A Message from Lord Pickles and Lord Blunkett, followed by OXSIGHT's best practice article

The ability to listen and learn from one another has always been vital in parliament, in business and in most aspects of daily life. But at this particular moment in time, as national and global events continue to reiterate, it is uncommonly crucial that we forge new channels of communication and reinforce existing ones. The following article from OXSIGHT is an attempt to do just that. We would welcome your thoughts on this or any other Parliamentary Review article.

Blunkett signature Rt Hon The Lord David Blunkett
Pickles signature Rt Hon The Lord Eric Pickles


Highlighting best practice
Highlighting best practice
CEO Rakesh Roshan
Callum, 15, registered
blind – reading books
and interacting at school
OXSIGHT was born from a research project conducted by
co-founder Stephen Hicks while he was a fellow at the
University of Oxford. The purpose of the project, which
began in 2010, was to establish how smart camera systems or
machine vision can help visually impaired individuals to enhance
their remaining vision. It is important to note that 90 per cent
of people suffering from sight loss have some form of residual
vision. OXSIGHT technology is inspired by fundamental vision
science research undertaken at Oxford’s clinical neuroscience
It is estimated that approximately 1.3 billion people worldwide live with some
form of visual impairment and more than 2 million people in the UK are living with
sight loss. Common conditions that lead to sight loss include
retinitis pigmentosa
commonly referred to as “tunnel vision”, and age related macular degeneration, or
AMD, commonly known as “central vision loss”.
For those with tunnel vision the symptom presents a clear central image, anything
beyond this centre could be gone. For instance, if you were to look at the centre of
a darts board, the bullseye would be clear but the outer ring would not be visible.
We designed our first product for visually impaired users living with tunnel vision.
Since being released, the smart glasses have had outstanding user reviews,
suggesting that we have effectively brought a desirable product successfully to
market. Attached to the glasses is camera which feeds into two small prisms which
are placed in front of the user’s area of usable vision. These cameras provide a live
image which is then shrunk to fit onto these two screens.
»CEO: Rakesh Roshan
»Established in 2016
»Based in Oxford and London
»Services: Manufacture of
products to support the
visually impaired
»No. of employees: 24 in
Through this process of recording
and shrinking, everything that was
previously outside the user’s field
of view is suddenly visible. Powered
by computer vision algorithms, the
system manipulates the images in
real time, which further enhances the
visual experience. This idea was first
developed in 2010 and has since been
undergoing continual development.
Widening our scope
Our current and future products
maintain a perfect balance of
wearability, functionality and usability
– all of which are considered by users
to be vital criteria. One of the key
goals for this development has been
to create a variety of modes that
can assist users with specific issues.
For instance, many visually impaired
people are unable to identify edges
and differentiation between objects:
if there is a transparent glass placed
on a table, this would prove difficult
Our technology detects the object
and image manipulation modes can
highlight edges or enhance colours to
allow the users to locate the objects
and distinguish between colours.
Our aim was to build a product
which could help people maximise
their eyesight and improve their
independence within society and help
them back into work. The condition
we mainly target affects one in 4,000
people in the UK, we knew our
product had the potential to help tens
of thousands.
Combining hardware and
In 2016, OXSIGHT was spun out
from the University of Oxford.
While the software had been largely
completed, the product was still under
construction. The next step was to
develop a light frame to allow the user
to remain comfortable and the product
to remain discreet.
In 2018, we launched our first product,
OXSIGHT Prism, which was shortly
followed by OXSIGHT Crystal in the
same year. OXSIGHT Crystal was
designed to improve upon our previous
product, specifically by focusing on
improving sociability. By making the
screens transparent in front of the
user’s eyes, they can maintain eye
contact – which is fundamental for
effective social interactions.
When the company was initially
launched, we were operating from
a small office with a team of two.
We have grown significantly since
that time and now have two offices
in London and Oxford. Our London
site, which focuses on the technology
side of our product, now employs
The OXSIGHT Crystal
More than
people in the
UK are living
with sight loss
Highlighting best practice
Highlighting best practice
eight employees with our commercial
team, which is based in Oxford, now
employing 16 people. Our growth has
also led to international expansion
and we have also established offices in
India and China.
Feedback and continual
This expansion has been supported
by growing sales. Key to the growth
of our sales, and our increasing
popularity, is our system of
ambassadors and world-class customer
care for our users. These ambassadors,
who are visually impaired, provide us
with feedback and propose potential
improvements to our products.
Alongside providing us with invaluable
insight into the day-to-day experience
of our products, this network also
helps to spread awareness throughout
the low vision community. We produce
various marketing campaigns and
videos with our ambassadors, helping
to spread awareness and build a
strong working relationship with
The need to support growing
As a company that has grown from
nothing, we would like to see more
funding and market access support
for high growth companies. The UK
is not well poised to support these
businesses, especially those looking
to grow from revenues of £250,000
to around £1 million. Many growth
funds are searching for companies
who already have a revenue of £1
million and this excludes a number of
high-potential businesses, which get
trapped in a chasm. As a company that
is well-poised to generate significant
global social impact, we believe more
support could have been provided in
the UK business ecosystem.
Beyond this, we have found that
access to patients can be very
challenging, especially as our products
are not currently available on the
NHS. More widely, the NHS lacks the
necessary support network for those
suffering from visual impairment and
we believe this is an area with scope
for improvement. A lack of general
awareness, for example, often means
that patients are told there is nothing
the NHS can do and so charities are
left to support these individuals. With
further support from the government,
we could create a global health
brand that could supply solutions and
contribute to an amazing cause.
As we look to the future, we aim to
build highly adaptive superior smart
glasses for enhanced visual functions.
We will be launching new glasses for
AMD in Q2 2020. It is estimated that
by 2040, one in nine people will suffer
from AMD. These will be able to help
users read, perform small tasks, and
identify faces. This should help us to
expand into other areas of the market
and boost our reputation across the
low vision community.
By continuing to expand our reach,
and develop our products, we are
confident we can provide support to
many visually impaired people across
the UK, and beyond.
A lack of
often means
that patients
are often told
there is
nothing the
NHS can do
Anna, who has
, cooking a
meal independently for
the first time in years


