Changes to BBC iPlayer

We have had a number of queries regarding the shutting down of the BBC iPlayer Bigscreen service that took place on Saturday 14 February 2015.

The BBC will no longer support this service on smart televisions and other network devices although it will still be available on the Freesat service.  You can find out more about the new BBC iPlayer for connected TVs and the closure of iPlayer Bigscreen on the BBC internet oldblog.

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Tactile feedback for gesture control….

Donna Corrigan
Computer controlling UltrahapticsOver the past couple of years I have had the pleasure of listening to and working with both people with deafblindness and product manufacturers. Optimal accessibility means an easier time for everyone, and is more cost effective to the manufacturer to get it right from the outset. However, some technologies can only be fully accessible via customisation, after all everyone has different preferences and needs.

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RoboBraille offers quick online braille transciption

In this oldblog, we’re going to focus on an online resource called ‘RoboBraille’.

Paper with Braille embossedRoboBraille is an e-mail and web-based service capable of automatically transforming documents into a variety of alternative formats for the visually impaired. This service is free for individuals and there is no need to register. You simply fill out the simple self-service form, upload your document that you wish to be made accessible and the Robobraille service will email the document back to you within minutes.

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Parent power: What families can do to secure the support their children need

All parents of deafblind children have a story to tell about their journey to get the right support for their children.  Last week I spoke to Elaine, whose 16 year old son has never received specialist support for his deafblindness and had his first Deafblind Guidance assessment only a few weeks ago.  Another parent told me about the long dispute she had to go through because her local authority started to question the need for support from an MSI teacher for her daughter. The struggle can be time consuming and sometimes overwhelming.  And sadly it may not even have a happy ending, leaving some parents feeling isolated, frustrated and powerless.

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Having your say in May

Today is National Voter Registration Day.  Are you registered to vote?

There is something very satisfying about voting in an election. We are having our say on who should represent us in Parliament, who we most believe will listen to our concerns, stand up for the things that matter to us and work to make the world a better place. In closely contested elections, our vote could change who becomes our MP and who forms the government. It could change the course of events locally, nationally and even internationally.

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Be My Eyes

A screenshot of the Be My Eyes app, with somebody identifying a tin of tomatoesIn our latest technology oldblog, we’re going to look at a new app that has received a fair bit of attention recently.

Have you ever been frustrated because you can’t read the cooking instructions on food? Ever been worried that the milk in the fridge might be off? Well, now there is an app than may be able to help you with these and other situations where sighted assistance would be helpful.

A new app, called Be My Eyes, allows blind people to video call with a sighted volunteer who can help them. Just point your phone or tablet’s camera at whatever you need help with (the label on some food for example) and the sighted helper will talk you through it. I have even heard of a situation where a blind person used the app to help direct them to the information desk at their local train station!

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Looms of sound


An eTextiles workshop ran at Touchbase South East creating looms that were then connected to a computer that made different sounds when touched in different places.

Below is some feedback from one of our Sense artists providing a great MSI perspective on the workshop:

Well, I think the weaving was a bit like the wool.

It’s made from sheep’s wool. I just weaved it. Feel the different textures of the wool. I think it’s a ball of wool.

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All the world’s a stage: and other things we learned at the Globe


As part of our Sense Arts and Wellbeing programme, we have been focussing on accessing culture. Working with our friends at the Globe theatre, we took a tour of the space. It was all very exciting and we are really looking forward to experiencing Othello in a few weeks time..

One of the artists we support had this to say about the experience from an MSI point of view:

About the Globe Theatre. Good.

We stand on stage. It made an echo sound. It was cold and windy because there was no sunshine and no roof. I felt the very big pillar that holds up the stage. 

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