1. Technology

Assistive Technology for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired

Technology makes computers accessible to people who can’t see, or who have trouble seeing the keyboard and monitor. This page explores solutions that enable computers to talk, scan and read documents, and make onscreen items bigger and easier to see. It also covers braille translation programs, portable braille and magnification devices, and players for audiobooks in special formats.
  1. Braille Technology (32)
  2. Magnification Hardware (35)
  3. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) (14)
  4. Options for Reading Digital Audiobooks (33)
  5. Screen Magnification Software (9)
  6. Screen Reading Software (9)

AFB Launches CareerConnect iOS App to Aid Blind Jobseekers
CareerConnect is a free iOS app that enables blind & visually impaired persons to access the American Foundation for the Blind’s online employment resource center.

LightAide Helps Children with Special Needs Learn Reading & Math
LightAide displays programmable, multi-colored LED lights to teach preparatory math and reading skills to young children who are blind or visually impaired.

The Seeing Eye GPS™ is an accessible turn-by-turn GPS app for iOS for blind persons whose features include simple, VoiceOver compatible navigation.

National Braille Press Book Explores iOS 7 for Blind Persons
"iOS Without the Eye" provides a thorough exploration of all aspects of Apple's mobile operating system powering its iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch.

Radio Shows & Podcasts for the Blind and Visually Impaired
Traditional and web radio programs and podcasts give persons with disabilities -- especially low-vision listeners -- actionable information on adaptive solutions and assistive technology that can enhance independence and quality of life.

UltraCane Emits Sound Waves to Help Blind Users Avoid Obstacles
The UltraCane is a mobility aid for blind persons that uses ultrasound waves to echolocate potential obstacles -- at both ground and eye level -- that appearing in one’s path as they walk.

Assisstive Sports Technology for Persons Who Are Blind
Some of the most life-changing applications of assistive technology are the devices and adaptations providing access to sports and recreation. This list looks at five products designed for persons who are blind or visually impaired.

Trekker Breeze Talking GPS Handheld for Blind Persons
The Trekker Breeze is a handheld GPS device for blind travelers that speaks information about their surroundings -- including street names, upcoming intersections, and nearest address being passed -- as they travel on foot or by car.

BrainPort V100 Enables Blind to See Using Their Tongue
The BrainPort V100 is a non-surgical vision enhancement device -- still in the prototype stage -- that converts video images into electrode patterns on an array affixed to the tongue. Users translate tactile data to the corresponding shapes and movement of objects in their environment.

Spacial Screen-Reader Accessible Radio Station Software
Spacial SAM VIBE is automation software for creating web radio stations. The program enables broadcasters to upload and manage large music libraries and set schedules. SAM VIBE is also compatible with screen readers to make it more accessible to blind and visually impaired persons.

Blind Storyteller Uses Narrative to Enhance Classroom Learning
Michael Lang, who was born with Retinitis Pigmentosa, has overcome his visual impairment and turned his love of storytelling into a way to connect with young people and launch -- Coyote's Inkwell -- a teaching business dedicated to education, enrichment, and entertainment through music, stories, and laughter.

Make Kickball Accessible to Blind Students
The BeepKickball is a red playground ball fitted with a sound emitter designed to make the game accessible to children and adults who are blind or visually impaired.

AppleVis Online Community for Blind iPhone Users
AppleVis is an online community for iPhone users who are blind or visually impaired. The site posts app reviews, recommendations, tutorials, and information on deals, and gives members the opportunity to contribute their own content.

Free Communications Technology for Deaf-Blind Persons
The FCC's iCanConnect campaign seeks to educate the public on the range of free and low-cost communications products available to persons with vision and hear loss -- a provision of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act (CVAA).

Fleksy is an iOS app that works with VoiceOver to make typing quick and easy...
Fleksy is an iOS app that works with VoiceOver to make typing quick and easy for blind iPhone users. The app features on touch-screen keypad that deduces desired input using a next-generation auto-correct engine and proprietary programming.

Mobile Apps for Blind Travelers
National Braille Press has published "21 iPhone Apps We Can't Live Without." Among the apps profiled are several designed to help blind and visually impaired people travel more efficiently and safely. This article examines five such apps.

BlindSquare Makes FourSquare Accessible
BlindSquare is an iOS app that integrates with VoiceOver, Apple's built-in screen reader, to make the popular FourSquare locator app accessible to users who cannot see the screen.

Panasonic Adds Voice Guidance to 2012 TVs
Panasonic has added Voice Guidance to many of its 2012 plasma and LCD TVs. The company developed the text-to-speech technology with England's Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) and introduced the accessible sets in the UK in April 2012.

Perkins Assistive Technology Prize
MassChallenge, which early stage entrepreneurs find funding, is adding the $25,000 Perkins Assistive Technology Prize to inspire solutions that empower persons with disabilities to reach their full potential.

