Browse By Topic: Technology

During Low Vision Awareness Month: Learn More About Helpful Non-Optical Devices for Low Vision

As we age, our eyes change too. In most cases, regular eyeglasses or contact lenses can correct many of these vision changes. However, if your eye doctor tells you that your vision cannot be fully corrected with ordinary prescription glasses, medication, or surgery and you still have some usable vision, you have what is called "low vision." What Is Low Vision? Having low vision means that even with regular glasses, contact lenses, medication, or surgery, you may find it difficult to perform everyday tasks, such as


New Glaucoma Research: Will Patients and Family Members Pay for a Glaucoma-Specific App? Not Likely, Results Say

New – and highly relevant – research from the Wills Eye Glaucoma Research Center, in collaboration with Drexel University, sought to "evaluate the interest of glaucoma patients and their caregivers in a smartphone-based and tablet-based glaucoma application" (app) that contained a range of features (explained below) designed to (a) increase patients' level of knowledge about glaucoma and (b) improve their adherence to medication and follow-up appointment recommendations. Their research results, which are applicable to doctors, patients, family members, rehabilitation


New Research from Google Labs: Using Machine Learning to Detect Diabetic Eye Disease

The highly regarded Research Labs at Google are charged with "tackling the most challenging problems in computer science and related fields," including eye care and ophthalmology. A groundbreaking project, announced in 2014 and still in development, was the creation of a prototype "smart" contact lens to monitor blood glucose levels continuously for people with diabetes.


My Path to OrCam, Part 2

Editor's note: This is Part 2 of a blog post about Holly Bonner's experience with OrCam, a wearable assistive technology solution for individuals who are blind and visually impaired. To learn more about OrCam, read My Path to OrCam, Part 1. This blog was originally posted on Holly's blog, Blind Motherhood. My Path to OrCam, Part 2 During one of the hottest weeks in August, I arranged for my OrCam demonstration with Dr. Bryan


New Job Search and Interviewing Techniques for Visually Impaired Job Seekers

Editor's note: During National Disability Employment Awareness Month, VisionAware is highlighting employment resources and strategies for people who are blind or visually impaired. A key piece of getting a job is the application process. Today that means applying online. Applying Online: A Major Challenge for Older Workers by Neva Fairchild One challenge older workers experience when looking for employment is being able to apply for jobs online. Back in the day, you were able to walk


What's New in iOS 10 Accessibility for Blind, Low Vision, and Deaf-Blind Users Part 1: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and the Coordinator of the New York Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, administered by the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. The Program provides no-cost communication and technology training to persons with significant combined vision and hearing loss who meet federal income guidelines. Equipment can include smartphones, tablets, computers, screen readers, braille readers, and adaptive


What's New in iOS 10 Accessibility for Blind, Low Vision, and Deaf-Blind Users Part 2: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and the Coordinator of the New York Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, administered by the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. The Program provides no-cost communication and technology training to persons with significant combined vision and hearing loss who meet federal income guidelines. Equipment can include smartphones, tablets, computers, screen readers, braille readers, and


The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) 21st Century Agenda on Aging and Vision Loss Is Moving Forward!

The 21st Century Agenda on Aging and Vision Loss: Some Background AFB began a "national conversation" on aging and vision loss over a year ago in anticipation of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging. As noted in our post on the outcome of the conference, AFB and other stakeholders have been extremely concerned that aging and vision loss issues have not been addressed in any significant way on a national level: "Older persons with vision problems should not be sidelined or forgotten because of their inability to engage – due to


There is Hope; There is Help: Part 1 in a Series on Low Vision and Low Vision Services by Bryan Gerritsen, CLVT

Guest blogger Bryan Gerritsen is a certified low vision therapist (CLVT) and owner of Low Vision Rehabilitation Services, providing low vision services throughout Utah. He is also the author of An Overview of Low Vision Devices,


H.R.729: The Medicare Demonstration of Coverage for Low Vision Devices Act of 2015 Needs Your Advocacy and Support

Mark Richert, Esq., Director, and Rebecca Sheffield, Ph.D., Senior Policy Researcher, from the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Public Policy Center have announced the introduction of new federal legislation that seeks to establish a nationwide Medicare demonstration project to evaluate the fiscal impact of a permanent change in Medicare coverage that would, for the first time, provide reimbursement for low vision devices. The AFB


