TifloInnova is an international trade show held in Madrid Spain, sponsored by ONCE (Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles), Spain’s National Organization that assists people who are blind and visually impaired in all aspects on a national level. The fair features innovative technology from around the world which facilitates the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired.
Close to 40 international companies participated in this third version of the fair which opens its doors every three years. Thousands of visitors attended, many from neighboring European countries
A great variety of interesting products were on display at TifloInnova 2014; from rudimentary objects like the internationally recognized symbol for blind people, the white cane, with a new cork grip which makes it lighter and easier to handle, to highly developed software like Discover Access for SharePoint™ which makes Microsoft’s SharePoint software usable by people who are blind.
There were also many smartphone enhancements which provide people who are blind and visually impaired, tools and features that facilitate cell phone use. Many innovative machines were also showcased. Some allowed people to type in braille and others allowed visually impaired users to magnify things both near and far. Some magnifying devices could also read out loud text printed on paper, so that users who are blind are able to understand information held in their hand.
One highlight of the fair is a watch that allows people who are blind to tell time by means of vibrations. It is screen-less and by pressing 3 buttons the users can tell time by the number of pulsations.
Another main attraction at the show, was a 3D printing machine that allows people who are blind and visually impaired to feel the shapes of images. The testers were marveled as they were finally able to better understand what the statue of liberty ‘looks’ like as well as the Coliseum, the Kremlin, or pretty much any item they could ask to be printed in 3D.
The fair was a true success and is definitely something that should be replicated worldwide to create awareness, further product development efforts, and most importantly allow people who are blind or visually impaired to find solutions for their problems.