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Overlay to make reading easier – on an iPad!

NSF-funded researchers at Texas A&M have developed STAAR (Situated Touch Audio Annotator And Reader) e-reader that enables blind readers to read the same text sighted readers do. The system allows a user to scan the text with their fingers to hear the words, control the pace of their reading, bookmark a page and highlight important…

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Sound Sculpture, Wilberforce Trust, Leeds City Art Gallery & Leeds University

The Sonic Body: Call for Volunteers Do you like artwork? Do you like movement? Do you like working with sound? Are you interested in multisensory experience? We are looking for a small group of visually impaired volunteers to help us with the development of a movement and sound system that will enable engagement with sculpture.…

Microsoft Seeing AI logo

Seeing AI App is a must have!

The Seeing AI app from Microsoft has been in testing and now released several months. This is a fantastic app that combines several features of some of the most used and popular apps for a person with a visual impairment. This is on my must have list! Link to the app store.

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Google Duplex, has the future arrived?

Back in May of this year, Google showcased to the world their ‘Duplex’ Artificial Intelligence system for accomplishing real world tasks.  Google showed a system that sounded just as human as a human, littering its sentences with ‘ums’ and ‘ahs’ and upwards inflections. Was this a glimpse of our near future?

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Chatter baby… there’s an app for that!

A baby can try to communicate with us and at the best of times that can be difficult. For a parent who is hearing impaired this can also be difficult as they may need to rely on amplifiers to better communicate the sounds to them. Chatter Baby, a new app, tries to solve this issue –…

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Winning combination: iPad Magnifier & Stand!

We had a visit today from Mary* who has a visual impairment and who was missing being able to easily read the TV Guide. She came to the Hub here at Wilberforce Trust for some advice on how could she still maintain her independence to be able to do that. “I’m so glad I’ve come in…

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Vibrating Mobile Phone Alert

This vibrating mobile phone alert can be a good device to keep you safe and awake when you need to be! Why do I need this? Often keeping our smartphones under the pillow may seem like a good idea for using the vibration to wake us. But if these devices are charging then it’s a…

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Ring…. motion sensor doorbell

It’s Deaf Awareness Week and so to kick it off I’ve decided to share some technology information that may be useful. I’ve been trying out ‘doorbell’ technology as an alternative (or in addition to) a regular doorbell. There are also doorbells that are very loud, or that have flashing lights that are appropriate for use. A…

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Turn on Image Descriptions Twitter

Twitter has given everyone the capability to have an image description, to make their platform accessible, but this is an option that needs to be enabled. Many users are unaware of this feature and that it needs to be enabled within the app. Log in to your Twiter account, and in the settings, go down…

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Tinnitus Support: Friday 11th May

As part of the work that we do at The Wilberforce Trust, and through our Yorsensory service we run a Tinnitus Support Group. About the Support Group Where the group meets Yorsensory Wilberforce House 49 North Moor Road Huntington York YO32 9QN When the group meets Bi-monthly First meeting: Friday 11 May, 2-4pm Guest speaker: Colette Bunker,…

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Alexa, your assistant on your Android smartphone

92% of smart speakers are powered by Alexa and Google assistant. On a smartphone we can use Siri and Google Assistant but Alexa is still not used as commonly (if at all?) on a smartphone. Now you can set the default assistant on an android device to use Alexa. Currently, my long press of the…

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NEW! Tech Fund, part of Access to Work

On April 27th it was announced at Naidex, Europe’s largest assistive technology conference that there will be a new technology access fund. This will be part of the Access to Work scheme. Access to Work provides financial support to ensure someone’s disability or health condition does not hold them back at work and can cover assistive…

almost 1 million volunteers

Be My Eyes nominated for Award

A while back we mentioned the app Be My Eyes and the role it can play in a persons day to day life. The app connects visually impaired people with volunteers. These volunteers can then ‘see’ through the use of the video function on a smartphone to describe something to the visually impaired person. Typically…


Assistive Technology : Empowering Independence

AT Conference in Manchester, April 2018 The focus of this conference asked several questions, What is the biggest issue? Is it finding the technology? Is it keeping up with what’s new? These questions were the start of the discussions to allow Empowering Independence. My notes below were taken at the conference so I will have…

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Generous donation from Leeds Building Society

Christine Farion, Assistive Technology Adviser, from The Wilberforce Trust shows Natalie Metcalfe, Customer Service Advisor at Leeds Building Society’s York Branch, how technology can make a real difference. There is more information available at Leeds Building Society and an article appears on York Press. We were very fortunate to receive a generous donation to support our…

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Successful Launch!

On February 6th, we successfully launched our new service, the Sensory Van! This was an amazing day that was supported by the local community and we had The Rt Hon the Lord Mayor of York, Councillor Barbara Boyce to officially launch the service. The day was filled with great conversations about the need for sensory…

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Spot the Amazon!

UPDATE: It’s here!  January 24th will see another family member of the Amazon Alexa enabled devices! You can visit our Hub at The Wilberforce Trust to try any of these Amazon Devices with our technology expert who is there to answer your questions. The Echo Spot is a compact device with a small touchscreen. It…

Wait until dark

Wait Until Dark

Earlier in November, there was a performance of the play Wait Until Dark at York Theatre Royal. This was a Frederick Knott 1966 suspense thriller that was a movie directed by Alfred Hitchcock (1967). The main character in it, Susy, is blind. For the tour of the production, for the first time the role of Susy…

John Lewis Training

Sensory Awareness Training Day

This week we welcomed staff from John Lewis (Leeds) to participate in our specialist Sensory Awareness Training day. This is a course designed and delivered by our highly qualified staff which highlights the many issues that those with a sensory impairment may face on a day to day basis. 


Smart Glasses?

Amazon seems to be making a competitor to Google’s Assistant and Siri through wearing glasses and using a microphone as a means of communication. The glasses would let you take Alexa anywhere and they will be tethered to your phone. These will not be including a camera which seemed to be the issue with the…


Try technology in our Hub

Our Hub has a range of technology and product available for you to have a demo with, try and decide what might be right for you. We have experts, volunteers and qualified staff on hand to help you. We can advise and support you or your loved one with any questions about maintaining independence.  

yes chef

3 Top Apps

In this quarterly ‘apps, edition we are discussing Blindsquare, AccessNote and YesChef? Blindsquare will help with navigation, AccessNote is a ‘notes’ application to keep your notes in one place, and YesChef is for recipes that can be read out and followed when you’re in the kitchen.