We’re thrilled to introduce Sm@rt Technology, a pioneering company based in Preston. The organisation has been very busy creating an extensive portfolio of innovative solutions, designed to support everyday life for disabled people, including those with sight loss.
Henshaws is very dedicated to looking for ways to make Greater Manchester as accessible as possible, for people living with sight loss, be it, in the digital and/or physical space.
Just one of the company’s aims is enabling disabled people to cross at pedestrian crossings with ease.
Mark Belcher, our Head of Enablement, was lucky enough to test the company’s solutions, that have been installed at a busy crossing in Handforth, Wilmslow, East Cheshire. The solutions are powered by the smart Cross technology, that can be installed at a pedestrian crossing, at the request of a local authority.
What does Sm@rt Technology offer?
Sm@rt Technology offers three distinct solutions which make crossing the road simpler, providing the Smart Crossing technology has been installed:
The first solution is to simply wave your hand underneath the control box, and this will activate the crossing. If the crossing indicates the green man through beeps, this means you do not need to physically locate and touch the box, and you can just stand ready to cross.
However, if relying on the spinning cone, you will still need to locate and use this to know when the man has turned green.
The SmartButton is a small device that you can use to remotely activate road crossings. It can be bought directly from Sm@rt Technology, for £49.00.
If relying on beeps to know the green man is present, this takes away the need to locate the control box, but if you need to use the spinning cone, you will still need to locate the cone.
The SmartButton has been designed for people with a range of impairments, including mobility impairments, and can be attached to mobility aids including canes, wheelchairs and mobility scooters.
Sm@rtCross is an app for your smartphone that works very similarly to the SmartButton. As you approach a crossing that is compatible with the SmartCross technology, the app will tell you that you are approaching the crossing. You can then press the ‘Press to activate’ button, it will then say ‘Please wait’ followed by ‘crossing activated’. All you need to do then is wait until you hear the beeps, or the cone spins and you can then cross!
Why not also watch these solutions in action! In our video, Mark demonstrates them at the busy crossing in Handforth.
We think it’s a great solution, but wouldn’t it be amazing if it could go one step further, and the app and/or button could tell you when the man is green, so you wouldn’t need to locate the control box, even when there is no audio signal.
Special recognition for Mark’s 10-year-old daughter, who was behind the lens for the SmartCross App section of this video. Setting up the camera, framing the shot, giving direction – she can do it all.
What else does Sm@rt Technology offer?
Sm@rt Technology has also developed the Sm@rtAppVI app to help visually impaired people identify their location, along with obtaining audio descriptions of public buildings, toilets and so much more. The infrastructure for this app to work most effectively is still under development.
On top of that, both the Sm@rtCross and Sm@rtAppVI apps are free, and available on both iOS and Android.
These integrated systems are just another tool to add to your toolbox so you can be as independent as possible.
Those at Sm@rt Technology work directly with and listen to the needs of disabled people. If there’s anything that you wish was available and there’s a wide need for it, they will create it. Let’s all take control of what is and can be available for us. This could be an exciting opportunity for improvements and inclusivity to come in.
If you would like to know more, then contact Peter Speight on LinkedIn or by email at [email protected] and he’ll be happy to help you.
We hope this blog inspires more local authorities to investigate SmartCross and make pedestrian crossings more accessible to disabled people. We also encourage you to contact your local authority to ask if this technology could be installed at your local pedestrian crossing, if you think it would benefit you or someone you know.
How can I find out more?
If you want to know more about technology that can support you if you have sight loss, we have lots of information in our hints and tips library.