Meet Dr. Gislin Dagnelie and Dr. Duane Geruschat: Pioneers in the Study of Restored and Prosthetic Vision

Gislin Dagnelie, Ph.D., is an Associate Professor of Ophthalmology in the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and the associate director of the Lions Vision Research and Rehabilitation Center, a division of the Johns Hopkins Wilmer Eye Institute. His work over the last 20 years has been supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation,


New Research Explained: Restoring Vision Following Long-Term Blindness: Prosthetic Vision and Considerations for Rehabilitation

During the past several years, there has been much "buzz" in the popular press about the capabilities of the so-called "bionic" eye, described variously as "miraculous," "restoring sight," and "letting me see again." At VisionAware, we have followed the development of "bionic" or "prosthetic" vision closely, avoiding hyperbole and striving to report factual, research-based information about the limitations of restored vision. Now, in this month's edition of the Journal of Vision Impairment & Blindness, two researchers who are pioneers in the study of prosthetic vision analyze the current state of the art in


Ten New Tips for Braille Users of iDevices: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and the Coordinator of the New York Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, administered by the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. The Program provides no-cost communication and technology training to persons with significant combined vision and hearing loss who meet federal income guidelines. Equipment can include smartphones, tablets, computers, screen readers, braille readers, and adaptive software.


Enrollment News about the New PIVOT Study: Patient-centric Innovative Vision Home Testing

The PIVOT Study (Patient-centric Innovative Vision HOme Testing) is a new clinical study that is being initiated to determine if persons with diabetic macular edema (DME) or wet age-related macular degeneration (wet AMD) can use the myVisionTrack™ (mVT™) mobile medical application (also called


A VoiceOver User's Guide to Apple's "3D Touch" Feature on the New iPhone 6s and 6s Plus: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and the Coordinator of the New York Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, administered by the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. The Program provides no-cost communication and technology training to persons with significant combined vision and hearing loss who meet federal income guidelines. Equipment can include


What's New in iOS 9 Accessibility for Blind and Deaf-Blind Users Part 2: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and the Coordinator of the New York Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, administered by the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. The Program provides no-cost communication and technology training to persons with significant combined vision and hearing loss who meet federal income guidelines. Equipment can include smartphones, tablets, computers, screen readers, braille readers, and adaptive


What's New in iOS 9 Accessibility for Blind and Deaf-Blind Users Part 1: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and the Coordinator of the New York Deaf-Blind Equipment Distribution Program, administered by the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. The Program provides no-cost communication and technology training to persons with significant combined vision and hearing loss who meet federal income guidelines. Equipment can include smartphones, tablets, computers, screen readers, braille readers, and adaptive


Meet Doug Anzlovar and the New "Low Vision Focus @ Hadley" Program at The Hadley School for the Blind

Doug Anzlovar is the Vice President of Education and Training at The Hadley School for the Blind, where he serves as a member of the administrative team, oversees a 31-member faculty, is involved in curriculum decisions and policy development, and oversees the Low Vision Focus @ Hadley program. Prior to joining Hadley, Doug worked as a teacher of the visually impaired in the Chicago Public Schools for nearly 10 years. While at Walter Payton College Preparatory High School in Chicago, Doug developed a resource program for students with visual impairments and later became chair


A Summary of the White House Conference on Aging Issues and Initiatives: Part One

Guest blogger Priscilla Rogers, Ph.D. is the Program Manager for VisionAware and co-author of Aging and Vision Loss: A Handbook for Families. Her other works include Self-Advocacy Skills Training for Older Individuals Who Are Visually Impaired and Solutions for Success: A Training Manual for Working with Older People Who Are Visually Impaired. She has an M.A. degree in gerontology and a Ph.D. in special education with an emphasis in vision and aging. The 2015 White House Conference on


Download the VisionConnect App Today and Take the VisionAware Challenge

Guest blogger Priscilla Rogers, Ph.D. is the Program Manager for VisionAware and co-author of Aging and Vision Loss: A Handbook for Families. Her other works include Self-Advocacy Skills Training for Older Individuals Who Are Visually Impaired and Solutions for Success: A Training Manual for Working with Older People Who Are Visually Impaired. She has an M.A. degree in gerontology and a Ph.D. in special education with an emphasis in vision and aging. About the New VisionConnect™


