Showing posts from May, 2016

Throwback Thursday Object: the Portabraille, one of the first refreshable Braille displays

I was looking through our catalog of previous entries to this blog this morning, searching for inspiration, but the little box to my right could not be ignored.  It is one of Wayne Thompson and Fred Gissoni’s original PortaBraille machines, and it has an interesting story.  We lost Fred about eighteen months ago, so I can’t call him up any more and get some additional—and usually very funny!—scoop.  That continues to be a great loss to us all.    (You can read more about Fred in a previous Fred's Head post I hope everyone is excited about the new low cost refreshable braille display that will soon come out, the Orbit Reader 20.  Our story comes from the time before refreshable braille devices were very common at all.  In the mid-1980s, you only had a few choices:  the Elinfa Digicassette and the Telesensory Versabraille were just about the only game in town.  Both stored their input on audio cassette tapes although later they c…

Quick Tip: EZ Test Battery Tester. Independently test your batteries with this handy device.


Be Safe: Tips for Blind or Visually Impaired Persons Using Ridesharing Services like Lyft and Uber

Whether or not good public transportation exists in a particular city or town, blind and visually impaired persons increasingly are relying on services like LyftUber and other similar ridesharing services for many reasons. These services provide timely rides with costs that usually are quite reasonable. Additionally, these service providers seek to keep drivers and passengers safe. Background checks are part of the process of becoming a driver for such a platform. Cars must meet certain requirements and receive inspections to assure they are safe and reliable. Lyft's safety standards emphasize these points. Uber has a safety page and additional pages discussing driver and passenger safety.
Blind and visually impaired persons, however, can and should take further steps to ensure they can ride safely when using these services. We welcome additional tips which you can leave below in the comments section. Nevertheless, here are a few that I have noted now that I have used ridesharing s…

Throwback Thursday: A Couple of Older Braille Writers

It is unfortunate but we actually know much too little about our large collection of European braillewriters.  Case in point the St. Dunstan’s Braille Writer, made in Croydon England by Redwing Ltd., a former aircraft company.  We just bought a second example and in the course of cataloging it, I noticed that it is a direct knock-off of the original Picht from Germany.  Put them side by side and you’ll see what I mean.  The one we had was dated 1948 but with nothing to back that up.  Look on the web and… nada.  But by widening my search a bit I found this.

It is cool because Sir Ian Fraser, the head of St. Dunstan’s--which was a rehabilitation center for blinded British and Allied servicemen and women--freely admits it is “merely a copy.”   By the way, we also have several of the Stainsby Waynes in our collection.  More about that later.

St. Dunstan's Review, April 1949, No. 362, Vol XXXII
St. Dunstan's Braille Machines
The old Stainsby- Wayne is a faithful friend. Most St. Dunst…

Quick Tip: Creating Your Own Tactile Tangram Puzzles. Use the guidebook and suggestions in this video to create more puzzles.


Redesign of our Physical Education, Recreational and Health Webpages!

We have completely redesigned our Physical Education, Recreation, and Health informational pages! Besides the great new look, these pages now contain many resources and include information concerning sport camps, toys and games, health and nutrition, organizations, other websites, and relevant APH products. We encourage you to submit items to the site! If your state, community, or agency is hosting a sporting event/camp, workshop, or training, send us the information using the form posted on the site.

Throwback Thursday Object: the Pathsounder, an O&M Device from the early 1960's

Our object this week comes from our AER O&M Division C. Warren Bledsoe Archives collection.   The Pathsounder was invented by Lindsay Russell while working with the Sensory Aids Evaluation and Development Center at MIT in the early 1960s.  It was one of the first commercially available electronic travel aids.  Russell (1927-2000) had worked on radar installations for the Signal Corps during WWII, which led to a career in engineering and work on navigational aids for people who are blind.  The first model to be field tested was Model H in 1968-69.  By 1974, the E model was being made for distribution at the three Veterans Administration Blind Rehabilitation Centers.  Worn around the neck, it was designed as a secondary aid, in addition to the use of the long cane.  It worked using sound waves, shooting them out in front and detecting them as they bounced off objects in the environment.  Emitting a sound(buzzing or beeping), or a vibration (at the chest or neck), or both, it alerted…

Quick Tip: The EZ Fill Pouring Aid. The EZ Fill Pouring Aid alerts you when liquid reaches about an inch from the top of a glass, cup or container.


Throwback Thursday: Possum Moon Typewriter

Our object this week is a typewriter that wrote in an interesting tactile code that continues to be used to this day, Moon-Type.    The Possum Moon Writer was introduced in 1986.  On the front of the machine, which looks like a yellow typewriter without keys, is what the developer called a “master pad”--a metal plate with indented lines from which the Moon characters are composed. The user inserted their right index finger into a metal ring attached to a lever above the master pad and traced the shape of the character on the pad. This transmitted the shape of the character to the writing mechanism and pushed a stylus to inscribe a small version of the character onto paper. Dr. William Moon introduced his alphabet-based tactile system for reading and writing in 1847.  He considered it superior to other forms of raised letters because he felt his letter shapes were more legible.  The first mechanical Moon writer was introduced in 1908 by his daughter, Adelaide.  The system experienced s…

MAY 2016 APH News now online

Click on the above link or copy and paste it into your favorite web browser.

**This Month’s Headlines:
APH Physical Education Website gets a New LookBuilding on Patterns Now Complete!Treasures from the APH LibrariesQuick Tips from APHSocial Media SpotlightAPH Travel CalendarNew Products from APHThe Braille Book Corner and much, much more…

Perkins School for the Blind Launches New BlindNewWorld Website

More than half of the sighted population can’t recall the last time they saw someone who is blind in the last year. Somehow they have missed a population of 7 million blind individuals. Why are blind people invisible to the sighted world? What can be done to create a world that is more inclusive of the blind community?

BlindNewWorld is a new social change campaign sponsored by Perkins School for the Blind to debunk stereotypes and inspire the sighted population to see the full social, professional and intellectual capabilities of people who are blind.

According to a new study, there are four main barriers to inclusion: discomfort, pity, fear and stigma. For years, the blind population and organizations supporting it, have been frustrated by the social and professional exclusion and the near invisibility of people who are blind from the public’s social consciousness.
“Many people hold preconceived biases that the blind aren’t capable of daily tasks and can’t lead happy lives,” said Corinn…

Quick Tip: The ReadWrite mini