Browse By Topic: Assistive Technology

National Teleconference Addresses How Medicare Might Provide Coverage for Low Vision Devices

  As reported by Maureen Duffy in a recent VisionAware blog post, the American Foundation for the Blind hosted a national teleseminar on October 4 to discuss this critical topic. Approximately 200 people across the nation participated to hear what the panelists (listed below) had to say and to make their own comments about the need for coverage and what that coverage should look like. Panelists


American Foundation for the Blind Invites You to the 21st Century Agenda on Aging and Vision Loss National Teleseminar: Medicare Coverage of Low Vision Devices

Dome of the U.S. Capitol On Wednesday, October 4, 2017, at 3:00pm Eastern Standard Time, the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) and the 21st Century Agenda on Aging and Vision Loss will host RESOLVED—Medicare Should Pay for Low Vision Devices: Views Through Different


New Research: Using Virtual Reality Environments to Help with Wayfinding Problems Related to Glaucoma

Glaucoma often is called "the sneak thief of sight" for good reason: Many people are unaware that glaucoma has few symptoms or warning signs in its early stages. Early treatment for glaucoma can sometimes (but not always) slow the progression of the disease. However, as of yet, there is no cure for glaucoma and its resulting visual field loss, which can interfere with a wide range of everyday activities. Visual field loss from glaucoma can create problems with moving safely


Aira: A New and Exciting Access Service for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Aira (pronounced "EYE-rah") has made quite a debut on the access technology scene recently. It has impressed the likes of CSUN2017, Assistive Media, Inc., and won "Best in Show" honors at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. I learned about Aira at this year’s American Foundation for the Blind Leadership Conference, and it wowed me too!   What Is Aira? Aira calls itself a "visual


H.R.2050: The Medicare Demonstration of Coverage of Low Vision Devices Act of 2017 Needs Your Advocacy and Support

Dome of the U.S. Capitol The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Public Policy Center has announced the reintroduction of 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 Public Policy Center, in Washington, DC, collaborates with policy


During Vision Rehabilitation Therapy Awareness Week: Considering the Increasing Role of Technology

By Steve Kelley, CVRT, CRC Celebrating Vision Rehabilitation Therapy Awareness Week Helen Keller and Anne Sullivan playing chess The week of April 9-15, 2017 is Vision Rehabilitation Therapist Awareness Week. The week commemorates the birthday of Anne Sullivan, who was Helen Keller's teacher (both pictured at left). With this celebration comes the


Understanding Our Shifting Health Insurance Landscape – and What It Means for People with Vision Loss

Rebecca Sheffield, Ph.D. Guest blogger Rebecca Sheffield, Ph.D., is the Senior Policy Researcher with the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) Public Policy Center in Washington, D.C. The AFB Public Policy Center collaborates with policy makers in Congress and the Executive Branch to ensure that Americans with vision loss have equal rights and opportunities to fully participate in society. She also is the author of two important and helpful Public Policy Center publications:


Our Readers Want to Know: What Does It Mean When My Eye Doctor Tells Me I Have "Low Vision"?

Editor's note: One of the many benefits associated with an online information center and website, such as VisionAware, is the ability to track readers' search terms [i.e., information readers are seeking as they search online]. Of particular concern to many readers are issues related to the diagnosis and treatment of low vision, as evidenced by the following searches: I've been told I have low vision, but what does this mean? How is low vision different from blindness? Is there a cure for low vision? An Answer from VisionAware: What


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


AFB Releases Our VisionConnect™ App for Android

The American Foundation for the Blind is pleased to announce that its popular VisionConnect(tm) app is now available for Android, as well as iOS devices. It can be downloaded from both the GooglePlay Store or the Apple App Store and is free. About the New VisionConnect(tm) App <img src="http://www.afb.org/image.asp?ImageID=6838" alt="VisionConnect logo - an eye with the pupil


