Google Accessibility Discovery Centre blog

Blind in Business had the fantastic opportunity to visit the Google Accessibility Discovery Centre in their St. Pancras office. In this space, various individuals such as engineers, researchers and product designers have developed a number of different accessible technologies that aim to break down the barriers that those with a disability have to face. Google have worked together with organisations such as the RNIB to help build the ADC, and the space will be used for research and collaboration purposes.

When we arrived at the ADC, we were given an introductory talk about the centre before being given a tour around some of the exhibits. There were two tactile displays of the letters ADC, one big and one small. It was explained that the larger display was a mistake but was kept on the wall to show how we can learn from making those mistakes and that we are always looking to improve. We then moved onto three video game stations which were specially adapted to become more accessible. Members of the group had the chance to experiment with the stations to see how they operated. Our tour guide then demonstrated to us other pieces of accessible technology that had been developed by Google. For example, we saw a light that had been adapted for those who are hearing impaired. The light would change colour depending on the situation. For example, it would turn blue if someone rang the doorbell, or it would turn red if a baby was crying. This would give the individual visual cues that assisted them in their day to day lives.

In terms of visual impairments, we were able to see assistive technology that enabled blind and partially sighted people to take a selfie. The phone would give voice commands that instructed the individual where to position the device for the perfect shot. Both of these pieces of technology were extremely intuitive and showcased how far accessibility and inclusion has come along in recent years.

Overall, we had a great experience at the Google Accessibility Discovery Centre. It is a fantastic space for other organisations to collaborate with Google and to learn more about assistive technology. We would highly recommend anyone who is interested to book a tour around the ADC and to learn more about it themselves!