'Feel' technology helps Harry get independent

PUBLISHED: 17:15 08 July 2015

Harry Vincent and Sharon Green at the WESC Foundation shop in Sidmouth

Harry Vincent and Sharon Green at the WESC Foundation shop in Sidmouth

Archant

A cash till Braille overlay has taken three years of work by WESC vocational enterprise manager Andrew Roberts and is used in all of the foundation's shops, including Sidmouth and Honiton.

Pioneering technology, which was thought unachievable by cash till creators, is now acting as a ‘gateway to independence’ for visually impaired young people.

The cash till Braille overlay has taken three years of work by WESC vocational enterprise manager Andrew Roberts and is used in all of the foundation’s shops, including Sidmouth and Honiton.

The plastic screen fits over the till and allows users such as Harry Vincent to serve the customer without any assistance.

The Exeter-based WESC Foundation is a specialist day and residential centre offering help for young people and adults with visual impairment.

Harry, 20, was diagnosed with an optic glioma when he was two months old. The rare condition has left him blind and relying on guides to go about his day-to-day business.

Harry said: “The technology has opened a gateway to independence. I would like to thank the WESC Foundation for developing the technology.”

Harry would like to continue working in retail after he finishes at the WESC Foundation later this year.

Entertprise manager Mr Roberts investigated different ways to adapt a standard cash till to benefit all the students at the foundation school, initially using push buttons and colour schemes.

He hopes that the foundation will be able to roll out the Braille overlay to shops to assist visually impaired staff.

Andrew said: “We’re not trying to create a nation of blind shopkeepers, but we are preparing for them the real world once they leave and it can be cruel.

“We just wanted to have something that gives people like Harry the chance to be independent.”

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