Reading a book to my children

A wonderful article about Nas Campanella, blind newsreader over at Broadsheet.com

Her studio is equipped with strategically placed Velcro patches – she operates her own panel – so she can recognise which buttons to push to air news grabs and mute or activate her mic. While she’s reading on air, that same electronic voice reads her copy down her headphones which she repeats a nanosecond later. In another ear the talking clock lets her know how much time she has left. The sound of her own voice is audible over the top of it all.

Reminded me of a problem I have in my life. Reading books to my children. I have often thought about using a tiny in ear wireless headphone, such as the Earin to solve this problem. It’s interesting to hear someone is using this on a daily basis in their work life. The article is also well worth a read as Nas’s attitude is read more

Dream to Reality

A few years ago I began to think of a few adventures I would love to embark on. I came up with three: The Pilgrimage, The Return and The Dream. Late last month I was fortunate enough for The Pilgramage to become a reality.

The basic premise of The Pilgrimage was to pay homage to RunKeeper and visit a city close to my heart – NYC. The dream was to run from the HQ of RunKeeper in Boston, to NYC then compete in the NYC marathon. The idea to visit the RunKeeper HQ was to thank them for where I am today. Their app enabled me to believe running solo was possible, the reason NYC? I spent a bit of time there, while I could still see. Therefore, the city remains close to my heart.

The adventure was made possible by a few select companies, namely Twitter, PayPal and AirBnB, Little did I know that partnering with AirBnB would elevate the read more

The adventure continues….

A little over 4 years ago I decided on a career change. The idea – to study psychology and begin a career within the clinical realm. This was a great departure from my previous career in network management and was something I was greatly excited about.

Slightly earlier in the year I had silenced the thoughts of quitting climbing the half dome, by learning to run solo outdoors. This was in part thanks to RunKeeper as well as my ability to memorise the feeling underfoot.

So the week my son was born, I thought it a great idea to increase my training to the ultra distance as well as beginning college to start my new career. I managed to juggle training between feeds, work during Grayson sleeping and spending time with my son. I managed to juggle this to such success that I began competing at the ultra distance and left college with the read more

Guide running

For first time guide runners the thought of guiding someone who cannot see can be scary. Essentially guide running is not difficult, you just have to do what you would normally do while running, be aware of your surroundings. The only difference is you have to account for being at least as wide as yourself and the person you are guiding.

This means any obstacles you would normally avoid, be it a post, tree branch, another runner, all need to be avoided, by taking into account your fellow runner. Of note, is that your fellow runner may be slightly taller than you, so watch out for branches that you may normally avoid!

The other key element is communication, note when you are going to move to avoid an obstacles, and highlight serious dips or raises in the running path. Kerbs and tree roots have to be avoided, this is something that read more

The Bradley Timepiece, a watch for the blind (& sighted!)

Back when I had useful vision, I adored collecting watches. In particular I had a penchant for unique faces and unique ways of displaying the time. My collection varied from flashing LED watches from Tokyo Flash to a Breitling Navitimer Cosmonaute. So, when I lost my useful vision and had to begin to buy talking watches I was gutted. I had gone from fine crafted Breitling to a cheap £40 piece of plastic (arguably the Tokyo Flash watches were cheap, but at least they were interesting).

The talking watches would break continuously, I would often forget to remove it when bathing my son and it would break. After this had happened 3 times, I just decided to give up on having a wrist watch. I resorted to using my phone as my new timepiece, this had a number of drawbacks however. I would have to remove it from my pocket to tell the time. It was far read more

Help a blind runner get from Boston to NYC!

This year I will finally run my first marathon, in NYC. Before I even ran I had dreamed of running NYC, it is also one of the cities I visited while I still had sight, so it always feels special whenever I return. It is also tantalisingly close to Boston, the birthplace of RunKeeper – the running app that made running solo outdoors as a blind runner possible.

So I had an idea, why not run from Boston to NYC, then compete in the NYC marathon? And to make it even more special, why not connect with people on social media to help me along the way. That is the plan and I am reaching out to the internet to help make it happen!

The Adventure

The plan is to arrive in Boston around mid to late october and begin running an average of 30 miles a day, for 10-13 days (distance varies depending on final route chosen). I plan to break the run read more

Google Glass – A blind perspective

Over the past few weeks, I have been playing around with Google Glass. It has been a wonderful experience, and I incredibly hopeful for the future opportunitIes that Glass can offer. As soon as I placed Glass on my face, I was reminded of the sensation of wearing glasses. The weight is similar to wearing a pair of prescription glasses. I quickly snapped a photo and was amazed with the simplicity of the hands free use.

Outdoors with Glass I had my first experience of navigation. I was able to issue a voice command and have the directions read aloud through the bone conduction ear piece. It was a nice hands off experience of navigating, while it is visually obvious I am wearing Glass, I felt this usage made me blend into the crowd. I didn’t have to remove a phone from my pocket and clumsily type a location or issue a voice command, I read more

Visually Impaired runner? Want to learn to be a running guide? Come join us!

Recently Braddan and I began a guide running project – guiderunning.UK. The simple goal is to raise awareness, point people towards guide running information and training and ultimately to connect as many visually impaired runners with guides as possible.

To promote the launch of guiderunning.uk we want to recruit a team of visually impaired runners and guides to compete in a 24-hour relay race. Don’t panic – this is definitely a sociable experience and not an all-out endurance competition. Pace and experience are certainly not an issue.

The race takes place in London over a 6-mile multi terrain route. It is not incredibly demanding. Trails are well maintained and relatively flat. More information about the even can be found at Spitfire Scramble

In true Spitfire spirit, guiderunning.uk needs YOU! – Just leave a comment below or contact me if read more

Airport navigation systems

Last year I was invited into the technology innovation centre of a major airline. I was presented with a key issue for the airline and asked for input. I came up with a number of ideas which focussed around iterative technology changes or what I believed to be breakthrough technologies that could deliver innovative solutions.

My suggestions for iterative changes revolved around the customer experience of media while on the plane. I had suggested that this experience could be extended to the lounge area, through simple changes, be that loaning devices to passengers or delivered through a mobile app. This was an easy solution to implement and something that would grow the customer experience.

The major idea I delivered focussed on the terminal. Airport terminals are vastly large spaces which can often be difficult to navigate. I read more

Faceless

A couple of years ago I lost the ability to see faces on a daily basis. This happened so gradually I hardly noticed it was happening at all. For with people I have known a long time, I would fill in what they look like. So it was more apparent when I met someone new.

I found whenever I met someone knew I was creating a mental picture of what they looked like. But what was I basing this picture on? As how can I imagine what a stranger, I have never seen looks like?

These questions were brought to the forefront when I was working with a fellow student at university. I had worked with them on and off for over 2 years, so I knew their voice well. I could easily pick it out from a crowd of voices. Due to the familiarity of the voice I had begun to assign a mental representation. But rather than specific features it was just a feeling. read more