By Lisa Kava
Lighthouse Guild, a nonprofit organization located at 250 West 64th Street (near WEA), which provides services to those who are blind or visually impaired, opened a new 11,000-square-foot technology center on Tuesday, March 8th.
Lighthouse Guild Technology Center provides access to and training on cutting-edge assistive devices which can be helpful in daily life.
Staff at the new technology center will meet with clients, provide vision assessments, and assist them in selecting a device to help with their vision and needs. The center is open Monday – Friday from 9 AM to 5 PM. Appointments are required and available to anyone who has a vision impairment. Those who wish to schedule an appointment can call Lighthouse Guild at 1-800-284-4422.
“Make sure your insurance plan provides coverage at Lighthouse Guild,” the website advises. “Coverage varies depending on the individual plan. Medicaid and New York State Medicare provide benefits for care here.”
Some of the latest devices which are available at Lighthouse Guild Technology Center include; OrCam MyEye, which reads text out loud; IrisVision, which fills in missing areas of sight; Eyedaptic Glasses, which help compensate for central vision loss, and Freedom Scientific Onyx Deskset, a portable magnifier.
“I didn’t know that a lot of these different technology devices existed,” said Emily, a client of Lighthouse Guild. “The technology center opens the door to a lot of possibilities people may not have thought possible before.”
A ribbon cutting ceremony was held at the center on opening day. Attendees had the opportunity to tour a “Smart Home” kitchen, complete with voice-activated appliances, such as microwaves, ovens and refrigerators. Upper West Side officials in attendance at the ceremony included Council Member Gale Brewer, and Roberta Semer, senior task force chair for Community Board 7.
“Game-changing advances like artificial intelligence, program learning, virtual reality, facial recognition and 5G are becoming available to benefit people who are blind and visually impaired,” Calvin W. Roberts, President and CEO of Lighthouse Guild said in a press release. “Our Technology Center is a hub connecting innovators and users to advance technological developments for our community and beyond.”