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Showing posts from July, 2017

Use the OrCam to Identify Objects, Read Print and More!

The following article comes from Hannah Ziring of OrCam Technologies. I have read about this device, viewed YouTube videos about it, and saw it in action very briefly at one of the summer conventions. You may find the device quite useful for the reasons listed in the article.
Glasses for a Person Who is Blind
The OrCam device is a smart camera that sits on the user’s glasses and reads text aloud to people who are visually impaired or blind.
While the OrCam device is not exactly “
glasses for blind person
”, it definitely looks that way. The device is so small and discreet, it is barely noticeable.
Besides its compact size, there are many amazing OrCam features that make the device unique and accessible.
Easy to use: OrCam MyEye is an intuitive wearable device with a smart camera that clips onto a regular pair of glasses and is able to 'read' text and convert it into speech relaying the message to the user. The device is activated by a simple intuitive gesture – pointing your f…

Throwback Thursday Object: Humble Wooden Workstand

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Our object this week is a humble wooden workstand, made and used here at the American Printing House and painted a nice industrial gray.  Historic photographs show similar custom-made tables in a variety of shapes and sizes used as work stands in a number of processes around the building.  In this picture of the stereograph room where embossing plates were made, you can see a table much like this one in the left foreground.   These tables are an endangered species around APH today.  A few years ago our production department installed a Kaizen construction area where our production staff can put together special purpose tables and materials carts in a jiffy from metal tubes and particle board.  I guess you could say that these old work tables were the Kaizen equivalent of their day.
In the second photo, probably from 1950 or so, office manager Jane Kent guides a group of well-dressed ladies on a tour of the stereograph room at APH.  A transcriber sits in front of a stereograph, transl…

Quick Tip: Sense-able Ways to Build Tactile Literacy Skills. Karen Poppe, Tactile Graphics Project Leader, recently presented a session entitled "Sense-able Ways to Build Tactile Literacy Skills" at the AER International Orientation and Mobility Conference in Pittsburgh, PA.

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Fully Audio Music Lessons for People Who Are Blind

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Introduction
We received an email recently regarding a site dedicated to teaching basic music lessons to people who are blind. some audio music lessons existed in the National Library Service (NLS) catalog, but not many people spoke about them, perhaps causing some people to think that they no longer were available.
Music for the Blind
Although this site is not new, two things make it stand out. First, the site offers basic lessons for more than a dozen instruments. For a number of years, the available lessons mostly were for guitar and piano alone. Some of these lessons, though not all of them, became available on NLS. Second, all of the lessons are done totally by ear; there is no print, braille, video, or music notation.
The teacher describes techniques totally by ear. You hear what the instructor is doing and, after some instruction, are asked to do what he does. The lessons come on CDs, tapes, in some instances, and downloadable audio files. There also is a place on the homepage to s…

Throwback Thursday Object: Perkins-Binet Intelligence Test

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Our object this week is an intelligence test adapted for blind students at the Perkins School for the Blind in the 1960s and 70s and published in 1980 by Dr. Carl Davis.  Intelligence tests have been used in schools since the early 20th century to predict aptitude.  The black box includes all sorts of blocks and small toys that go along with various tasks the test asks the student to complete.   The science behind intelligence tests is complicated, but they try to compare the abilities of the test taker to other kids of the same age, and assign a score based on that comparison.  The available pool of students that were blind or visually impaired was never really large enough to allow test designers to establish what “normal” was, so these kinds of tests fell out of fashion.  But it is a good example of how researchers try to adapt materials developed for sighted learners to the blind community.  Ralph Bartley, our former head of educational research, told me that when he was at the Ka…

Quick Tip: Six Little Dots. The tactile book entitled Six Little Dots encourages fingertip texture discrimination and exposure to spatial concepts, while also introducing children to braille dot positions and names.

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Quick Tip: Enter the Unforgettable APH Star Video Contest!

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Throwback Thursday Object: Student Speech+ Calculator

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I’ve been writing these Throwback Thursday articles for several years now, but I’m always amazed at the classic items I have yet to cover.  Our object this week was introduced in 1978, a joint project between APH and Telesensory Systems, a leading accessibility technology firm founded in 1970 at Stanford University. The Student Speech+ Talking Calculator could speak twenty-four words, and was the first calculator to appear in the APH catalog.  It could add, subtract, multiply, divide, and calculate square roots and percentages.  The readout was a pretty small red LED display, but the buttons were designed in large type.   By comparison to modern voice synthesis on your cell phone—I’m talking to you Siri--the voice was highly electronic.  Telesensory designed the calculator, but it was almost identical to their own version from 1976, the Speech+, which came in brown rather than APH blue. Partial assembly was performed by APH, which also distributed the calculators. They sold originall…

July 2017 APH News

http://www.aph.org/news/july-2017/
A Few of This Month’s Headlines:

Indoor Navigation: The Next FrontierNEW! Six Little Dots - UEB, 2018; Protein Synthesis Kit; Match-It-Up Frames; and Slapstack Math (for iOS Devices)Order Fall 2017 Textbooks Now!Field Tests and Surveys“A Daring Adventure Awaits” at the 2017 APH Annual Meeting of Ex Officio Trustees and Special Guests! The APH Unforgettable Star Contest is back!Braille Badges Contest Begins This SeptemberDeadline Approaches for Tactile Illustrated Book CompetitionTactile Town Helps Adults Learn Orientation and MobilityTreasure From the Migel LibrarySocial Media SpotlightAPH Travel Calendar and more…

Throwback Thursday Object: An Arithmetic Slate

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Our object this week is an arithmetic slate from the 1930s.  This is a prototype, the final version was cast in aluminum and featured pentagonal holes.  Pentagonal arithmetic frames were originally developed at the Glasgow Asylum for the Blind in Scotland around 1829.  By turning a metal peg in place, numbers 0-9 and operators were represented.  APH began experimenting with different styles of arithmetic frames in the 1930s.  The frames first entered the catalog in 1935.  By 1937, however, the pentagonal frame was no longer in the catalog, in favor of a gridded frame, often called a “Texas Slate,” which used metal type cast with raised numerals.  A year later, APH introduced its version of the Taylor arithmetic slate, which used octagonal holes, but was similar in concept to the pentagonal design.  APH called its pentagonal slate, the “Bertha Shephard Slate,” but I don’t know who Miss Shephard was.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

Quick Tip: Match-It-Up Frames. Match–It-Up Frames can be used by parents and teachers to custom-design activities addressing specific learning needs of students who are blind and visually impaired, as well as those with multiple disabilities.

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