Periodic Reporting for period 1 - BlindTouch (Eye-Free user interface to give full access to smart devices for blind and visually impaired people)
Reporting period: 2018-02-01 to 2018-04-30
This is the age of the touch-screen. Our smartphones and tablets allow us to communicate with people near and far, get immediate answers to virtually any question and overcome a multitude of problems. An entire universe of information, coded and communicated through graphic interfaces, is at the palm of our hand, increasing our independence, our sense of safety, and aiding us in every aspect of our daily lives. But for the 26m+ blind and visually impaired people in Europe, and 285m worldwide, they have been left completely behind with this technological revolution, widening the divide between the seeing and the visually impaired.Our vision is to better serve the visually impaired and extend the reach of smartphones and digital connectivity to them. We achieve this through our disruptive BlindTouch product, a complete solution that gives the visually impaired full control over smartphones, a fundamentally sighted technology. It allows this underserved community full integration with modern life and gives them a range of essential tools to dramatically increase their independence, connectivity and self-esteem.
Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far
We contacted and involved the visually impaired and associations for the visually impaired to gather feedback on user needs and requirements. We established what development need to be done to move BlindTouch on from the current stage of development to our future vision. We figured out what activities we could do in house, and what activities would need to be outsourced. We planned end user testing in 12 new markets and got the support of local visually impaired association. We performed an assessment of the market that showed high potential for the product and interest. We built up 5 year financial projections that shows BlindTouch having high growth potential.
Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)
BlindTouch is a shift in the market offering, moving away from using expensive, bulky, single purpose tools based on outdated technologies by using modern available technology to offer a much cheaper, all encompassing service to the visually impaired. Uniquely, BlindTouch can bring all the benefits of other technologies and more onto any off-the-shelf smartphone with the click of a button. BlindTouch has proven to create time savings of 150% for the visually impaired and only took them a few days to learn the system. 91% of visually impaired people agreed that it helped increase their freedom and independence, and it was shown to increase employment rates by 73%.