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


My Path to OrCam, Part 1

As much as I hate to admit it, there are times when I’m just a blind, cynical New Yorker. I have a problem believing the hype when it comes to anything new to the realm of accessibility. When I came across a YouTube video for OrCam, a fledgling Israeli technology company and creators of a wearable camera for the blind; I’ll admit, I was intrigued. Intrigued, but not convinced. I shared the video on Blind Motherhood’s Facebook page [Blind Motherhood is my blog as well as a resource for individuals and families impacted by vision loss], and it appeared that many of my followers also knew very little about OrCam. Their technology had an almost myth-like reputation – the evasive unicorn of


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


Understanding Low Vision Care and Low Vision Devices: Part 2 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,


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,


VisionAware Response: The White House Conference on Aging Final Report

Guest blogger Priscilla (Pris) 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. First, Some Background and an


AFB Press Releases New Edition of Making Life More Livable: Simple Adaptations for Living at Home after Vision Loss

by Mary D'Apice, VisionAware Contributing Writer An interview with Maureen A. Duffy, CVRT, Author Making Life More Livable Agencies that provide services to people who are blind or visually impaired offer vision rehabilitation to the 5.3 million Americans over 65 with


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


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™


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


Guest Blogger Jeremiah Taylor Reviews Descriptive Audio Narration for "Unbroken"

Guest blogger Jeremiah Taylor is a dynamic sales professional, motivational speaker, and serious movie buff. Life has not always been easy for Jeremiah, however. In 1999, he became suddenly and totally blind as a result of complications during routine back surgery. You can read more about Jeremiah's (and his wife Jo-Ann's) long, steady journey – from sudden blindness through rehabilitation to full employment – at the VisionAware website. "Going to the movies," Jeremiah says, "is not just the movie! It's a night out with friends and family,


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


The True Ice Bucket Challenge: Never Saying "There's Nothing More that Can Be Done"

As the Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) Association's Ice Bucket Challenge winds down, I can't help but regret that my friend Arthur (Artie) Kraemer (February 12, 1960 - June 12, 2012), who succumbed to ALS, didn't live to see the outpouring of support for the disease (a progressive, incurable neurodegenerative disorder) that claimed his life. Artie was totally disabled from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's Disease, and was,


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


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


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


Out of the Whirlpool: The Story of a Suicide Survivor and the Rebuilding of a Life (Part 2)

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


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


AccessNote: A New Notetaker App from American Foundation for the Blind

On January 31, 2013, American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) released the AccessNote™ app, a specialized notetaker for the iPhone®, iPad®, and iPod touch®. AccessNote™ was developed by AFB Tech, the technology division of AFB, in partnership with FloCo Apps, LLC. The price of AccessNote is $19.99, available as a download from the App Store. Some Background about Notetakers and AccessNote A


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


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


Why Braille Is So Important To Me by DeAnna Quietwater Noriega

Guest blogger DeAnna Quietwater Noriega (at left) is an Independent Living Specialist and facilitator of the Vision Impairment and Blindness Exploration and Support (VIBES) Group at Services for Independent Living (SIL) in Columbia, Missouri. She is half Apache, a quarter Swan Creek Chippewa, and has been blind since age eight. DeAnna is a poet, writer, legislative public policy advocate, and Peace Corps veteran. She has written the following tribute to honor Louis Braille (born January 4, 1809) during National Braille Literacy Month. My


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


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


RoboBraille: Enhancing Document Accessibility by Scott Davert, HKNC for Deaf-Blind Youths and Adults

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 vision enhancements and hearing and physical/motor enhancements for Apple's iOS 5 release. This week, Scott reviews RoboBraille, a


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


Around the Interwebs with VisionAware

I have several excellent (and thought-provoking) items to share with our readers this week. The Blindo Diaries The Blindo Diaries has been on a creative streak this week, for sure! In a collaborative post entitled How Do You See?, Becca and


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


Meet Paul and Jan Rachow, Founders of the Frog Town Low Vision Support Group

Paul and Jan Rachow, founders of the Frog Town Low Vision Support Group in Holland, Ohio, are longtime and faithful supporters of VisionAware; thus, it gives me great pleasure to report that their low vision support group is thriving. About the Frog Town Low Vision Support Group Frog Town is an independent, not-for-profit support group, started in June 2005, that provides information and support to adults who are blind, visually impaired, or


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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