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Talking Vision is Vision Australia Radio’s flagship program, discussing the latest news and issues from a blindness and low vision perspective.

In the lead up to the big game this coming Saturday, Sam catches up with Telstra head of sports technology Chris Harrop to chat about their 5G Touch and Track device, which has just taken one step closer to being available for fans to get their hands on at an AFL footy game!

5G Touch and Track is a tactile device built to enable AFL fans who are blind or have low vision to follow the game with a series of vibrations.

The ball is represented by a small ring that moves around a raised surface representing an Australian Rules football oval, so whether it’s under a pack in the centre square or down at a stoppage in the forward pocket they’ll be able to follow in real time.

"A user holding their hand over the Touch and Track device, showing the AFL playing field."
The Touch and Track device could revolutionise the way Australians who are blind or low vision experience the game.

In preliminary conversations with AFL fans who are blind or have low vision, Chris and his team found that audio input from a radio call was an important part of their gameday experience. However, the participants identified that there were certain elements of that experience which could be improved.

“Even with the best radio callers in the game, it’s often hard for those who or blind or have low vision to orientate themselves as to where the ball is on the field of play at any given moment,” Chris said.

“The idea was really borne out of that, to answer the question of how we can give a real time representation of what’s happening that can add to that experience,” he said.

Listen to the full interview here or in the player below:

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