New Research: The Argus II Retinal Prosthesis (Bionic Eye) Is Safe, Effective, and Improves Visual Function

New clinical trial results from the Argus II Study Group, an international consortium of eye and vision researchers, confirm that the Argus II, also called the "bionic eye," is a safe, reliable, and effective device that "significantly improves visual function and quality of life for people blinded by retinitis pigmentosa." The latest research, entitled Long-Term Results from an Epiretinal [i.e, "on," "upon," "near," or "against" the retina] Prosthesis


Calling All Advocates: White House Conference on Aging Set for July 13, 2015

Guest blogger Priscilla Rogers, Ph.D. is the Program Manager for VisionAware and co-author of Aging and Vision Loss: A Handbook for Families. Her other works include Self-Advocacy Skills Training for Older Individuals Who Are Visually Impaired and Solutions for Success: A Training Manual for Working with Older People Who Are Visually Impaired. She has an M.A. degree in gerontology and a Ph.D. in special education with an emphasis in vision and aging. The 2015 White House Conference on


Meet Dan Roberts, Developer of the "LowViz Guide" Indoor Wayfinding Application

Dan Roberts, M.M.E., is the Founding Director of MD Support, Inc. and the International Low Vision Support Group. He is the editor-in-chief of Living Well with Low Vision, an extensive online resource center affiliated with Prevent Blindness. In addition to heading MD Support and the International Low Vision Support Group, Dan is a resource consultant for the Macular


Be My Eyes App Lets You Help People Who Are Visually Impaired Using Your iPhone

By John Henahan, O.D. I Love Being an Eye Doctor I love being an eye doctor! Helping people experience the richness of life by giving them the best possible vision brings me a strong sense of satisfaction and purpose. But sometimes, people lose vision despite our best efforts. Sometimes, people are born with blindness or serious vision impairment. As eye doctors, we have a variety of special tools available to us to help those with vision impairment, but sometimes there is no substitute for a pair of eyes to see something. That is one reason why people who are blind and visually impaired have flocked to smartphones, especially Apple’s iPhone. By initiating a


Can "Audio Film" Provide a Richer Film Experience than an Audio Description Soundtrack?

Researchers at Anglia Ruskin University in the United Kingdom are attempting to develop an alternative to the traditional – and widely used – audio description techniques for blind and visually impaired filmgoers. The research team's long-term goal is to provide a more immersive, inclusive, and entertaining film experience as they explore ways to tell a story on film without the need for visual elements or an audio description track. The proposed format, called "audio film," focuses on innovative sound design techniques and the creative use of surround sound instead of a conventional audio description soundtrack. The foundation for this


Progress Update: United States Accessible Currency Project for Blind and Visually Impaired Persons

Last week, I received the following update on the United States Treasury Department's long-term and ongoing project to create paper currency (i.e., banknotes) that is independently accessible by people who are blind and/or have low vision. Excerpted from Nationwide Release of the BEP's U.S. Currency Reader Program to Help the Blind and Visually Impaired: The Department of the Treasury's Bureau of Engraving and Printing (BEP) is accepting and processing applications


A Progress Update: the OrCam Wearable Visual System

During the past several months, I have received a number of inquiries from readers about the status of the OrCam: A Portable, Wearable Visual System for Blind and Visually Impaired Persons. When the OrCam was initially released in 2013, the parent company indicated that the OrCam would begin shipping 100 units in the fall of 2013, with further production unfolding in late 2013 and early 2014. That projected schedule has been delayed, however, and readers have begun to question both the company and the product; thus, I took


What's New in iOS 8 Accessibility Part 2: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a regional representative for the Region 8 Rocky Mountain area with the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Most recently, Scott compiled his personal picks for book-reading apps and


What's New in iOS 8 Accessibility Part 1: Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a regional representative for the Region 8 Rocky Mountain area with the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Most recently, Scott compiled his personal picks for book-reading apps and


Film Lovers! The Department of Justice Wants to Hear from You About Audio Description

On August 1, 2014, the United States Department of Justice issued the following notice of proposed rulemaking regarding Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability by Public Accommodations—Theaters, Movie Captioning, and Audio Description: Summary: The Department of Justice (Department) is issuing this notice of proposed rulemaking (NPRM) in order to propose amendments to its regulation for title III of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), which


