is to, ultimately, have the RoomMate fitted as standard in every disabled access toilet in the UK.
But we have to start somewhere so we're here to ask for your help to build the first 350 RoomMates and then tell us where you would like them fitted, this will go a long way to helping us prove the need for them.
So what is the RoomMate and how does it work?
Next time you're near a disabled toilet try this:
Before you open the door cover your eyes.
Now open the door and find your way around....
Sounds silly until you try it but this is the reality for the 1.8 million blind people, unless they are escorted, across the whole of the UK.
A number of places have piloted putting braille instructions on the walls and doors to help but not only do less than 1% of blind people read Braille but would you fancy touching everywhere in a toilet?
RoomMate is placed to the side of the toilet door and provides an audio description for a visually impaired person to help them navigate the new room.
- Radar based sensor detects occupant and turns the audio on or off
- Customised audio allows it to be fitted in to any toilet
- Mains powered for 24hr monitoring
The RoomMate isn't just another 'tick the box' exercise, it's been designed by a blind person to help others in the same position.
On entering the disabled access toilet an audio announcement is triggered and the unit advises that a recorded description of the room is available.
If the user is visually impaired and requires this description, they are then given the instruction to wave their hand in front of the unit to activate.
The unit is placed to the side of the door frame at mid-height and the initial announcement advises which side of the door the unit is placed and has the addition of 4 sonic pings after the announcement to guide the user to it.
There are 2 sets of identical phrases giving a sequenced description. The first set allows the visually impaired user to form a mental picture of the room, while the second set enables the user to navigate within the room.
This mains powered unit is delivered pre-programmed for each location and is therefore ready for immediate installation.
The volume is variable and thus set at the factory to allow for varying environmental noise factors.
If features within the facility are altered at any time, for refurbishment for example, in the future new instructions can be entered on-site.
Each RoomMate will cost £485 +vat when they become available for sale.
So what are we trying to achieve?
ADi Access was formed in October 2014 to research and develop life changing technology for the 1.8 milion people registered blind in the UK.
We launch The RoomMate to the general public on July 3rd and it is the brainchild of Helen & Steve who have lived with the impact of Steve's sight loss for the last 15 years.
Being very active in the community, Steve competes as a Gig rower, fisherman and rifle shooter, this has enabled them to float their ideas to others with visual impairment and their feedback directly led to the development of the Company’s launch product, the RoomMate, which has been designed exclusively for use in accessible toilets.
The Map and the app
For the duration of the Crowdfunder campaign we will add everyone who pledges to our cause to the map on our website so that it serves as a visual thank you to everyone who helps. Each pin can link directly to the pledger or your choice of destination and the colours denote how much you've helped.
As an added thank you, once the crowdfunding is complete the map will be re-titled 'Find a Business with an ADi unit' and, in conjunction with a specialist mobile app, the map will enable people to look for the units wherever they are situated.
With disability access awareness at an all-time high we are certain most will agree that a business promoting that they have an ADi unit on the premises will give them a lead against their competitors.
Purchased units will be represented by the Blue pin.
So far we've invested £25,000 in the project and the production model ( version 3 ) is ready to go.
Unlike a traditional sales plan we don't want to just tell people about the RoomMate and hope they risk buying one, we want to create such an impact that the unit becomes a must have for anyone with a disabled toilet.
We are convinced that Crowdfunding will help us to hit our initial target of £20,000 and build the first 100 RoomMates plus helping to place them where they can do their thing; but we also want to spread the word amongst people with the vision to see innovation and we believe that's you.
But we don't want it to stop at 100 either. Every £200 pledged will buy another RoomMate and if we can make it to 350 that would be awesome!
So you can help by pledging from £10 upwards yourself or get together and pledge as a group, remember, every £200 gets a RoomMate and puts it where you choose; or maybe you're part of a company that not only thinks ahead but likes to save a bit of money at the same time ( remember the RoomMate retails at £485 + vat ).
Whoever you are and however you would like to help, we'd like to hear from you.
Just some of the questions we've been asked
Q: Why hasn't this been done before?
A: We've asked ourselves this question a number of times and we don't have a definitive answer. The RoomMate was born through a combination of necessity and timing, as are many new products, and with the idea being such a simple one it's probably just a case of “it was bound to come along at some point”.
Q: Does the audio only come in English?
A: Default audio is in English but if you require a different national language for your RoomMate we would be delighted to work with you to make this happen.
Q: We are planning our building layout which includes a Disabled toilet. Does ADi offer a consultation service?
A: Practically every disabled access toilet on the planet is unique but all of them share a common theme in that they cannot cover every eventuality. We are keen to help maximise the accesibility of disabled toilets and would be delighted to help.
Q: Can the RoomMate be switched off?
A: The RoomMate is happy in sleep mode until it detects a visitor so power consumption is extremely low.
Last but but by no means least we our extremely proud to announce that Melissa Reid, Team GB and Current world No 1 Paratriathlete has kindly accepted our offer of becoming our Patron.
If you have any other questions we would be delighted to hear from you
So just to recap...
Join our mission to empower visually impaired people everywhere!