NCBI delighted to be Rethink Ireland beneficiary

Vision Ireland awardee innovate together fund 2020

Wednesday 23rd September 2020, NCBI (National Council for the Blind of Ireland) is delighted to be among the awardees of the Rethink Ireland programme from the Social Innovation Fund. This fund supports digital innovation and social connectedness two principles that are core to the NCBI Smart Hub for which NCBI received the funding.

Kyran O’Mahoney, NCBI Chief Technology Officer said “Winning the Rethink Ireland funding reinforces our belief that technology is a key enabler for people living with sight loss. This funding enables us to develop and deliver the NCBI Smart Hub which will utilise mainstream technology tailored to people who are blind or vision impaired. These types of inclusive platforms removes barriers and ensures equity of access to information and services for people with sight loss”.

The new NCBI Smart Hub will consolidate disability information, support and services onto smart devices that are affordable, accessible and inclusive. NCBI Labs, the technology function within NCBI, are building a new and innovative platform that allows disability information across multiple sources to be available through an App that will run on affordable smart devices such as Amazon Alexa / Google Home. Accurate and up to date information will be created, curated and managed giving those with sight loss a single, simple source of information.

In addition to the consolidation of disability information, these Apps will enable easy access to all NCBI Services that are available virtually. The NCBI Smart App will allow full integration with NCBI’s existing support services.

Mr O’Mahoney concluded “The Covid19 pandemic has already proven that technology removes the barriers and isolation for people with a disability and during the crisis, NCBI transitioned many of its services to a virtual model. Due to the affordability of these devices and the popularity of them within the sight loss and broader disability community, NCBI can remove another barrier to information and services and increase the reach to our service users.



For further information, please contact June Tinsley, Head of Communications on 01 8821917 or 087 9955076


Notes to Editor

NCBI is the national sight loss organisation, working for people with sight loss.

We provide practical and emotional support, rehabilitation services and other training designed to help people with sight loss to live independently and confidently.

Services Offered:

  • Emotional support and counselling for people struggling to come to terms with sight loss.
  • Rehabilitation training, including independent living skills and mobility training, which may include using a long cane. Loss of independence is the biggest issue facing people – NCBI gives back independence and builds confidence.
  • Advice and information.
  • Low vision solutions, such as magnifiers and other aids, to help people to read standard print.
  • Assistive technology advice and training to either magnify or read aloud what is on screen.
  • Library – large-print and audio books – giving back the joy of reading.
  • Employment advice.

As a charity NCBI must raise €3 million annually just to keep operating at current levels.