Google's Prototype "Smart Contact Lens": Measuring Blood Glucose Levels for People with Diabetes

Earlier this year, Google unveiled a prototype "smart" contact lens to monitor blood glucose levels contained in human tears. The Smart Contact Lens Project, which had been percolating in the top-secret Google X lab for several years, debuted a potential, although long-term, solution for effective blood glucose control in people with diabetes. January 2014: Google Unveils the Smart Contact Lens Here is an excerpt from the January 2014 announcement, via the official


New Research: An Innovative Simulator Evaluates Eye Diseases and Driving Performance

The University of California, San Diego School of Medicine is the first ophthalmology department in the country to feature a fully dedicated, high-fidelity, realistic driving simulator to evaluate the effects of visual impairment, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, on an individual's driving performance. The UC San Diego driving simulatorSource: UC San Diego Health System Newsroom Located in the Visual Performance Laboratory of the


Meet the Vision Institute and StreetLab: Vision Research, Simulations, and Education in Paris

During Vision Research Month, it gives me great pleasure to highlight the work of the Vision Institute of Paris and its subsidiary StreetLab. Both organizations are committed to ongoing vision research, with StreetLab featuring complementary and innovative outreach methods to enhance accessibility, inclusion, public awareness, and education. The Vision Institute of Paris (L'Institut de la Vision de Paris) Located in the center of Paris, the Vision Institute is an interdisciplinary research center that addresses eye diseases, vision loss, environmental modification, and daily living skills through the


Out of Sight, Out of Mind: Is It Cognition or Is It Vision Loss? by Guest Blogger DeAnn Elliott

DeAnn Elliott is a blogger for The Carroll Center for the Blind in Newton, Massachusetts, where she graduated in 2007 after losing her eyesight to retinitis pigmentosa. Via her posts to The Carroll Center blog and other sites, DeAnn explores the adventures and challenges of vision loss as it relates to family life, employment, rehabilitation training, disability advocacy, and sometimes dogs. Learn more about DeAnn at The


My Top Book-Reading Apps for Braille Users by Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Most recently, Scott compiled his top picks for news apps that are user-friendly and accessible to braille users. This week, Scott reviews his personal picks for the top book-reading apps for braille users.


My Top App Picks for iDevices by Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team and Accessibility Specialist

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Most recently, Scott compiled his Top Ten List of useful tips for braille users of the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, based upon his personal experience and his work


Part 2: Ten Braille Tips for iDevices by Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team and Accessibility Specialist

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Previously, Scott has reviewed new accessibility features in iOS 7, RoboBraille, and the Humanware Communicator app. In his latest review, Scott


Part 1: Ten Braille Tips for iDevices by Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team and Accessibility Specialist

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Previously, Scott has reviewed new accessibility features in iOS 7, RoboBraille, and the Humanware Communicator app In his latest review, Scott has


Researchers in the United Kingdom Create Viable Retinal Cells via Inkjet Printing Technology

Here is some interesting – and startling – scientific news as we enter 2014: Researchers from the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom have used inkjet printing technology to successfully print retinal cells. The results provide "proof of concept" that an inkjet printer can be used to print two types of retinal cells from adult rats: ganglion cells and glial cells. Ganglion cells are a type of nerve cell that is found in the retina. Glia are non-nerve cells that provide support and protection for neurons in the brain and nervous system. This


Guest Blogger Jeremiah Taylor Goes to the Movies with a New Descriptive Audio Narration System

Guest blogger Jeremiah Taylor (pictured at left with his wife Jo-Ann) is the founder and CEO of ProActive Sales, Inc., a full-service sales management company. In 1999, Jeremiah became suddenly and totally blind as a result of complications during routine back surgery. You can read more about Jeremiah's (and Jo-Ann's) long, steady, and inspirational journey – from sudden blindness through rehabilitation to full employment – at the VisionAware website. In addition to his talents as a dynamic sales professional and motivational speaker,


An Interview with Dr. Yonatan Wexler, Head of Research and Development at OrCam

VisionAware is pleased to speak with Dr. Yonatan Wexler, the head of Research and Development at OrCam, an Israeli start-up company founded in 2010 by Amnon Shashua, Sachs Professor of Computer Science at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The mission of OrCam is to develop a "portable, wearable visual system with 'human-like' capabilities" for blind and visually impaired persons, via the use of artificial computer intelligence and augmented reality. The OrCam is based on a computer algorithm that Professor Shashua has pioneered with Dr. Wexler and


