AAL Smart Ageing Challenge Prize Finalists – SightPlus.
Innovation for visually impaired
UK company creates sight enhancement kit that allows partially sighted people to see again
Software for head-mounted wearables has the potential to transform the lives of millions of blind and visually impaired people across the world.
Nowadays, we are spoilt for choice with books, magazine, binge-worthy tv shows, and YouTube tutorials on how to do literally everything. This is our culture, so shouldn’t everyone have equal opportunity to access it?
UK Company GiveVision believes that they should. To help make this a reality they have created a sight enhancement kit called SightPlus. SightPlus is a wearable, hands-free, vision-enhancement application powering smart glasses to assist visually impaired people. The app enables partially sighted people to see again by combining real time video augmentation with a heads-up display technology to leverage the remaining vision of the sight impaired users. This allows them to see the faces of their loved ones, recognise signs and objects at a distance, watch TV and stay connected over the web. Its= also offers the ability to enlarge text and enhance the remaining sight of people with limited vision.
An important distinction from existing technologies is scalability. The technology works off any Android smartphone and doesn’t require manufacturing of specific hardware or unique parts. This means the price of the sight-aid tools can be reduced significantly, making the solution much more affordable than existing tools.
“At the heart of our solution is the principle of independence,” states the SightPlus website. “Our focus is on uncovering new ways to enable blind and visually impaired people to complete the daily tasks that most of us take for granted.
“We know that for people with visual impairments, the world can be a very limited place. We also know that it doesn’t have to be. Our mission is to develop and deliver technologies to those with varying levels of sight loss to help them to see the world as we do; full of innovation and potential.”
Now SightPlus has been shortlisted for the first ever Active and Assisted Living (AAL) Challenge Prize, which is awarding €50,000 for the best product or idea that uses internet connectivity and the Internet of Things (IoT) to empower older adults to achieve the quality of life to which they aspire, socially and independently.
15 entrants from a healthy total of 200 have now been shortlisted for the prize and these finalists will now attend a special Innovation Academy in Brussels in July, where their ideas will be further scrutinised by the judges and where they will also receive advice on how their ideas can be further commercialised for what is a massively growing market.
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Karin Weiss, Deputy Managing Director and Head of Grants at the AGE Foundation and one of the competition judges, said: “We were delighted by the variety of entries we received. We saw many interesting solutions and were particularly impressed by the approach taken to bridging the gap between the older and younger generations, as well as the approach to stabilising the quality of life at home for older people.
“The challenge now is to identify a winner that is exciting, commercially viable and close to the edge of the market,” she adds. “We want to see the prize being used to connect this potential with investors, refining the prototypes and creating impetus to get the solution to market.”
A huge amount of work is being done in the UK in the sector and, with designers such as Johnston already engaged in developing solutions designed to increase the quality of life for older people, hopes are high that this simple, smart solution will pick up the top prize when it is announced at the AAL Forum, being held at St Gallen, Switzerland, in September.
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For more information about the AAL and the AAL Forum, visit: https://www.aalforum.eu/