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
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 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
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
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
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
During my heavy revision period, the tram I take to university was undergoing some maintenance. This meant I could no longer use my normal tram stop, instead relying on the replacement bus service to take me to the next stop.
This worked great until one evening when I was travelling alone. I realised I had no idea how to get from the tram to the replacement bus service. I thought Ascot might just go with the flow and guide me to the bus stop. Nope! – instead he went with the flow that took me to a road. I thought to myself – if someone can point me in the right direction to Meadowhall, I can figure it out from there!. I asked around and a kind lady offered to guide the way, so me and Ascot followed along. The kind lady dropped us off at Debenhams and was on her way. Now the challenge was getting from here to the train station, I had read more
Last semester I took the brave decision to add Visual Perception as one of my modules. The line between brave and stupid is often quite blurry. I thought the module would offer me a great insight into how the visual system works and it really did. But it meant some very special preparation in order to pass the exam.
The majority of the concepts were described diagrammatically on the course, something which meant I would have to take a slightly different angle to learning in order to achieve a greater understanding of visual perception as well as pass the exam. I had to try and visualise the concepts that were being described something that became quite challenging when you have never seen them represented in the real world. For example the visual illusions – I was fortunate enough to have seen some of these illusions while I had sight. But read more
During 2013 I began to read at in increased rate. This was mainly due to the Kindle iOS app allowing VoiceOver. So for the first time since losing my vision I could read again. The only problem being not all books are available on Kindle yet so I often become annoyed that there are still a whole host of books I am unable to read. If I have a special interest in the book however, then I spend time converting it to make a digital copy.
My reading is shaped by my current interests, running, psychology and business. In order to expand my reading list I thought I would post my favourite reads of 2013 in the hope others would share theirs.
Priceless is a fantastic insight into the psychology of pricing. As I read throughout the book I was amazed at just how many of the psychological tricks I have fallen prey too. The books covers everything from the psychology of mobile phone read more
I adore technology – since I was a teenager I have been a massive fan of everything from computers to consoles, phones, gadgets and most recently fitness tracking devices. However being blind can sometimes make this passion difficult. But I do pride myself in taking technology and re imagining how it can be used.
Reimagining how RunKeeper could be used allowed me to learn to run solo. I take this approach to other pieces of technology in my life and believe I manage to use technology in ways it was never intended to be.
I am also a big fan of crowd funding. I have lost track of how many projects I have funded now but its been quite a few. I even took the risk of backing a project for a christmas present. With project creep all to common on crowd funding sites I am happy to say this project is running on time.
I often get to read more
Visiting the Buxton Adventure Film Festival last month I was inspired by one of the speakers: Rosie Swale Pope. Her story of running around the world was incredible, her delivery and energy was invigorating and I left believing I could achieve anything!
So when I returned home I decided to buy her book on Kindle. I did intend on buying a copy at the actual event but did wonder what I would do with a physical copy. I had decided to avoid reading the book until I had finished Thinking Fast and Slow by Kahneman. Something that was important to my extended essay for my degree. But procrastination got the better of me and I decided to start reading it during my Starbuck visits. This also coincided with my attempt to reach gold status at Starbucks so I read the book quite quickly!
The book is titled A Little Run Around The World. The book is simply breathtaking. It took read more