Association of Blind Citizens of NSW Audio Description Forum,

The Association of Blind Citizens of NSW is pleased to make available, the recording of the recent Audio Description Forum, where a panel of people provided information and discussion on various aspects of audio description, including an update on the Court case against the ABC for not providing audio description on free to air television, a demonstration of the ABC iView application for accessing catch up television with audio description, and discussion of live audio description in community cultural events.

To download and listen to this audio presentation, please visit the Association’s Website, at: bcnsw Audio Description Presentation

Rowena Dowling.
Executive Officer.
Association of Blind Citizens of NSW.

Artificial intelligence enables people who are blind to “see”

An app that allows people who are blind to identify the world directly in front of them using machine vision technology.

This short video shows the reactions of first users: Youtube clip

Media release

Artificial intelligence enables blind people to “see”

Students at Singularity University have created an app that allows blind people to identify the world directly in front of them using machine vision technology.

The app, Aipoly, is an intelligent assistant for the visually impaired that empowers them to explore and understand their surroundings through computer vision and audio-feedback.

“The power is in helping us construct the mental picture. And not everybody has the same skill at creating mental images,” says Steve Mahan, president of the Santa Clara Blind Centre and Google’s self-driving car’s first user. “Most of us are trying to do [that]. Knowing where we are is sometimes more than an address.”

The user takes a picture that is automatically uploaded to the Aipoly servers, where it is analysed and tagged, and a description is sent back and read out loud using text-to-speech. This means that blind people may be able to see what their kids are wearing each day, recognise street signs, find objects that are out of reach, and have freedom to purchase gifts for their friends by themselves.

The machine vision algorithm is optimised for use by the visually impaired with training in street signs and objects commonly used by blind people.

Machine vision, or computer vision, is an exponential technology that has more than doubled in accuracy between 2012 and 2013. Convolutional neural networks are used to identify the elements within a picture and neural image caption generation to feed back a semantic description of its content.

There are 285M visually impaired people in the world and in the next 5 years, two thirds of them will become smartphone users.

As for the bigger vision, “developing this technology further could help us identify and search for objects around our homes and outdoors like we do with websites online,” says Aipoly cofounder Alberto Rizzoli.

Singularity University was founded in 2008 by Ray Kurzweil, a pioneer in blind technology having created optical character recognition (OCR) and the first text-to-speech synthesizer, with over 40 years of experience in the field.

“This complements the work that Ray Kurzweil has done,” says Aipoly cofounder and 2012 Young Australian of the Year Marita Cheng. “In every focus group, people mention a Kurzweil technology they use to get about their daily lives.”

Singularity University students learn about using exponential technologies to impact the lives of a billion people within 10 years. The Aipoly technology will be showcased at Singularity University’s Demo Day on 18 August at NASA AMES Research Park in Mountain View.

Aipoly is now looking for beta testers from around the world. Beta testers of all visual abilities (including fully sighted and blind) are sought.

Press kit, video, photos, logo, images:

Marita Cheng
Cofounder, Aipoly
+1 (650) 695-7409

ABC Audio Described iview Programs – August Highlights

Please find a list below of ABC TV iView Audio Described program highlights for August. As always, programs are subject to schedule changes however this is what is currently planned.

  • Kevin McCloud’s Escape To The Wild
  • The Politicians Husband
  • Humans
  • Line Of Duty
  • Old School
  • How Not To Behave
  • The IT Crowd
  • Last Tango In Halifax
  • Australian Story
  • The Honourable Woman
  • Utopia
  • Catastrophe
  • Vera
  • Open Heart
  • Spooksville
  • Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb Vs Gravity
  • Finding Vivian Maier
  • First Position
  • Extreme Brat Camp
  • Peter Rabbit
  • Olivia

What is Audio Description?

Audio description (AD) is a verbal commentary that complements the underlying soundtrack of a television program, movie, DVD or live performance. It is designed to assist people with vision impairment and those with print, learning and physical disabilities to enhance their understanding of what is happening on screen.

The ABC is conducting a trial of audio description on its online catch-up television service, iview, for 15 months making 14 hours of AD content available per week.

From 14 April 2015 AD content has been accessible through the iview application on iOS compatible tablets and mobile devices. The iOS app will allow playback on a television if an Apple TV is connected (via AirPlay). Please note, closed captions will not be available in conjunction with AD when using AirPlay.

Following the launch in April, the ABC will progressively roll out AD services across other platforms including Android mobiles and tablets ; the ABC’s iview website (Sept) and HbbTV (Oct).

For more information on the ABC iview trial please go to ABC AD iview

audio recording of a recent discussion forum about the NDIS and Aged Care

The Association of Blind Citizens of NSW, is pleased to make available for download from its Website, an audio recording of a recent discussion forum about the NDIS and Aged Care.

This was a presentation by a panel of speakers, which provided information, and an opportunity for questions and answers from the audience, about how people who are blind or vision impaired can access disability services into the future.

The audio download is available from:


Rowena Dowling
Executive Officer
Association of Blind Citizens of NSW Inc.
4 Mitchell St Enfield NSW 2136
PO Box 1322 Burwood NSW 1805
Phone (02) 9744 1516


The My Aged Care Gateway

Information that may be relevant for BCA members who are over the age of 65 years.

The My Aged Care Gateway

This is the equivalent system of the National Disability Insurance Scheme for people aged over 65 years.

The My Aged Care website has been established by the Australian Government to help you navigate the aged care system. My Aged Care is part of the Australian Government’s changes to the aged care system which have been designed to give people more choice, more control and easier access to a full range of aged care services.

My Aged Care Gateway Website

My Aged Care is made up of this website and a contact centre. Together they can provide you with information on aged care for yourself, a family member, friend or someone you’re caring for. You can call the My Aged Care contact centre on 1800 200 422 between 8am and 8pm on weekdays and between 10am and 2pm on Saturdays. The My Aged Care contact centre is closed on Sundays and national public holidays.

You can expect our staff to be polite, helpful and knowledgeable and to provide:

^ prompt, reliable and confidential services.
^ clear information, which can be made available:
^ in languages other than English if you speak another language and need an interpreter Service
^ help to find Government-funded aged care services.
^ prompt resolution of any complaint or concern you have with My Aged Care.
^ in other formats if you have hearing difficulties or a vision impairment

People who are deaf or who have a hearing or speech impairment can contact My Aged Care through the National Relay Service in two easy steps:
Step 1: Visit the National Relay Service website to choose your preferred access point.
Step 2: Ask for My Aged Care on 1800 200 422.

Aged care changes from 1 July 2014
Aged care changes