to provide an accurate simulation of visual impairment, helping to increase understanding of what it means to live with low and no vision. Empatheyes, developed by parent-led charity AngelEyes in Northern Ireland, has been launched today by Sight and Sound Technology Ireland, as part of their nationwide Assistive Technology exhibition, the final leg of which took place in the Connacht Hotel today. The exhibition gave people who are blind or vision impaired, as well as anyone with reading or learning difficulties, the opportunity to learn about and try out a wide range of Assistive Technology (AT) solutions. Stuart Lawler, Head of Digital Content at Sight and Sound Technology Ireland: “As a blind person I am excited by the prospect of helping people to have a better understanding of what it means to live with low and no vision. There are such a wide range of applications for this truly immersive learning experience – from teachers working with young people who are blind or vision impaired, to family members who want to better understand what their loved one is experiencing, to employers and those who make decisions about our built environment and public spaces. Increasing our understanding helps us to find solutions and understand the ability, as well as the disability.” Sight and Sound Technology Ireland are delighted to partner with ChildVision to bring Empatheyes to Ireland’s National Service for Children and Young People with Sight Loss and Complex Needs. ChildVision will use this technology to enable potential partners to assimilate different visual impairments in a virtual world. Ruth Allen, Head of Development and Communications, ChildVision: “The emotional impact of losing your sight is incomprehensible. By demonstrating this to potential partners and donors we bring them one step closer to an appreciation for their own sight and an understanding of the daily challenges our young people face each day. Each young person at ChildVision has to develop resilience as part of their personality, from our tiny learners navigating their world to our eldest graduates trying to access the world of work, this technology will help us grow understanding for greater inclusion and build enduring support for our families.” ChildVision also joined Sight and Sound Technology Ireland national AT Roadshow this week in Dublin, Waterford, Cork and Galway, to outlined its services. The exhibitions offered solutions for people adapting to age-related reduced vision, those who want to learn about the latest in AI-powered Assistive Technology and students with dyslexia who want to get the most out of their school or college experience. Glenn Tookey, CEO of Sight and Sound Technology: “We are 40 years’ in business, providing solutions and lifelong support to people who are blind or vision impaired and people with reading and learning difficulties. The changes I’ve seen in Assistive Technology in that time are enormous. Now, with AI, we are able to bring people the most sophisticated solutions which offer incredible independence and choice. We are really pleased to add Empatheyes to our resources. I believe it will even help with the development of further assistive technology for people who are blind or vision impaired, as designers will have a better understanding of what people with various eye conditions experience.” Sight and Sound Technology Ireland will begin to roll out the technology to a wide variety of audiences to help increase awareness and understanding of living with sight loss. ENDS For further information contact Fionnuala Murphy, Sight and Sound Technology Ireland on 087 4116925 or email [email protected] Notes: Empatheyes is a VR experience which simulates various eye conditions and helps you to understand some of the daily challenges. More about Empatheyes: Visual impairment simulation software that provides a 360° immersive learning experience using Virtual Reality Simulates 30+ eye conditions and visual functions. Unique eye-tracking software to provide an immersive and accurate simulation of visual impairment. Multi-layered and multi-optional visual impairment functions that can be tuned for severity. Simulates a range of 6 virtual environments: classroom, park, bus, street, train and home. Designed and scientifically validated by world leading optometrists, researchers, and technologists.