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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Thursday, June 21, 2012

How Can Access Technology Software Be Integrated into Mainstream Hardware

by Donna J. Jodhan

I believe that when I disclose my response to this, you would be quite surprised to see that it is already being done. Just ask Apple how they did it and I thank the late Steve Jobs for having had the insight, daring, and leadership to do it. I hope that other companies can follow suit much sooner than later.

Steve Jobs and his leadership and vision has enabled Apple to make it possible for the IPhone, IPod Touch, and IPad to become very accessible to blind people. What magic has this man carried out in order to make this possible? Thanks to Voice Over technology, we as blind people can now navigate a touch screen and thanks to Larry Lewis of Flying Blind, I can now use my IPad to keep in closer touch with the world. You see, I am presently receiving some expert training from Larry with a product called the Braille Pen.

I am using my Braille Pen which simulates taps to navigate around my IPad. I can do everything that a sighted person can and I can hear everything as I use my Braille Pen. The Braille Pen is made up of a keypad that is like a braille keypad on a Perkins Brailler. There are six keys for writing, a joystick for navigating among and around icons, and combinations of keys to simulate movements.

It is my hope and that of other blind people that Apple's lead will be followed by other manufacturers and that this will make it much more affordable for us to be able to purchase mainstream technology without having to incur additional costs for access technology. If Steve Jobs and Apple can do it, then surely! It can be done by others.

I'm Donna J. Jodhan your friendly accessibility advocate wishing you a terrific day. If you'd like to learn more about me, then you can visit some of my blog spots at:
Donna Jodhan! Advocating accessibility for all:
Weekly Saturday postings on issues of accessibility:
blogs on various issues and answers to consumers concerns:

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