All-Terrain Cane: The Humvee of White Canes

When David Epstein moved to Sedona, Arizona, several years ago, he looked forward to regular hikes with his wife through the picturesque red sandstone formations along the outskirts of the popular tourist destination. Epstein, who has the incurable inherited retinal eye disease retinitis pigmentosa, soon found hiking with his wife increasingly difficult — especially at […]

Connecting the Dots: How Technology is Impacting Braille Literacy

Each January, people across the globe celebrate Louis Braille’s genius communication system of tactile raised dots representing visual alpha-numeric print. January is National Braille Literacy Month, and January 4 is World Braille Day.  Born in France on January 4, 1809, Louis Braille fell victim to a tragic accident in his father’s leather-harness-making shop as a […]

HaptiBraille Communicator: A Breakthrough in Personal Communications Independence

Thanks to today’s digital revolution, there is no shortage of new technologies available for people with visual or hearing impairments. But for the estimated 7 million people in the world who have both visual and hearing impairments (according to World Health Organization data), assistive technology options are few and far between. When I learned of […]

Study Illustrates Cost, Impact of Workplace Accommodations

As the labor market remains strong, employers looking to retain valued employees are renewing efforts to provide workplace accommodations. A recent study from the Job Accommodation Network (JAN) offers good news – a majority of workplace accommodations cost less than $500 to implement, with nearly half having no cost at all. From January 1, 2019, […]

Orcam Read: A New Standard in Scan-and-Read Pens

On March 9, 2020, Orcam, the Israeli assistive hardware maker that developed the powerful wearable Orcam MyEye, announced the release of Orcam Read, a hand-held alternative for scanning and reading text from nearly any surface.  Launching Orcam Read seven days before the U.S. went into lockdown for COVID-19 was unfortunate, but the reading pen is […]

AIRA EVERYWHERE: GREATER CHOICES IN HANDSFREE VISUAL ASSISTANCE

In the fall 2017 issue of Opportunity I reviewed the breakthrough real-time service offered by Aira Tech, a San Diego venture startup that aims to make life easier for people who are blind. The Aira service pairs users who are blind or visually impaired with vetted, trained “visual interpreters” who are on call 24 hours […]

A Summer Reading List Treasure Trove

My December 9, 2020, NIB Connection post introduced BARD Mobile, the talking books smartphone app released by the United States Library of Congress. The excellent BARD Mobile app provides access to the worlds’ largest collection of free talking books for people with print disabilities. In fact, it is my portable go-to for accessing fiction and […]

Teen Inventors Score Win with Assistive Technology

New assistive technology developed by (clockwise from top left) Raffu Khondaker, Irfan Nafi, Pranav Ravella, and Eugene Choi won first place in the Virginia 8th Congressional District 2020 Congressional App Challenge.

Big Tech Offers Easy Access to Real-Time Support

If the coronavirus pandemic has taught us anything, it’s the importance of self-sufficiency — or at least learning how we might become more self-sufficient during times of great uncertainty. This is especially true for people with disabilities who sometimes rely on others to be within six feet to assist with a particular task, routine, or […]

BARD Mobile Puts the Library of Congress in Your Smartphone

For many, the long pandemic of 2020 has resulted in significant Zoom, social media, Netflix, and other remote technology fatigue. For avid readers who are blind or visually impaired, however, the nationwide shutdowns are providing time to rediscover the value of remote access to tens of thousands of best-selling braille and talking books and magazines. […]