Wednesday, 28 November 2012

Sight Village, Kensington Town Hall, November 2012

7th November 2012

My first visit to Sight Village was last year and I found it useful. ( Over the year, my needs have changed and my technology choices have become more focussed on a smart phone and with a Jaws14 update imminent, I was not in the market for a large section of the high cost items. 

Many of the exhibitors were in the same place as last year and with recent meetings and shows at Judd Street (RNIB and Action for Blind) and my discussions with Guide Dogs at the VocalEyes reception at the House of Lords, I went more with the intention of finding a few twitter contacts and searching the hashtag #SightVillage for interesting exhibitors. 

I made my way from South Kensington Underground with the very helpful staff at the station by way of the Circle Line (It is no longer a circle) to High Street Kensington.  From there I headed towards the Town Hall, remembering the way, and was met by Ray from QAC who was doing a sweep.  I was then checked in and started on my visit having established which rooms were in use.  

There were some interesting camera based technologies which will read a simple document.  Many of the stands have documents ready but I had a leaflet from the V&A which turned out to be about Harry Winston’s Diamonds. This is one way to name drop.  One type of equipment sounded interesting, but costing around £2,000 was more than I was willing to pay.  A cheaper piece of kit costing £500 was more attractive but only worked on English text and facilities such as converting to a readable text file for “paperless” purposes was an extra.  I am no longer interested in magnifiers but would like to have a document read to me, annotate it and store for reference (and throwing the piece of paper away- A quoi sert un morceau de papier, discuss)

I ran into a couple of stands from last year and chatted away.  I tried out the Ultracane and discussed its development.   Some people recognised me and I tried out a carbon fibre white cane on sale by QAC themselves (we met on twitter).  The Olympus stand remembered me from the Judd Street day and said hello.  Of course I could not recognise any visually impaired people so asked one of the QAC volunteers to help me find some stands.  I found Toby Davey from VocalEyes and I got an unusual audio description of the coffee downstairs! (see below)

On the way downstairs I ran into Megan from RNIB Books and we discussed issues.  A coffee and a piece of lemon cake can best be forgotten but the catering staff kept scratching their faces or hair while handling food.  The lemon cake was wrapped tightly in cling film and it extruded and tasted like wallpaper paste. Toby was right about the coffee.

After a moan I engaged with someone from Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea (RBKC).  The council were doing a survey about the Shared Space in Exhibition Road.  A useful exchange ( a recent post on this topic can be found on:

My last stand visit was with a tactile map overlay on a touchscreen.  This was done on a plan of Rochester Railway Station in Kent.  I have been to this station as it has both HS1 and regular tracks.  A useful try out of technology in development. 

Some of the stands I visited are as follows:

Optelec (ClearReader+)
Talking News Federation
Torch Trust

More information about future Sight Village exhibitions and QAC can be found on: