The Norfolk & Norwich Association for The Blind
New smartphone for the blind to be trialled in Norfolk
The first smartphone app designed for blind people by blind people is to be showcased in Norfolk next month.
Gerogie is named after its co-founder’s first guide dog, and includes apps built specifically to help people with poor sight overcome the obstacles they face in everyday life.
These include catching a bus, reading print or knowing their exact whereabouts in unfamiliar areas, while also making tasks such as sending or reading text messages or using Twitter easier.
The phone will be among aids and equipment demonstrated at a series of roadshows organised by the Norfolk and Norwich Association for the Blind in Norwich, Cromer, King’s Lynn, Great Yarmouth and Diss during September.
It has been developed by the social enterprise company, Screenreader, which was founded by husband and wife Roger and Margaret Wilson-Hinds, of Peterborough, both of whom are blind.
The device includes features to allow users to dial a number with a voice-assisted touchscreen, manage contacts, use speech input to send text messages and tag previous routes or hazards such as potholes or overhanging branches.
Mr Wilson-Hinds said: “I was able to send my very first text message just earlier this year thanks to Georgie.
“It’s exactly the type of digital experience we want to make easily available to people with little or no sight.
“It will solve every day problems for blind people so that they can be more confident about navigating the real world and become independent.”
The groundbreaking software will be available for blind people to check out at five awareness days run by Sight and Sound Technology at the NNAB’s equipment centres throughout Norfolk, starting at the charity’s headquarters in Magpie Road, Norwich on September 10 (10am-3pm).
It will be at Merchant’s Place Community Centre, Cromer on September 11 (10am-2pm); 3, North Lynn Business Village, King’s Lynn on September 12 (10am-3pm); 12 Hall Quay, Great Yarmouth on September 13 (10am-2pm) and Diss Methodist Church on September 14 (10am-2pm).
Sight and Sound Technology chief executive Glenn Tookey added: “We firmly believe this purpose-built app can make a real difference to the lives of blind and partially sighted people in Norfolk and we look forward to giving them the opportunity to check it out.”
Georgie is available from £299 including the phone, or the core applications can be downloaded to an existing Android mobile from £149. A variety of additional apps are also available in three packages, costing £24.99 each.