Lighthouse Guild Technology Center, which offers people who are blind or visually impaired access to the latest assistive devices and state-of-the-art technology, celebrated its official opening today. The Center occupies 11,000 square feet at Lighthouse Guild’s New York City headquarters and is one of the most comprehensive premier assistive technology centers in the United States. It is a one-stop resource for vision care, rehabilitation, and technology training as well as a facility where developers can test future innovations.
“Game-changing advances like artificial intelligence, program learning, virtual reality, facial recognition, and 5G are becoming available to benefit people who are blind and visually impaired,” said Dr. Calvin W. Roberts, President & CEO of Lighthouse Guild. “Our Technology Center is a hub connecting innovators and users to advance technological developments for our community and beyond. We are proud to help New Yorkers and others with vision loss access the technology they need to live the lives they aspire to.”
Among those joining Lighthouse Guild staff and clients at the ribbon-cutting were Council Member Gail Brewer; Martha Jackson, Assistant Commissioner Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities (MOPD); Julie Hovey, Associate Commissioner New York State Office of Children and Family Services (NYSCB), and Roberta Semer, Senior Task Force Chair for Community Board 7.
Attendees toured a high-tech Smart Home, featuring a kitchen, office and living area, where people with vision loss can try the latest technology to help them control their home environment, including voice activated appliances such as microwaves, ovens, and refrigerators and devices that can read labels, answer phones, adjust thermostats, lock doors, and more. In addition, Lighthouse Guild experts and clients demonstrated some of the latest assisted devices available at the Center, among them: OrCam MyEye, which reads text aloud; IrisVision, designed to simulate a full visual view by filling in missing areas of sight; Eyedaptic Glasses, created to compensate for central vision loss, and Freedom Scientific Onyx Deskset HD, a portable video magnifier that adapts to multiple environments and tasks for productivity at school, work, and at home.
Vision Assessments, Devices, Training
The Technology Center offers individualized assessments by Lighthouse Guild experts to determine visual capacity, lifestyle, personal goals, and comfort with technology. Lighthouse Guild Tech Center staff then work with each person to find the best devices or appliances to fit their needs. Training to ensure optimal use and safety is provided. There are opportunities to try out and learn how to use technology solutions, such as wearable devices that convert text to speech, recognize faces, and identify currency, as well as devices that use virtual reality technology to maximize useful vision, magnifiers, CCTVs, computers, and eyeglasses. Some devices are also available for purchase.