Innovation for Independence


Publish date:
16/01/2015 - 3:14pm
Last updated:
16/01/2015 - 3:14pm

COGS represents many people who have learning and other disabilities, very few are able to read or transpose the written word. This is both embarrassing and debilitating. We are working on enhancing an app that can fit into an easy access smartphone and will read the typed word and speak those words through earpiece. Much of the technology pre-exists but is either in unrefined form or needs adaptation for this purpose but the general hardware and technology is available and this project will combine all the elements and open up the written word to the 1.25 million people inhibited by written words. We will then make this facility available to download and use across the smartphone community.

Insight & Impact

COGS has a membership of several hundred people who have their work, social and domestic lives restricted by not being able to read. And so many jobs are restricted because of not being able to recognise words on cartons, labels or directions. Domestically, it is hard to follow receipts, shopping lists, etc, and this limitation continues to impact members. When asked to complete a questionnaire on disability access yet their opinions were being blocked as it, was not possible to be completed, endorsing social isolation. This triggering debate across all social media commenting reinforced the feelings and experiences of our members, and so our knowledge is based upon the life experiences of the learning and visually impaired sector along with their support team who provide assistance where reading even simple instructions. COGS also supports 300 frail elderly people and an increasing number of these are losing eye sight through the aging process. Therefore there is a growth in the written word recognition technology and we see our purpose is in refining the technology, making it usable and accessible to learning disabled people knowing that once complete, this technology will then be a great asset to a huge number of people

Skills needed for this project

  • We are working with IT specialists to ensure the configuration is such that the end user has a simple to use, easy to maintain enhancement to their phone.
  • where the group who are using and plan to use the app and phone into the future get maximum influence into the design and structure.

Please add a comment here....


Bernadette's picture
this is very similar to another idea posted previously on this competition.
Ian Wells's picture
All systems are too complicated . Defeating the object. We live in a world where a simple process is made complex and for us un-useable. However, if this facility exists please show me where to find it.