Jun 26 2018

Robin Walker

Professor Robin Walker, Department of Psychology has recently worked with Codica Ltd, a London-based digital product studio, to create the world-first RSS news reader for people suffering from Age-related Macular Degeneration (AMD). We caught up with Robin to understand more about the Ev News web app, what he hopes it will achieve, and what Honorary Fellow and AMD sufferer, Dame Judi Dench thinks about the new technology.

1. Could you tell us a bit more about yourself and your role within the Department of Psychology?

I arrived as a new lecturer here in July 1997 - long before many of the buildings!  At that time the Psychology department had fewer than 20 staff and only 80 students.  Since then I’ve had various roles and am presently involved with REF preparations as DoR.

2. Congratulations on creating EV News - a news reader for people suffering with AMD. Could you tell us a bit more about this app?

The idea behind the app is that by presenting the text as a single scrolling line will help people with macular degeneration be better informed about the news.  This project has involved support from the College and the Macular Society, and the app itself was developed in collaboration with Codica Ltd, a London based digital-production studio.

3. How does EV News work? And what do you hope it will achieve?

People with macular degeneration struggle to read as they have lost their central vision (for detailed analysis).  They can however, make use of their relatively well-preserved remaining peripheral vision.  The use of scrolling text can support reading when adopting the ‘eccentric viewing’ technique.

4. We hear that Honorary Fellow Dame Judi Dench (who suffers with AMD) has approved of the technology. What does she think of it?

Dame Judi Dench has AMD in both of her eyes and she's a good example of somebody who does find it easier to read with our app than normally. My family were amazed to watch the video of Dame Judi talking about my work!

5. Do you have any other research interests?

My main research interest is the human eye movement system and I have an excellent lab here that has a device to track people’s eye movements.

6. What do you enjoy doing outside of work?

I’m keen on cycling and enjoy dawdling around the country lanes of Kent where I live.

7. What’s your favourite term and Royal Holloway?

I particularly enjoy the summer term.