Last month, Kirstyn Smith and Anne DeWitte spent an amazing morning at Planet Fitness in Penfield, New York discussing workout equipment accessibility for the visually impaired.
Access to exercise equipment is a problem for the visually impaired (The RNIB report).
There are over 100,000 people between ages 22-64 in NY with some type of visual impairment. (New York statistics on individuals with vision loss).
These statistics do not include all the baby boomers with cataracts and macular degeneration! This information shows that those with vision loss are a significantly under-served population.
An effort by Planet Fitness combined with a visually impaired consultant and the HALOS tactile overlays can make a big difference in the health and well-being of those with a visual impairment. What makes Planet Fitness a great fit is:
- Consistent equipment
- Attitude, “You Belong”
Kirstyn smith stated in a passionate testimonial: “With minimal training I was able to work up a sweat on the treadmill and elliptical! I can’t convey just how empowering it was to be able to feel my way through all the options these powerful machines offer. From individualized programs, to speed and incline, to the menu of TV channels, it was all at my fingertips (literally) and I didn’t need to ask for sighted assistance!”
Anne DeWitte and Tangible Surface Research are working on collaborating to exhibit accessible Planet Fitness equipment at the June 2019 American Council of the Blind national convention to be held in Rochester, New York.
Anne DeWitte is the founder of Tangible Surface Research, LLC
Anne is a product developer who concentrates on tactile interface projects. The majority of Tangible Surface Research, LLC company’s research and development serves the visually impaired community, most notably the HALOS tactile icon products. At the request of a Planet Fitness member, Anne is developing a silicone overlay for the treadmill and elliptical that uses a set of tactile icons to identify the exercise equipment features. The response to the overlay testing has been excellent! Anne looks forward to making these overlays available for all visually impaired people.