Who Was Louis Braille?
Louis Braille gave blind people the illuminating gift of literacy. But he was also a communications visionary, creating not just the world's first coding scheme to represent written language, but also its dot-matrix printer. Braille's achievements forever changed how blind people live and how all people perceive limitation and possibility.

26 Useful Apps for Blind iPhone Users
This National Braille Press booklet profiles 26 mobile apps especially useful to blind and visually impaired iPhone users.

Improve Screen Reading Skills With Free Hadley Online Courses
The Hadley School for the Blind offers free online courses to help students and aspiring professionals hone their screen reading, Internet, word processing, and Microsoft Excel skills.

PenFriend Scans Coded Stickers & Replays User-Recorded Descriptions
The RNIB PenFriend Audio Labeler gives people who are blind and visually impaired a simple, effective way to distinguish between and organize household objects. The PenFriend scans small stickers used to label items and replays messages users record about them. The PenFriend is especially useful for organizing similar-sized things, such as...

iPhone is Crucial Low Vision Assistive Device for Blind People
The iPhone is revolutionizing how persons with disabilities, especially blindness, perceive assistive technology and is redefining expectations for how much users should have to pay for accessibility.

What is Video Description?
Video description provides narration for key visual elements blind viewers may miss to make broadcast media more accessible to viewers with visual impairments.

Make Educational Videos Accessible to Blind Viewers
The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) provides description guidelines for producers of educational content to make their materials more accessible to blind and visually impaired students.

Media Access Group at WGBH
The Media Access Group at WGBH created and continues to improve closed captioning and video description that make media accessible to disabled viewers.

Find Video Described Content
Video description is becoming increasingly available in all forms of media. Description makes key visual elements accessible through narration and enables blind and visually impaired people to get more enjoyment out of movies, TV shows, and live attractions.

Access Braille & Talking Books from the National Library Service
For blind and visually impaired readers, the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped offers access to over 400,000 titles in audio, braille, and electronic text.

HIMS Makes Adaptive Devices for Persons Who are Blind or Visually Impaired
HIMS (Human Information Management Systems) is a leading manufacturer of adaptive devices that help persons who are blind or visually impaired to read, communicate, and use computers more effectively.

Convert Text Documents into Braille or Audio Files with RoboBraille
RoboBraille converts text sent via email into braille and audio documents that are immediately accessible to the blind and visually impaired and persons with learning disabilities.

Vanda Pharmaceuticals Sponsors USABA to Promote Non-24 Sleep Disorder Awareness
Vanda Pharmaceuticals, which specializes in treating central nervous systems disorders, is sponsoring the US Association of Blind Athletes to spread awareness of Non-24-Hour Sleep Syndrome, a circadian-rhythm disruptor that results from lack of light perception.

Going Blind Offers Eye-Opening Perspective on Feared Disability
Going Blind is a feature-length documentary tracing director Joe Lovett’s journey into life with vision loss -- a reality that glaucoma forces him to face. The film profiles five persons with varying degrees of sight loss.

Computers for the Blind & Visually Impaired
This article on computers for the blind and visually impaired focuses on key technologies such as screen readers and screen magnification software.

American Printing House for the Blind Provides Books in Alternative Formats
The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) is a major source of books specially formatted for the blind and visually impaired. APH produces textbooks and other materials in audio, braille, electronic text, and large print. APH also manufactures literacy aids such as braille writers and audio playback equipment. APH products are expensive,...

Dimensions Sonic Adventure Mobile Game App
Dimensions is a mobile game app for iOS devices that uses augmented sound to create a six-level "Multiverse" through which players travel in search of artifacts. The game's aural orientation has made it popular among blind players.

Computer Resource List for Blind & Visually Impaired
When it comes to providing computer access to blind and visually impaired people, certain name-brand products come to mind. This article profiles the top few in each of the main access categories, including screen access solution, optical character recognition, and braille translation software.

Tactile Vision iPad Guide for Blind & Low-Vision Users
The iPad Tactile Screenshot Quick References are raised representations of various iPad screens to show iPad users who are blind what appears where on their device.

ABC Assistive Technology Fund for the Blind & Visually Impaired
The Association of Blind Citizens (ABC) maintains a fund to help qualified persons who are blind or visually impaired purchase adaptive equipment, including accessibility software, digital audiobook players, and desktop video magnifiers. ABC pays for one half of the retail price to grantees.

Learn How to Use an iPhone With Braille Book of Tactile Screenshots
The iPhone Tactile Screenshot Quick Reference Guide from Tactile Vision and sold through National Braille Press provides diagrams with accompanying text in braille and large print to orient blind users on what's on the various iPhone screens.

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