West Side Rag » New Lighthouse Guild Center lets people with sight loss try out the latest assistive devices

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Posted on March 12, 2022 at 3:32 p.m. by West Side Rag

Calvin W. Roberts, President and CEO of Lighthouse Guild, cuts the ribbon. Courtesy of the Lighthouse Guild.

By Lisa Kava

Lighthouse Guild, a non-profit organization located at 250 West 64th Street (near WEA), which provides services to people who are blind or visually impaired, opened a new 11,000 square foot technology center on Tuesday, March 8.

Lighthouse Guild Technology Center provides access to and training on state-of-the-art assistive devices that can be useful in everyday life.

Staff at the new technology center will meet with customers, provide vision assessments and help them choose a device to help them with their vision and needs. The center is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Appointments are mandatory and accessible to anyone with a visual impairment. Those wishing to make an appointment can call Lighthouse Guild at 1-800-284-4422.

“Make sure your insurance plan provides coverage for Lighthouse Guild,” the website advises. “Coverage varies by individual plan. Medicaid and New York State Medicare provide benefits for care here.

Lighthouse Guild client using OrCam MyEye technology, which reads text aloud, with an occupational therapist. Photograph by Ben Asen.

Some of the latest devices available at the Lighthouse Guild Technology Center include; OrCam MyEyewho reads the text aloud; IrisVisionthat fills in missing view areas; eye glassesthat help compensate for loss of central vision, and Freedom Scientific Onyx Desk Seta portable magnifying glass.

“I didn’t realize there were a lot of these different technological devices,” said Lighthouse Guild customer Emily. “The Technology Center opens the door to many possibilities that people might not have imagined before.”

A groundbreaking ceremony was held at the center on opening day. Participants had the opportunity to visit a “Smart Home” kitchen, equipped with voice-activated appliances, such as microwave ovens, ovens and refrigerators. Upper West Side officials present at the ceremony included council member Gale Brewer and Roberta Semer, senior chair of the Community Board 7 task force.

“Revolutionary advancements such as artificial intelligence, program learning, virtual reality, facial recognition and 5G are becoming available to benefit people who are blind and visually impaired,” said Calvin W. Roberts, president and chief management of Lighthouse Guild in a press release. “Our Technology Center is a hub connecting innovators and users to advance technology developments for our community and beyond.”

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