Making Reading Real: Supports people with brain-related visual impairment
This project develops an app to bring reading back into the lives of people with brain injury, whilst exploring commercial models to make it widely available at low/no cost.
About the project
The app supports reading in people with brain-related visual impairment by offering customised settings that the user can control and adjust to their specific reading needs. This app was co-produced with a group of people living with this specific type of reading impairment and successfully tested in a randomised clinical trial. No other purpose-built assistive readers exist for people with neurological conditions so this app will fill a global gap in healthcare.
How would you feel if, while reading this text, letters and words started merging or disappearing, making your reading impossible, and you knew there was nothing you could do to recover your reading ability? Frightening. Devastating. That is precisely the experience of millions of people in the world who have had a stroke or live with neurodegenerative conditions affecting the back of the brain – the area that controls vision.
Science cannot repair a damaged brain, but in my research, I found a way to manipulate the text displayed in a reader device to compensate for this brain damage and make reading possible again. My idea is to convert these manipulation techniques into a commercially viable app to bring reading back to the lives of people with brain injury.
This app will:
- Fill a global gap in healthcare, since no other assistive readers exist for people with neurological conditions,
- Be universally available, free of charge, across all operating systems and web-browsers so no one with access to the internet will face barriers to use it,
- Have customised settings to suit the type and severity of neurological impairment,
- Operate in any language, that is, give millions of people in the world the opportunity to read again, and
- My international implementation plan will make the reading app widely recognised in healthcare and rehabilitation settings worldwide.