A group of blind and partially sighted people will visit V&A Dundee today to test a pioneering new device that might transform their ability to appreciate the contents.
'My Eyes' is an award-winning app designed by Portuguese company IKi Technology that will assist them to navigate from the train station to and around the museum. Inside, beacons placed beside exhibits will send a signal to the app describing them.
My Eyes creates 'blind compliant zones'. In these zones, a mobile phone talks to the user out loud whenever it encounters an 'event', a GPS co-ordinate or a beacon reproducing texts previously entered into the system. These texts can narrate what is around while giving directions on how to go from one point to another.
Miguel Matias for IKi Technology said: “We are proud to be collaborating with V&A Dundee and the national sight loss charity RNIB Scotland to make this impressive museum a home for the visually impaired where they can navigate independently.”
RNIB Scotland director James Adams said: "New technology has immense potential to make life easier and better for people who are blind or partially sighted. Our members are looking forward to trying out the My Eyes app and feeding back any comments that might be useful in developing it further.
"It's really encouraging, too, that V&A Dundee is keen help to make its exhibits as accessible as possible to everyone in the community."
Mr Filipe Almeida, a Portuguese neuroscientist who developed the My Eyes app, said: "By creating blind compliant zones for visually impaired, we are meeting several of the United Nations sustainable development goals, promoting health and well-being, sustainable cities and equality.
"We want the world to talk to one another using artificial intelligence.”
Jo Mawdsley, head of learning with V&A Dundee, said: “We are so delighted to be working with RNIB Scotland and IKi Technologies on a pilot for the 'MyEyes' app. Our aim at V&A Dundee is to open up as much content as possible to all of our audiences.
"The app will provide a fantastic introduction to some key objects in our Scottish Design Galleries to enhance the museum experience for blind and partially sighted visitors.”