Technology at Croydon Vision
We are really proud of our Tech for Good centre at Croydon Vision; it’s one of many provisions that make such a difference in our members’ lives.
It’s stocked with clever, life-changing devices aimed at making a visually impaired person’s life easier.
In recent years the world of new technology has exploded, enabling blind people to experience things that were previously inaccessible to them, and encouraging:
- Greater independence
- Personal development
What technology is available for visually impaired people?
- Assistive technology
- Electronic magnifiers
- Text to speech machines
- Daily living aids
- VI-friendly clocks and watches
- Labelling equipment
- Kitchen equipment
How can you access the Tech for Good?
Simply book a one-to-one appointment with one of our Team member. They’ll talk you through what’s available and give you demos on the kit we have in stock. We will provide you with an unforgettable experience on technology and how its use can transform your day to day life.
What is Assistive Technology?
Assistive Technology is any item that aids in reading printed or handwritten materials. It also includes specific machines that enable blind and visually impaired people to listen to audio books.
At Croydon Vision’s Tech Hub we have everything from handy pocket electronic magnifiers, to larger desktop versions. We also have specific machines that convert text to speech and read printed materials aloud.
We stock specific devices that read content from USB sticks and audio books from Daisy Disks.
Mobility is also made easier thanks to our GPS devices, which are specifically designed for visually impaired people.
Making everyday life, easier
A lot of the equipment we have for daily living is labelling.
We have brightly coloured elastic bands, which are easy to tell apart as they have different tactile feelings depending on the colour. You can put these around bottles or jars to quickly be able to tell them apart.
We also have marker pens, bumpons (sticky tactile dots). These can be used for labelling different heat settings on your oven, or different programs on your washing machine.
There is also the Penfriend, which is a talking barcode labeller. You show the bar code to the unit, and you are then able to attach a recorded message, so great for telling CDs or DVDs apart, labelling your clothes or recording instructions for things.
We also have a large selection of talking and larger clocks and watches.
Life is more fun when you play games
We have a selection of large print and braille (or tactile) games so everyone can get involved and enjoy some friendly competition.
There are card games such as UNO, as well as, Scrabble, Dominoes, Connect Four and even a tactile rubix cube!
There a variety of Kitchen Equipment in the Tech hub.
Two things that people usually come in to the resource room to see are the non-spill thermos mug and the talking microwave, which speaks out every button that you press.
As well as those, we have a tactile and a talking measuring jug and liquid level indicators.
The other big item of Kitchen Equipment we have is a Talking Induction Hob this is a one ring or two ring hob which is fully accessible. You can set the temperature using gas mark or degrees C, there is an inbuilt timer and the ring doesn’t get hot until it senses that there is a pan on it, which is really safe if you are nervous of hob cooking.
Committed to changing lives
Being able to use a phone leads to access via a computer
Stephen had an issue with his phone and visited Croydon Vision. He couldn’t use the phone and not having used a computer for a year was isolating. With sessions he was able to use his phone feature such as printed text; to read letters. Later on, he bought a new laptop and with the addition of accessibility software and keyboard tactile stickers, he confidently uses his computer and feels great.
“It’s been fantastic getting my skype fixed, I didn’t really know I could receive assistance whilst being at home. I can now continue to skype my family and friends” – Ann.
Cris’s Phone Journey
Cris had previously visited the Resource Centre to purchase low-tech items such as bumpons. She booked a formal session with the aim of getting a smartphone. Her first words after sitting down were “I want to be able to use a smartphone like everyone else!”. She was aware that there were two big ‘types’ of smartphone but had never had her hands on one.
Cris left feeling that she knew more but didn’t think that she would be able to use a smartphone. However, she persevered and made a booking for the following week. On that visit, Cris came determined to be able to use a smartphone. We watched video demo of the phone online and I explained features of the phone to Cris. This further encouraged Cris and she has since purchased a phone; using it as though she’s had it all this while.
Mark is a long-time member of Croydon Vision (CV), but had never visited the Charity. He initially called CV to enquire about service provision and felt so supported that he decided to venture out for the first time in 7 years.
Mark was experiencing many difficulties at home as a result of his sight loss, which included difficulty in using a computer, his struggle in identifying the different monetary notes when shopping plus not being able to have a hot drink safely.
Following his first visit to CV, Mark felt so positive that he returned the following week. He said that the knowledge gained about money notes was so helpful. Furthermore, the recommendation to buy a non-spill mug from the Resource Centre has made him feel less anxious about having a hot drink at home.
Mark can now log into his computer and has mastered the art of touch- typing. Mark’s next project will be learning how to use accessibility software, supporting him to become independent and maintain relationships using social networks.
My name is Danielle, I have been an active member of Croydon Vision since June last year. Prior to this I have had on/off communication with the organisation for around fifteen years.
I have been attending pottery on Mondays and the Working Age group on Wednesdays. I’ve found the Working Age group invaluable and it is the reason that I am now confident enough to also volunteer here.
You can find me on Tuesdays and Thursdays in the Resource Centre from 9am-3pm ready to answer any questions that you may have about equipment or skills that may make your life easier with a Visual Impairment.
It doesn’t matter how big or small your question is; whether it’s about the technique of being able to tell your bottles and tins apart in your cupboard, cane tips, look at the talking microwave, measuring jug, or if you want a tactile set of dominos, dice or playing cards. I am here to help you.
We have lots of equipment; magnifiers, liquid level indicators if you need assistance with filling your mug with hot liquids, non-slip mugs so that you don’t lose that all important brew all over the floor before you get to drink it. We also have clocks, items that will read your books and magazines, lamps that may help you with crafts, to name just a few things, and what we don’t have, I am very happy to look up for you.
The resource centre is all about trying to help you with everyday life, enable you to try things out, and give your ideas to make things easier for you.
The Tech For Good centre is an area full of useful items that I can try out before I buy to see if they are the right thing for me. I like that I am able to look around with no obligation to buy.
I like to spread information about items that I find useful to other members of the charity, specifically the Amazon Alexa that I have had for a while and the resource centre allows me to not only tell other members about it but to demonstrate it as well.