Part 3: What's New in iOS 7 by Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team and Accessibility Specialist

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. This month, Scott is reviewing the new iOS 7 release from Apple, with an emphasis on accessibility features for individuals who are blind, deaf-blind, or have low vision. iOS is Apple's mobile operating system, or OS. Originally developed for the iPhone, it has since been extended to support


Part 2: What's New in iOS 7 by Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team and Accessibility Specialist

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Previously, Scott has reviewed RoboBraille: Enhancing Document Accessibility, and the Humanware Communicator app, which facilitates communication between deaf-blind and sighted and hearing users. This


Part 1: What's New in iOS 7 by Scott Davert, AppleVis Editorial Team and Accessibility Specialist

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is an AppleVis Editorial Team Member and a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults. Previously, Scott has reviewed RoboBraille: Enhancing Document Accessibility, and the Humanware Communicator app, which facilitates communication between deaf-blind and sighted and hearing users. This


Adding Technology to the Mix: Remaining the Master of Your Tools

Editor's Note: Our guest blogger, Karen Gourgey, is the director of the Computer Center for Visually Impaired People (CCVIP) at Baruch College, an agency of the month for VisionAware. Observations on Technology I read with interest Dianna Noriega's blog post Confessions of a Reluctant Technology User published a couple of months back on the VisionAware site. She and increasing numbers of individuals who are blind are using mainstream accessible technologies as their primary tools for access, especially in the work place. Our technology center CCVIP at Baruch College, City


Google Glass Applications for Blind and Visually Impaired Users

Brandyn White and Andrew Miller are computer science Ph.D. students and the principals of Dapper Vision, which provides "computer vision consulting and development with a focus on web-scale, mobile, and cloud applications." They are also spearheading, via Dapper Vision, the OpenGlass Project, which is using emerging Google Glass technology to develop applications that can help blind and visually impaired users identify objects and environments via crowd-sourcing technologies and feedback. About Google Glass: the Basics


Ford Motor Company and University of Cambridge: Research on Driving and Age-Related Vision Changes

The Ford Motor Company is teaming with the University of Cambridge Engineering Design Center to create automobile controls and displays that are responsive to the needs of the growing numbers of adults with age-related vision changes. Age-Related Vision Changes Just as the body undergoes age-related changes, our eyes undergo similar age-related changes as well. Many of these vision and eye changes are normal and are not caused by disease or illness. They can, however, make it difficult to perform many everyday activities, such as reading small print and seeing


Brain Research and Vision: Can You See by Hearing?

Cognitive scientists in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands have published initial research results about the "vOICe," a sensory substitution device (SSD) that could someday compensate for vision loss, in the June 2013 issue of Frontiers in Cognitive Science. The vOICe (at left) is a visual-to-auditory SSD that encodes images taken by a camera worn by the user into "soundscapes," enabling users to extract information about their surroundings. The Frontiers group is an open-access, peer-reviewed academic publisher and


Out of the Whirlpool: The Story of a Suicide Survivor and the Rebuilding of a Life (Part 3)

In honor of Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (VRT) Appreciation Week (June 23-29), VisionAware is featuring the work of talented VRTs throughout the United States. Sue Wiygul Martin has worked in the field of blind rehabilitation for over 20 years as a Vision Rehabilitation Therapist (VRT), a Low Vision Therapist (LVT), and an assistive technology specialist.


The OrCam: A Portable, Wearable Visual System for Blind and Visually Impaired Persons

OrCam is an Israeli start-up company, founded in 2010 by Amnon Shashua, Sachs Professor of Computer Science at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. The mission of OrCam is to develop a "portable, wearable visual system with 'human-like' capabilities" for blind and visually impaired persons, via the use of artificial computer intelligence and augmented reality. The OrCam (pictured at left) is based on computer algorithms that Professor Shashua has pioneered with Shai Shalev-Shwartz, a Hebrew University colleague, and


My Excellent Experience as a Hadley School for the Blind "Ambassador"

On May 13 and 14, it was my privilege to attend the Hadley Ambassador Training Program at Hadley School for the Blind in Winnetka, Illinois. The mission of Hadley is to promote independent living through lifelong distance education programs for people who are blind or visually impaired, their families, and blindness service providers. About Hadley School for the Blind Mr. William A. Hadley (at left) was a college and high school educator and


