Fraser Fleming (38), who is registered as blind due to diabetic retinopathy, was part of a group from national vision loss charity RNIB Scotland who first tested the My app Eyes at the museum in March.
My Eyes, designed by Portuguese company IKi Technology, creates “compliant blind zones” in which a mobile phone speaks to a user when it encounters a GPS coordinate or a strategically placed “beacon” that speaks texts previously stored in the system . These texts can describe an exhibition while giving directions on how to get from one point to another.
Fraser said: “The My Eye app is a unique app that has the potential to help people with visual impairments access and find information about their surroundings.
“We were able to successfully navigate safely, with app instructions, from Dundee train station to the main entrance of the museum. Once there, we were then able to follow the audio guides provided by the app My Eye to navigate safely through the exhibits and get very informative descriptions of the exhibits.
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“I see this app has great potential to help visually impaired people not only in tourism but also in their day to day life. I found it very user friendly with little intervention required from the part of the person, and this simplicity make it a very accessible application.
“I think now, after the long period of confinement and restrictions on people’s freedoms, it is very important to encourage and support people to go out and visit new and exciting places or familiar places. I have I look forward to seeing how the developers bring this app to fruition in the future and I wish them much success.”
James Adams, Director of Edinburgh-based RNIB Scotland, said: “New technology has huge potential to make life easier and better for people who are blind or partially sighted. It is also very encouraging that V&A Dundee is strongly helping to make its exhibits as accessible as possible to all members of the community.We hope this app will open up a range of venues for people with sight loss elsewhere.
Fraser is particularly interested in how new technologies can help maximize the independence of blind and visually impaired people.
In 2018 he co-founded a Glasgow-based charity called TripleTapTech to help people with visual impairments access and try new technologies. “We also provide a home visiting service across Scotland where we can visit people and help them in their own environment,” he said.
The charity was nominated and reached the final of the National Diversity Awards for Entrepreneur of the year 2022 and the Scottish Charity Awards for Community Action 2021. It also won the RNIB See Differently Award for Community Contribution of the Year 2019, while Fraser personally received the Lord Provost Citizenship Award in North Lanarkshire 2021.