Forest Gate student who suffered eye damage in crash creates accessible music software

PUBLISHED: 17:00 24 September 2020

Che Leader suffered permanent eye damage. Picture: Irwin Mitchell

Che Leader suffered permanent eye damage. Picture: Irwin Mitchell

Irwin Mitchell

A Forest Gate student whose left eye was permanently damaged in a car crash has created music software that can be used by people with visual impairments.

Ché Leader, 24, also sustained a split tongue, broken nose and chipped tooth when the car he was a front seat passenger in was involved in a collision with an oncoming vehicle on the way back from a music festival he had been performing at in August 2017.

He was taken to hospital where it was found Ché, who was due to begin studying for an integrated master’s degree in sound and design in Bristol that autumn, suffered an impairment to his vision depth perception caused by the traumatic injury.

But with a combination of support from his university and a six-figure settlement to help him access specialist therapies, Ché went on to pursue his studies and his passion for music.

Using accessible technology that he had worked on throughout his final year of university, Ché created an experience that allowed people with visual impairment to have control over electronic music whilst giving them the perception that they could almost feel the sound.

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He said: “I have had to go through a lot of operations on my eye and am now visually impaired, but the silver lining is that it inspired me to focus on developing applications for new software and take my studies and career aspirations in a different direction.

“My music project has been heavily inspired by my own visual impairment, as it made me realise how easy it can be to adapt everyday hobbies and practices to make them accessible.”

Ché finished his course earlier this year, obtaining a first, and spent part of his final year touring America with his music.

Despite his visual impairment he was able to live independently, including working part time at a coffee shop to support his studies.

He spoke out about his experiences to mark national eye health week - running from September 21 to 27 - and said: “The last few years have been really difficult for me.

“Following the accident, it would have been easy for me to just give up on my studying and moving to a completely new city, but I was determined to try and live as normal a life as possible despite my injuries and not let it delay my further education.

“I am still suffering the after effects of the accident, both physically and emotionally, almost three years on, but I am able to complete most things independently now, even though it often takes me longer than it did before.”

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