Reaching Out: How You Can Help App Developers Improve Accessibility

The following article is excerpted, with permission, from the April 2013 issue of AccessWorld®: Technology and People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, the monthly online magazine from American Foundation for the Blind (AFB). In Reaching Out: How You Can Help App Developers Improve Accessibility, author Bill Holton offers a number of suggestions for communicating more effectively with app developers, including a helpful list of Dos and Don'ts. At left is the logo for the


Disability Employment and a "Thumbs Up" for Roger Ebert

Guest blogger DeAnn Elliott graduated from the Independent Living program at The Carroll Center for the Blind in 2007 after losing her eyesight to retinitis pigmentosa. She lives in the Boston area with her teenage daughter, their cat, and her guide dog, Emmy, a playful black lab. In Disability Employment and a "Thumbs-Up" for Roger Ebert, which first


myVisionTrack: An At-Home App for Monitoring Eye Disease Receives FDA Clearance

myVisionTrack™ is a hand-held, prescription-only medical device, provided as an app for the iPhone 4S, that has received clearance by the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) on March 24, 2013 to be marketed as an at-home method for monitoring the progression of degenerative eye diseases, such as macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. The myVisionTrack™ medical device is produced by Vital Art and Science (VAS),


Virtual Gaming Environment Helps Blind Persons Improve Navigation Skills and Cognitive Abilities

A new study in the March 2013 issue of the Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE), explores the potential of a virtual gaming environment to help blind individuals improve their navigation skills and develop a cognitive spatial map of unfamiliar buildings and public locations. The Journal of Visualized Experiments (JoVE) is the first (and still only) PubMed-indexed, peer-reviewed journal devoted to publishing scientific research in a video format. Using an international network of videographers, JoVE films


My Commitment to Professional Growth by Guest Blogger Laurel Leigh, COMS

Laurel Leigh is a certified Orientation and Mobility Specialist (COMS) with the New Jersey Commission for the Blind and Visually Impaired. Orientation and Mobility (O&M) is a profession specific to blindness and low vision that teaches safe, efficient, and effective travel skills to people of all ages. Laurel's article, entitled "Personal Reflections on AER Membership: A Commitment to Personal Growth," appears in the Winter 2013 edition


The American Foundation for the Blind Introduces Described TV Listings

From a March 8, 2013 press release from the American Foundation for the Blind: Finding described television shows just got much easier. As part of the Twenty-first Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, several of the most popular television networks have made certain prime-time and children's programs accessible to viewers with vision loss by adding video description. To help


Monster.com to Provide Full Access to Blind and Visually Impaired Job Seekers

Monster.com will be the first job search and recruitment website in the industry to provide job seekers who are blind with full and equal access to all of its products and services including mobile applications. Monster.com provides a full array of job seeking, career management, recruitment, and talent management products and services in more than 40 countries. Monster.com and Accessibility Here is more information from the National Federation of the Blind announcement: "Over the


"On Becoming Illiterate" by New Zealand Author Lynley Hood

Guest blogger Lynley Hood, MSc LittD, lives in New Zealand. She is a scientist by training and a writer by occupation with a literary doctorate. Two of her four books have won New Zealand's premier book award. In 2009, Lynley developed visual impairment that compromises her ability to read. You can learn more about Lynley's background and work at her website and on her VisionAware Peer Advisor page. The following post is excerpted from


The White House Announces Audio Descriptions for Public Tours

On January 24, 2013, the White House Visitors Office announced the availability of an audio described White House tour, in response to the ongoing accessibility concerns and needs of Americans who are blind, visually impaired, have low vision, or are otherwise print-disabled. Here is more information from the White House blog: The White House Announces Audio Descriptions for Public Tours President Obama and the First Lady have long been committed to ensuring that the White House is truly the


The iCanConnect Campaign Supports Accessible Technology for Deaf-Blind, Low-Income Individuals

The new iCanConnect campaign will provide support for the local distribution of accessible communications technology for low-income individuals with combined hearing and vision loss. The following article is adapted, with permission, from the January 2013 issue of AccessWorld®: Technology and People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired, the monthly online magazine from American Foundation for the Blind. AccessWorld presents objective information, informed commentary, and cutting-edge news and trends about information technology and visual


