Dyslexia Box is a start-up based in the Allia Future Business Centre in Cambridge. It is at the forefront of innovation, using new technologies to help people with dyslexia to live a higher quality of life and reduce the day-to-day difficulties they are faced with. They provide assistive technology, workplace assessments, training and consultancy. Dyslexia Box is using tech for good in their endeavours to make the world more accessible for people with dyslexia, and Allia is proud to support the organisation.
Recent developments in assistive technology include the OrCam MyEye which is Dyslexia Box’s latest and most exciting product on sale; a wearable device that attaches to your glasses. When focusing on sentences and words, the MyEye reads it back to you; it uses artificial intelligence to read text, recognise faces, and identify products. It works offline but in real-time, which means no internet connection is needed. This product could be life-changing for many people with dyslexia and Dyslexia Box want to raise awareness of these kind of revolutionary technologies that are available.
We caught up with Operations Director Ben, to talk about his journey as an entrepreneur and how Dyslexia Box are improving the lives of others through tech for good.
You started Dyslexia Box earlier this year – how did you get to where you are today?
My previous employers were one of the largest assistive technology service providers in the UK and that’s where I learnt about marketing and became interested in it. After working with them for nearly ten years I decided that I’d like to have a go at doing things myself.
What challenges was Dyslexia Box faced with as a start-up?
From day one, Dyslexia Box had to compete with the largest companies in the UK assistive technology market. Our ecommerce and Access to Work operations put us in direct competition with companies who have been successful for decades so we had to adapt and basically ‘get good’ very quickly.
How has being part of the Allia Future Business Centre community helped you?
Being part of the Allia community has really helped across a number of scenarios. We’ve received advice on everything from contract writing to employment advice. There’s always someone in the building willing to give up ten minutes of their time.
How are Dyslexia Box improving the lives of others?
Our main focus is our workplace adjustment service which sees us provide an end-to-end solution to remove barriers and enable disabled employees to work more independently and productively. This begins with a workplace assessment by one of our accredited assessors who also provides suitable assistive technology, as well as training and coaching.
The workplace adjustment process is often managed by different companies for each step, whereas we manage the whole process from beginning to end. We supply a wide range of assistive technology products to schools, universities and local and national Government. We also supply directly to the end user through our ecommerce site and Amazon shop.
The OrCam MyEye uses Artificial intelligence – is this the direction you see tech going for people with dyslexia?
Investment in assistive technology to help people with dyslexia has stagnated over the past few years. More recently there have been a number of developments in AI being used to help people with a wide range of disabilities including dyslexia, and OrCam are at the forefront of that. With the right investment – and that’s key – the future development of assistive technology powered by AI could benefit millions of people around the world. And that can only be a good thing.
How do you see Dyslexia Box growing?
The number of working people with a disability is growing. Recently the Government’s own Access to Work scheme announced plans to increase the overall budget allowed for individuals to access the adjustments they need. We see our main area of growth being in the workplace and specifically working alongside companies to ensure their disabled employees have everything they need to do their jobs to the best of their ability. Dyslexia Box hopes to work in partnership with like-minded organisations around the world to achieve a fairer society for disabled people.
Find out more about Dyslexia Box
Allia aligns its work with the UN Sustainable Development Goals. This start-up supports:
Photo credit: Keith Heppell