Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Throwback Thursday Object: Braille Pin Board

Our object this week is a braille pin board which belonged to a home teacher of blind students in Connecticut named Corrine Delesdernier.  She attended the Perkins School in Watertown, Massachusetts and died in 1957.  Her wooden frame contains a brass board with 225 perforated braille cells in a fifteen by fifteen grid.  The rows are numbered in braille one to fifteen and the columns are lettered “A” through “O”. A cloth cushion on the right stores push pins that can be used to create raised braille symbols. Most of the pins have white, round plastic heads; a few are steel pins with clear glass heads.  I have most often seen these types of boards used to create braille crossword puzzles.  The Royal National Institute for the Blind in England sold a similar design in its 1933 catalog.  The frame of the pin board is clearly stamped “PERKINS INST FOR THE BLIND” although it is not clear if it was made at Perkins or purchased by them.
Caption: Braille Pin board
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

Quick Tip: APH Annual Meeting 2017. The APH Annual Meeting is like a yearly homecoming for those in the blindness field, giving us opportunities to catch up, meet new people, and network with old friends and acquaintances.


Tuesday, October 10, 2017

October 2017 APH News

http://www.aph.org/news/october-2017/

APH News is your monthly link to the latest information on the products, services, field tests, and training opportunities from the American Printing House for the Blind.
 
https://shop.aph.org/wcsstore/APHConsumerDirect/images/catalog/products_large/D-30022-APL-NearbyExplorer-app-Logo.jpg

This week, visitors to APH’s 149th Annual Meeting will be able to navigate inside the Louisville International Airport using the new Indoor Explorer feature of our Nearby Explorer™ app for iOS®!

 A Few of This Month’s Headlines:

  • Indoor Navigation at Annual Meeting
  • NEW! Indoor Explorer
  • NEW! NewT Kit
  • NEW! Early Braille Trade Books: Rigby PM Platinum—UEB
  • NEW! Math Flash (Action for Google Home/Google Assistant)
  • Field Tests and Surveys
  • In Memoriam: Remembering Jack Decker
  • NEW! Handy Overview of Building on Patterns
  • Accessible Appliances: GE, Firstbuild, and an Inventive Young Man
  • Social Media Spotlight
  • APH Travel Calendar and more…

Monday, October 09, 2017

LOOK! The New Online Tool for Improving Reading Skills of Individuals with CVI


What Is It?


In its blog, CVI Scotland introduces us to its new online tool, Look, which people with CVI can use to learn to read or improve their existing reading skills. Here is a portion of CVI Scotland’s description of Look:

Look is a reading tool created by CVI SCOTLAND, with multiple functions and settings, designed to make reading easier for people with CVI. Look can be used for all levels of reader, from a non-reader learning to read, to an experienced reader wanting specific settings to read faster and more comfortably.

Look enables the user to insert any text (up to 10,000 words), and adjust the settings, to read a single word on an uncluttered screen, and either change each word manually, or set the speed for Look to present the words automatically at your comfortable reading speed.

You may view one word at a time on the screen or view as much as one sentence at a time. Look contains a host of settings, some of which may be unfamiliar. It is quite likely that each user will prefer differing settings, so experimentation is strongly encouraged. This information about settings should enable anyone to gain a better understanding of what each setting does.

Look’s Flexibility


You can use Look on tablets, computers, and smartphones. It is designed to limit visual clutter on the screen; nevertheless, it is best to make the surrounding environment as free of distractions as possible. Use the tool in a quiet place with little or no visual or auditory distractions to increase its effectiveness.

Reading with Recognition


CVI Scotland also provides a short, handy list of tips for improving the reading ability of individuals with CVI. Check out the Reading with Recognition tutorial to determine if their suggestions may improve the literacy skills of anyone you work with who has CVI.

CVI Scotland reminds us that each individual’s situation is unique, making it difficult to determine what settings and suggestions will work best for individual students. For this reason, CVI Scotland has created this flexible tool with many configurable settings while including the tips mentioned above.

Look is free to use. You can click the following link to start using it. When you do, you should locate a “Click here to start using Look” button. When you select it, you should find all of the settings that you can change and the tool on the screen.

There is nothing to download. Bookmark the website or save it to your favorites so you have quick access to it. Check out this link to read the summary provided by CVI Scotland, access additional information, and try the Look tool. Please share this post or the link provided in our social media posts, and let us know, through any of these channels, how the tool works for you. Also remember that APH offers a thorough and informative website dedicated to CVI at http://tech.aph.org/cvi/

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Throwback Thursday Object: Triformation BD-3 Embosser

The BD-3 was Triformation's first braille embosser, released in 1971. The BD-3 was the first commercially available digital braille embosser in the U.S.  On the outside it looks like a normal American Tourister suitcase.  On the inside you get the deluxe mid-century faux woodgrain table with a reel of paper tape, a covered embossing head, and a small row of switches, lights, and jacks.  It was described as a "braille verifier," producing braille copy on paper tape as regular copy was typed, either by a teletype machine, or a computer terminal.  It weighed 15 pounds and cost $1,850.  Triformation's full sheet embosser, the LED-120, became available in June 1974, and although more expensive, $9,000, it was much more popular.
This example was obtained by Howard Goldstein while studying computer science at the University of Connecticut in 1976.  It was connected to a Teletype Model 33 teleprinter, producing braille on paper tape as the teleprinter produced print.  According to Goldstein, he did not use the BD-3 very much.  He found moving from the teleprinter keyboard to read the tape was too awkward and slow. It was faster to have someone read out the output of the teletype than use the BD-3.
Photo Caption: The Triformation BD-3 Embosser fit into a small American Tourister suitcase and embossed on paper tape.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

Thursday, September 21, 2017

Throwback Thursday Object: G-4 Obstacle Detector

Blind since boyhood, Thomas A. Benham earned his doctorate in electrical engineering from Penn and taught physics and math at Haverford College until he retired in 1976. In 1950, he began working under contract with the Veterans Administration to evaluate the Signal Corps Obstacle Detector, a pioneering electronic travel aid.  In 1953, Haverford subcontracted further investigations to Biophysical Instruments, Inc., whose lead investigator, Malvern Benjamin, worked with Benham to develop three different prototype obstacle detectors based upon the same principles as the Signal Corps model.  All three used reflected light to detect obstacles/objects in the direction ahead of the user.  The G-4 was an early model which apparently never made it past the prototype stage. About half the size of a box of cereal, its brown Bakelite case has two large lenses on the front, a heavy battery in its base, and an angled handle with a crystal knob on the top that would vibrate when an obstacle was detected.  The G-4 is part of the museum’s Warren Bledsoe O&M Archives.
Photo Caption:  Brown Bakelite handheld obstacle detector.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

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