The Importance of Braille Literacy: An Open Letter to the New York Times from Daniel Aronoff

Guest blogger Daniel Aronoff is New York City's premier blind food critic. You can read about his culinary experiences at The Real Blind Taste Test© blog and @blindblog on Twitter. Daniel received the People's Choice Award in the Dining and Entertainment category of CBS New York's Most Valuable Blogger Awards 2011. Following is Daniel's response to Listening to Braille: With New


Glaucoma, Reading Speed, and Possible E-Reading Applications

A recent study has examined the relationship between reading speed and bilateral [i.e., both eyes] visual field loss from glaucoma and relates the findings to potential applications in e-reading technology, such as the iPad or Kindle. The Association for Research in Vision & Ophthalmology Difficulty with Out-loud and Silent Reading in Glaucoma has been published online ahead-of-print in Investigative Ophthalmology


Why I Don't Use the iPhone by Empish Thomas, Center for the Visually Impaired in Atlanta

Guest blogger Empish J. Thomas is the public educator for the Center for the Visually Impaired (CVI) in Atlanta, where she organizes tours, exhibits, presentations and speaking engagements. She also posts on CVI's SightSeeing Blog and the CVI community bulletin board. In addition, she talks with potential clients, medical professionals, social service representatives, family members and others about the services that CVI can offer. In her spare time, she is a career columnist for


Digital Tablets Can Improve Speed and Ease of Reading for People with Moderate Vision Loss

An innovative new study exploring the potential of the iPad and other back-lighted digital tablet devices to increase the reading ability and reading speed of persons with low vision was presented at the 2012 American Academy of Ophthalmology Annual Meeting, held from November 10-13 in Chicago, Illinois. The study, conducted at the Robert Wood Johnson Medical School in New Jersey and led by associate clinical professor Daniel Roth, M.D., concluded that subjects with


The Blinded Veterans Initiative at the Hadley School for the Blind

The goal of the Blinded Veterans Initiative at The Hadley School for the Blind is to educate and inspire blind or visually impaired veterans to pursue their personal and professional goals and help support their families. This innovative veteran outreach program is tuition-free for all blind and visually impaired veterans and their family members. About the Hadley Blinded Veterans Initiative Veterans can enroll in any of 100+ Hadley distance education courses. Core subjects emphasized through this new initiative include business and


An Internet Community for Blind Veterans at the Serotek Corporation

The Serotek Corporation is dedicated to "accessibility anywhere" for blind and visually impaired people around the globe. Serotek is led by a staff of "blind visionaries" who are dedicated to expanding an accessible digital lifestyle through innovative, affordable, and easy-to-use products that are based upon universal design principles. About Serotek's SAMNet SAMNet (System Access Mobile Network) is Serotek's Internet community that provides access to email, news, described video service, digital talking book players, blogs, personal web sites, and many other


A "New Perkins" Expands Its Mission and Commitment to Braille Literacy and Employment

Because I have long admired the work of Perkins School for the Blind, I was pleased to read the following press release from Perkins President Steven M. Rothstein: On October 15, 2012, Perkins School for the Blind announced that it is streamlining its name to simply "Perkins." The name change comes after a year-long exploration within the Perkins community. The name "Perkins" supports the


What Does the Future Hold?

I recently read a USA Today series, "The Next 30 Years" (September 30, 2012) regarding the future. As I read, I wished my grandmother were around to enjoy the predictions. She reveled in talking about how many changes occurred in her lifetimefrom riding her pony to school to learning to drive her first T-model, to taking a plane to Paris, to using a CCTV or electronic magnifier, as we know it today, to read the old-fashioned newspaper. Intrigued with the prognostications, I thought I would share a few with you for you to reflect on how the changes suggested will impact your life as person with vision loss, family member or professional in the field living in the 21st Century! Smaller homes, smaller yards, smaller cars, walking more, driving


Flying High on the Internet: One Story of Accessibility Well-Implemented

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC) in Sands Point, New York. This week, Scott reviews Gogo Inflight Internet. Scott's prior reviews include Apple's recent iOS 6 release and RoboBraille:


What's New in Accessibility with Apple's iOS 6: Part 2

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC) in Sands Point, New York. This week, Scott reviews the new iOS 6 release from Apple. iOS is Apple's mobile operating system, or OS. Originally developed for the iPhone, it has since been extended to support other Apple devices, such as the iPod touch and iPad. In June 2010, Apple rebranded the iPhone OS as simply


