RNIB provides advice through Amazon Alexa

The charity has been providing advice to Amazon about sight-loss issues on an ad hoc basis

Dolly McLoughlin, who has sight-loss, with an Amazon device
Dolly McLoughlin, who has sight-loss, with an Amazon device

The sight-loss charity RNIB has teamed up with Amazon to provide information through the tech giant’s voice assistant Alexa about living with sight loss.

The charity today announced that users would be able to access this information by asking Alexa voice commands such as: “Alexa, what should I do if I think I'm losing my sight?”

Other questions featured include “Alexa, what assistive technology do blind people use?” and “Alexa, how do I register as sight impaired or severely sight impaired?”

The charity says that 54 per cent of blind and partially sighted people cite their sight loss as a barrier to using the internet, and almost two-thirds feel unable to make the most of new technology as a result of their condition.

The charity has been providing advice and assistance to Amazon about Alexa on an ad hoc basis for a number of years, Third Sector understands.

In the past two years a number of charities have looked into how Alexa could enable greater engagement with their charitable work and allow people to donate.

In 2018, the British Heart Foundation was the first UK charity to allow donations through Alexa, with other charities having since followed suit

David Clarke, director of services at the RNIB, said: “Voice assistant technology is playing an ever-increasing role in transforming the lives of blind and partially sighted people.

“Voice assistants can enable independence, helping to break down accessibility barriers to a more inclusive society.

"By using this technology to increase the reach of our own resources, we are ensuring that people can immediately get essential information about sight conditions, their rights and the support available, simply by asking out loud.”

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