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New Designers 2018
Digital camera for the visually impaired
Industrial Design and Technology student, Robert Chapman, has designed Note, a digital camera for the visually impaired. Rob was inspired to design his product while reading about the works of visually impaired fine-art photographers, Pete Eckert and Craig Royal. Currently there are over 162 million visually impaired people worldwide but only 4% of these people have no vision.
The term ‘visual impairment’ elicits the common assumption that visual communication has no meaning to the people who have the condition, however this is not always the case. Through the course of the project Rob has endeavoured to break this assumption through the development of a product that gives this part of society a creative way to communicate visually.
Note works in a very similar way to a conventional digital camera with a few distinct differences. Essentially, Note has a simplified interface and two large format screens. The camera body consists of two aluminium casing halves, seamlessly bound in leather that open to give the impression of a journal. The controls have been reduced to three simple, separate switches to make it easier to judge settings by touch alone. The camera also works using voice control and the large dual screens allow direct comparison of photos and settings. The electronic viewfinder is configurable for a range of specific visual requirements. For the visually impaired, one small screen on a conventional camera gives little context. The ability to compare photos on large screens speeds up the learning process and reduces trial and error, because the difference between settings can be compared directly.
Rob plans to pursue a career as an Industrial Designer and loves the idea of working with smaller consultancies with tight-knit teams in particular. He is also experimenting with the possibility of monetising a personal project with an old friend graduating in Electronic Engineering.