What's New in Accessibility with Apple's iOS 6: Part 1

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC) in Sands Point, New York. This week, Scott reviews the new iOS 6 release from Apple. iOS is Apple's mobile operating system, or OS. Originally developed for the iPhone, it has since been extended to support other Apple devices, such as the iPod touch and iPad. In June 2010, Apple rebranded the iPhone OS as simply


A Review of the Humanware Communicator App by Scott Davert, Helen Keller National Center: Part 2

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC) in Sands Point, New York. Previously, Scott reviewed RoboBraille: Enhancing Document Accessibility, and vision enhancements and hearing and


A Review of the Humanware Communicator App by Scott Davert, Helen Keller National Center: Part 1

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A., VRT, (at left) is a Senior Instructor in the Adaptive Technology Department and Communications Learning Center at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults (HKNC) in Sands Point, New York. Previously, Scott reviewed RoboBraille: Enhancing Document Accessibility, and vision enhancements and hearing and


The New Technologically Advanced Perkins/APH SMART Brailler®

As a longtime proponent of braille literacy, I was pleased to read this joint announcement from Perkins Products and American Printing House for the Blind: The New Perkins SMART Brailler® Perkins Products, a division of Perkins School for


More VisionAware Blogroll Love!

It's time for some VisionAware blogroll love once again. As I explained in my introductory "blogroll love" post, … the VisionAware "blind bloggers" collective has migrated from the former VisionAware.org website to the sidebar of the new VisionAware blog. It's a marvelous way to position my favorite bloggers front-and-center for our ever-growing audience. You'll discover great writing there – and not only about blindness. My favorite


Mississippi State NRTC Launches Online Participant Registry for Blindness and Low Vision Research

As our readers know, I admire the work of the Mississippi State University (MSU) National Research and Training Center on Blindness and Low Vision (NRTC). The mission of the NRTC is to enhance employment and independent living outcomes for individuals who are blind or visually impaired through research, training, education, and dissemination. The National Participant Registry The NRTC has launched an


A New Method for Measuring Visual Acuity in People with Extremely Low Vision

Throughout my career as a vision rehabilitation and low vision therapist, I have often grappled with medical files that provide minimal information about a client's/patient's visual acuties. It's common to read "counts fingers," "senses hand motion," or, worst of all, "unable to test." Not terribly helpful, I admit, but it was the best many eye doctors could do with the tools at their disposal for patients with very low vision. Thus, I was


Part 2: What's new in iOS 5 for the iPhone by Scott Davert, HKNC for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A. (at left), is a Senior Instructor in the Communications Learning Center and Adaptive Technology Departments at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults in Sands Point, New York. This week, Scott reviews today's new iOS 5 release from Apple. iOS is Apple's mobile operating system, or OS. Originally developed for the iPhone, it has since been extended to support other Apple devices, such as the iPod touch and


Part 1: What's new in iOS 5 for the iPhone by Scott Davert, HKNC for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults

Guest blogger Scott Davert, M.A. (at left), is a Senior Instructor in the Communications Learning Center and Adaptive Technology Departments at the Helen Keller National Center for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults in Sands Point, New York. This week, Scott reviews today's new iOS 5 release from Apple. iOS is Apple's mobile operating system, or OS. Originally developed for the iPhone, it has since been extended to support other Apple devices, such as the iPod touch and


A Wheelchair That Can "See" for Blind and Visually Impaired Users

A prototype electric wheelchair that can sense the environment and transmit information to a person who is blind or visually impaired is being developed and tested at Luleå University of Technology in Luleå, Sweden. The "sighted" wheelchair development team is headed by Kalevi Hyyppä, a professor at Luleå University, and includes prospective Ph.D. student Daniel Innala Ahlmark (pictured left, who is visually impaired and tested


A New Collaboration for Access to Inaccessible Packaging and Product Information

I've just received an intriguing new press release, issued jointly by Horizons for the Blind, Directions for Me, and A T Guys, Inc.. The service they are announcing is an interesting one: Two of the leading providers of accessible packaging information have joined forces to provide a new cutting-edge service for the blind and visually impaired. Horizons for the Blind, a not-for-profit organization and founder of


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