Canadian Council of the Blind
Get Together with Technology (GTT) Victoria Meeting
June 1, 2016
The meeting took place in the Community Room in the Public Library at 735 Broughton Street.
Albert opened with welcome followed by roll call. There were at least 25 people in attendance, four or five of whom were sighted guides, spouses, or library staff. He then introduced our guest, Steve Barclay from Aroga Technologies. We then had our usual opening session, providing the opportunity for networking and to bring up questions for the group.
First, we had a brief discussion that resulted in a decision not to have meetings in July and August. The next meeting will be in the usual location on Wednesday, September 7.
Tom pointed out that even without meetings over the summer, people can have time to think and let us know about topics for meetings once we resume in September. We are also continuing with the finalization of the briefing note regarding BC Transit’s use of the Trekker Breeze as its stop announcement system.
We’re also exploring the possibilities of launching a pilot project in Victoria, using iBeacons for indoor navigation at the library, City Hall, or even a centrally located commercial facility such as the Bay Centre. This would allow people with mobile devices to locate specific stores or offices. It would also provide descriptions of washroom layouts before entering, or on-demand description of advertising – any info that the iBeacon owner wishes to make available. We are still at the initial research and inquiry stage, but we know that this is already being done successfully in some locations.
There was some discussion around the systems that provide audio description in museums, at art exhibits, etc., but these are provided via dedicated systems that use infrared or other technologies. This would include the FM systems used to provide descriptive action in theatre productions such as the ones at the Belfry theatre.
Several members said how much they enjoyed the recent Monday Movie presentation at Eric Martin, where the description was played through the sound system along with the movie soundtrack. A few sighted patrons found it distracting but most felt that it was an interesting experience. The Movie Monday organizers said that they were definitely interested in exploring further video description possibilities, including an FM system for those who want to hear the description.
We also reminded participants that more and more video description is becoming available through the SAP (Special Audio Programming) channel of their cable TV provider. Also, Netflix is getting more descriptive video, and the iOS Netflix app is seeing lots of accessibility improvement.
We ended this segment of the meeting by thanking Steve Barclay for Aroga’s sponsorship of several described plays at the Belfry last season.
Linda Bartram informed us that the Pacific Training Centre will be opening at the DRC in September but that they already have two accessible computers there, available for public use. Those who wish orientation to the computers should contact Sky Mundell.
With no further items for the general discussion, we moved on to Steve’s NuEyes presentation. Steve explained that NuEyes is the First ever lightweight, wireless, head worn, voice activated device for the visually impaired. NuEyes Easy is a very simple product to use and can be either operated with a wireless controller included with the product or using simple voice commands. The feature list includes:
• Read and write using NuEyes
• Watch TV and Movies
• See the faces of loved ones
• Continue hobbies such as reading music and playing cards
• Regain visual independence
• Variable Magnification from 1x-12x
• Various contrast and color changes
• Voice Activated
• Lightweight Design
• Operates on the Android platform
• 2 Year Warranty
For more information, visit the Aroga website at http://www.aroga.com/nueyes-easy-glasses/.
Steve also described the features of, and demonstrated the BrailleNote Touch from Humanware. This is the latest Braille Note Taker to come on the market and promises to make a valuable contribution to the independence of blind students, employees and people who need access to a variety of sources of information. This device also runs on the Android platform so offers many Google Play Store apps beyond the traditional Note Taker suite of apps.
And finally, Steve showed us the portable and productivity features of the Humanware Prodigi Connect. This video magnification device has many other benefits, like the ability to scan and read documents, scan and enlarge photos and other graphics/hand writing, connect to large monitors and allow the user to access the full suite of Android apps available on the Google Play Store.
To learn more visit the web site, or contact Steve Barclay, COO of Aroga Technologies at:
After Steve’s presentation, the meeting was adjourned so people could check out the various products.
Tom Dekker, GTT Victoria Coordinator