SHARJAH- Some of the world’s latest and widest range of adaptive technology is on display in Sharjah as the region’s only exhibition for visual disability technologies – Sight ME – got under way at Expo Centre Sharjah on Tuesday (Feb 13).
Sight ME was inaugurated by Sheikh Majid bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Director of the Department of Suburbs and Villages Affairs, and will run until Thursday (Feb15).
More than 40 exhibitors are displaying assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative technology, products, equipment and devices to increase, improve, or maintain functional capabilities of the blind and the visually impaired.
“More than providing the right equipment and technology to the blind and the visually impaired to make their lives easier, we aim to facilitate their integration into mainstream society, workforce and education. I believe the products on display, workshops and other activities that are being held as part of the event will go a long way in providing the right technology, accessibility and atmosphere to support blind and visually impaired people in the country and the wider region,” Mr. Adel Al Zamar, Chairman of the Emirates Association of the Visually Impaired.
According to the International Association for the Prevention of Blindness, currently 15 million people in Middle East and South Asia are blind, while another 79 million people suffer from severe vision impairment.
Globally, according to a recent study, of the 36 million people who were blind in 2015, cataract was the cause in 12.6 million people, uncorrected refractive error in 7.4 million and glaucoma in 2.9 million.
“With rising population and life expectancy, the number of people who are affected by the common causes of vision loss has gone up considerably. The event will help blind schools, Organisations catering to their needs, hospitals, enterprises & social Organisations to better serve the blind and visually impaired community through rehabilitation, employment and community outreach,” said H.E Saif Mohamed Al Midfa, CEO- Expo Centre Sharjah.
The UAE is in the forefront of adopting latest technology and products, including the proposed access to the world’s largest library, talking ATMs, the proposed first specialised rehabilitation centre for the visually impaired, adoption of latest navigation tech, and reading tech like Braille Eye and ‘Amal’ smart glasses, among others.
The event will also feature the Dialogue in the Dark café, which is one of the world’s most exciting life-changing experiences where visitors are guided by blind guides in absolute darkness.
Sight ME will remain open from 10am to 6pm and features exhibitors from Saudi Arabia, Oman, Egypt, Bahrain, the UAE, Norway, South Korea, Poland, India, Sweden, Belgium, Kuwait, Japan, the Netherlands and Germany.