Features

The NHS and the Digital Age: How is it accessible for visually impaired people? Free article.

2 May, 2019

The NHS is moving into the Digital Age with connected health apps and services. But is it accessible to all?

Bitjam has been working with Klaudia Suchowiak, a blind person studying her third year at Keele University. Klaudia has dedicated her time through an internship to reflect on her experience of digital health services, highlighting the challenges of accessing public services faced by visually impaired people.

Here at Bitjam we like to be challenged. Klaudia’s valuable work has helped us to better understand how our design principles and understanding can and will have a positive impact on end users.

You can access the 2nd article in the series, free via the link below, all we ask is you pay back with a Tweet or LinkedIn post saying thank you.

Access the free article

We want to thank Klaudia for her all her amazing work with Bitjam, also Keele University for creating this opportunity plus Santander for their involvement in setting up the programme that has enabled this to happen.

The views in this article are personal to the author and reflect their experience, without bias from Bitjam Limited.

Interested in healthcare or education innovation? Call or get in touch with the Midlands-based Bitjam team, for all your software research and development needs.

Features

Digital NHS, perspectives from a sight impaired person: Free article.

18 Mar, 2019

According to the Royal National Institute of Blind People. “Every day 250 people start to lose their sight in the UK. As of 2015, more than two million people in the UK are living with sight loss that is severe enough to have a significant impact on their daily lives, such as not being able to drive.” Plus “As of 2014, there are around 350,000 people registered as blind or partially sighted in the UK. This is approximately 290,000 in England; 16,500 in Wales; around 8000 in Northern Ireland and 34,000 in Scotland (2010 figures). “

This impact also affects the individuals ability to access vital day to day health service.

We are witnessing a shift in how public sector is providing services for the public, the shift from physical services to online, digital connected services. Here at Bitjam we have been exploring this shift and attempting to understand it from the perspective of people with visual impairments.

To explore this area, we have been working with Klaudia Suchowiak who is a blind person studying her third year at Keele University. Klaudia has dedicated her time through an internship to explore this and create a series of articles highlighting the challenges of accessing public services faced by visually impaired people.

The articles will also draw on experiences of where public services and especially digital services have got things right.

You can access the article free via the link below, all we ask is you pay back with a Tweet or LinkedIn post saying thank you

Access free article

Over the next few weeks, Klaudia will be reviewing the applications and software we have designed and are currently working on, this will help us to better understand how our design principles and understanding can and will have a positive impact on end users.

We want to thank Klaudia for her amazing work with Bitjam, also Keele University for creating this opportunity plus Santander for their involvement in setting up the programme that has enabled this to happen.

The views in this article are personal to the author and reflect their experience without bias from Bitjam Limited.

Features

AI Series Part Two: Bitjam and Anna

1 Jun, 2018

Last year at Bitjam we launched a small in-house machine learning project to coincide with the ACAVA Studios: Spode Works open studios event. ANNA – a learning algorithm that analyses poetry and audibly delivers it in an old-fashioned regional Potteries dialect – was the result!

Once we had our idea we sat down and had a discussion about the possible complexity of the project. A fully fledged bespoke neural network is quite a lot of work so we decided to try to find some existing neural networks to base our work off of. We found a Recursive Neural Network (RNN) designed to take text input and after a large number of training cycles we then tried to get ANNA to output some meaningful ‘learned’ poetry.

ANNA was a python script based on a simple RNN. We fed in around 200 pages worth of potteries dialect poetry aiming to produce some sort of meaningful poetry. Anna ran through about 500 recursive cycles of the input text per “epoch” of learning for a total of around 30 epochs. An epoch is essentially a single full training cycle.

Challenges

The main challenge we faced was a shortage of data to feed into the RNN. So the next step for us was to source plenty of potteries dialect based poetry from poets past and present. First we tried to source as much poetry as possible from an online source, the main works we used were by Arnold Bennett. We then tried sourcing further poetry from Wilfred Bloor‘s sons Roger & Ian. Wilfred Bloor wrote over 400 Jabez tales in Potteries dialect (the Jabez character is a countryman living in the shadows of industrial Potteries). Finally, enter, Alan Barrett. Stoke-born writer, storyteller, poet, and actor who helped us train ANNA on the quirks and the peculiarities of the Potteries dialect. Thanks to the kind contributions of these people we managed to collect plenty of poetry that has been fed into ANNA.

Outcomes

The project was a lot of fun – especially since Alan Barrett remained on hand to help us deliver and chat about ANNA on the day of the open event! Our objective was only to take a playful look at neural networks and how they might be trained to learn local dialect. We didn’t exactly expect to achieve it, rather we were curious to see what the results might be. We got ANNA to recreate snippets of prose and dialect, and at times she successfully pieced together and understood some of the dialect.

You can read the original ANNA blog post and interview with Bitjam Senior Developer Liam Mountford, in more detail here.