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Oct 22

Fragmented communication: living with sensory impairments - HealthEng at Bloomsbury Festival 2016

Institute of Healthcare Engineering partners demonstrate what life is like with vision and hearing impairments at this year’s language-themed Bloomsbury Festival on Saturday 22 October from 11am to 5pm.

  • Language and communication rely on how we use our senses to get information about the world around us. So how do you communicate if you have a problem with your sight or hearing? Using interactive technology we will provide an insight into the challenges of living with sensory impairments.

    Researchers from our Eyes for Life and Hear Again Flagship Programmes have joined forces with accessibility tech pioneers GiveVision to show what happens when the information you receive from your hearing and vision becomes fragmented, and what we can do to help.

    Medical conditions that cause vision loss can affect the sight in a number of different ways. We use augmented reality headsets to simulate the experience of vision impairments, such as macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy, to show how conditions like this affect the way we process visual information about our surroundings. Carrying out real life tasks while using the simulation provides a hands-on experience of the everyday challenges of living with impaired sight. We’ll show the technology, like bionic eyes, that researchers are developing to improve impaired eyesight and innovative techniques and equipment for performing surgery on the eye.

    Hearing loss can affect people of all ages, from birth or as we get older. We demonstrate the otoacoustic emissions testing used on newborn babies to determine if they have impaired hearing, and show how hearing deteriorates over time in age related hearing loss. Using voice recording software, we show how a cochlear implant can help improve communication for a deaf person, with real implants and hearing aids to hold and explore.

    Bloomsbury Festival is a five-day celebration of art, culture and science showcasing the diverse Bloomsbury community, with 2016’s festival inspired by the theme of language. On Saturday 22 October, UCL opens its doors as the festival hub for the day, highlighting our world-leading research through interactive demonstrations, hands-on workshops and live experiments. Activities at the UCL hub are fun and free with something for all ages.

    Visit us at the UCL hub from 11am to 5pm on Saturday 22 October to experience the world through the eyes and ears of people living with impairments.

    • Encounter a range of vision impairments through virtual reality vision
    • Explore immersive environments and experience the challenge of sight loss
    • Hear your own voice as an elderly relative hears you
    • Discover ground-breaking research happening now at UCL

    For more information, visit the Bloomsbury Festival website.