This article was sponsored by OXSIGHT. The Parliamentary Review is wholly funded by the representatives who write for it. The publication in which this article originally appeared contained the following foreword from Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss's Foreword For The Parliamentary Review

By Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss

Even by the standards of the day –this has been one of the most exciting and unpredictable years in British politics.

The leadership election we’ve just seen marks a huge moment in our country’s history. This government is taking a decisive new direction, embracing the opportunities of Brexit and preparing our country to flourish outside the EU.

As international trade secretary, I’ll be driving forward work on the free trade agreements that are going to be a priority for the government. Free trade isn’t just an abstract concept bandied around by technocrats. It is crucial for a strong economy and for the ability of families to make ends meet. Free trade benefits people in every part of our country, as British firms export to new markets and people doing the weekly shop have access to a wider choice of goods at lower prices.

The essence of free trade is in the title: freedom. It’s about giving people the power to exchange their goods without heavy government taxation or interference. Commerce and free exchange are the engine room of prosperity and social mobility. I’m determined to tackle the forces who want to hold that back.

One of my priorities is agreeing an exciting new free trade deal with the US, building on the great relationship between our two countries and the Prime Minister and US President. But I’ll also be talking to other partners including New Zealand, Australia and fast-growing Asian markets.

And with the EU too, we want a friendly and constructive relationship, as constitutional equals, and as friends and partners in facing the challenges that lie ahead – a relationship based on a deep free trade agreement. Our country produces some of the world’s most successful exports, and the opportunity to bring these to the rest of the world should make us all excited about the future. It is this excitement, optimism and ambition which I believe will come to define this government.

For too long now, we have been told Britain isn’t big or important enough to survive outside the EU – that we have to accept a deal that reflects our reduced circumstances. I say that’s rubbish. With the right policies in place, we can be the most competitive, free-thinking, prosperous nation on Earth exporting to the world and leading in new developments like AI. To do that, we’ll give the brilliant next generation of entrepreneurs the tools they need to succeed. Since 2015, there has been a staggering 85 per cent rise in the number of businesses set up by 18 to 24 year olds – twice the level set up by the same age group in France and Germany. We’ll help them flourish by championing enterprise, cutting taxes and making regulation flexible and responsive to their needs.

As we do that, we’ll level up and unite all parts of the UK with great transport links, fibre broadband in every home and proper school funding, so everyone shares in our country’s success.

2019 has been the year of brewing economic and political revolution. 2020 will be the year when a revitalised Conservative government turbo charges the economy, boosts prospects for people across the country, and catapults Britain back to the forefront of the world stage.

Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss
Secretary of State for International Development