We'd like to tell you about Eric, who is 70 years old and has just bought a Synapptic Silver 10 phone package. Already, his Synapptic phone is making a huge difference to his life. 'In just a few weeks I have been amazed and delighted with this phone,' he told us. 'It makes me feel that for the first time I'm now on a level playing field with other people.'
Eric was born with a visual impairment, but didn't let it hold him back, completing a successful career as an engineering draftsman and running a design office for a manufacturing company, for over 20 years. Over the years he has struggled with the assistive aids available at the time and admits that, 'I only wish this technology was available 50 years ago.'
Here is Eric's story:
'As a visually impaired person I have for years found aspects of using a mobile phone extremely frustrating. My visual problem began at birth with underdeveloped optic nerves - which means that my vision cannot be corrected optically with glasses or contact lenses.
The effect that this condition has on my vision is being unable to pick out detail - for example, seeing the features of people's faces at any distance and…being unable to read a newspaper, book, or mobile phone without the aid of a magnifying glass. Because of this limitation, up until now I have been unable to use a modern smartphone effectively and have therefore been limited to the now "old fashioned" push button types. With these old phones I can't see what I'm typing in a text because I'm typing with one hand and holding the phone with the other one - no third hand to hold the magnifying glass - so I type a couple of sentences then go back to check for any errors with the magnifier.
That was until a month ago.
I went to a local exhibition organised by Derbyshire Sight Support and was very impressed by a demonstration of the Synapptic Smartphone…I quickly realised that once I'd learned how to use this wonderful piece of 21st century technology, all my mobile phone frustrations would be gone forever and I ordered one there and then.
To say that I'm delighted with it would be an absolute understatement. It has a built-in voice, which tells you exactly where you are in the various menus; it will tell you what letters, numbers and punctuation you are entering and it will read to you any texts, emails or anything else you're on at the time. This voice option can be switched on or off and you can choose from various font sizes for texting, emailing or reading any other of the phone's functions.
The phone comes complete with an ever so simple instruction manual and included in the price is an hour's telephone training session…During my hour of training, my very friendly and helpful instructor introduced me to the phone's Reading Machine. This feature is amazing - you effectively take a picture of any typed material such as a letter or a noticeboard and you choose to red it on the phone in whatever font size you've chosen, or you can opt for the phone to literally read it to you in its very pleasant "BBC" voice. This is particularly handy in the supermarket when you can't read the price tags which are annoyingly at the back of the freezers - out of your visual range.
As with any other smartphone, you can access social media like Youtube, Facebook and Twitter as well as surfing the net. When using the internet, you can magnify web pages by swiping your thumb and forefinger…I'm sure it [my Synapptic phone] will, in time, reveal more and more of its amazing features.
On a scale of 0 to 10, 0 being fully sighted and 10 being totally blind, I would rate my level of visual impairment at around 3, possibly 4. It has made such a difference to me and I would highly recommend it to anyone with a sight problem - and I would add that the more serious the visual impairment, the more useful this phone would be.
'21st Century technology at its best.'
Eric, Peak District