edited by Cynthia G. Hawkins
The announcement of products and services in this column does not represent an endorsement by the American Council of the Blind, its officers, or staff. Listings are free of charge for the benefit of our readers. “The ACB Braille Forum” cannot be held responsible for the reliability of the products and services mentioned.
To submit items for this column, send a message to [email protected], or phone the national office at 1-800-424-8666, and leave a message in Sharon Lovering’s mailbox. Information must be received at least two months ahead of publication date.
Applications for Holman Prize Sought
In 2017, LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco launched the Holman Prize to support the emerging adventurousness and can-do spirit of blind and low vision people worldwide. This endeavor celebrates people who want to shape their own future instead of having it laid out for them.
Created specifically for legally blind individuals with a penchant for exploration of all types, the Prize provides financial backing – up to $25,000 – for three individuals to explore the world and push their limits.
The ideal candidate is someone who is willing to probe their environment and eager to savor the richness of a world that is so often thought of as inaccessible to the blind. This exploration may involve travel, community organizing, athletics, creating art and more.
The Prize begins with a challenge: blind applicants must submit a first-round pitch, in the form of a 90-second YouTube video. Later, a select group of semifinalists will submit in-depth written proposals, and an even smaller group of finalists will be interviewed by LightHouse staff.
Submissions for the 2022 Holman Prize close on March 20th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific time. For more information, or to apply, send an email to [email protected], or call (415) 694-7315.
ObjectiveEd Receives WCB One World Award
At their 2021 annual convention, the Washington Council of the Blind recognized ObjectiveEd with their One World Award for their continuing interest in educational technology for children with blindness and low vision. During the pandemic, ObjectiveEd made sure that parents and students had support for their studies through tools like Braille AI Tutor, an innovative system allowing students to improve their braille literacy skills independently. To learn more about the variety of educational apps for students with visual impairments, visit www.objectiveed.org.
National Inventors Hall of Fame 2022
Seven innovation pioneers whose inventions range from cataract surgery to the modern automobile will be honored as part of the latest class of National Inventors Hall of Fame® (NIHF) Inductees. One such inductee is Dr. Patricia Bath (posthumous), who invented a device and technique to remove cataracts known as laserphaco, which uses a laser rather than ultrasound technology. Other inductees are: Marian Croak, Voice-over-Internet Protocol (VOIP); Lonnie Johnson, the Super Soaker; Katalin Karikó and Dr. Drew Weissman, modified mRNA technology used in COVID-19 vaccines; Carl Benz (posthumous), the modern automobile; and James Buchanan Eads (posthumous), American infrastructure and defense. For more information, visit https://www.invent.org/inductees/new-inductees.
APH Awardees, Hall of Fame Inductions
The American Printing House recently presented its annual awards during its 153rd meeting.
Dr. Marjorie Kaiser was the recipient of the Wings of Freedom Award, the highest honor presented by APH. Gilles Pepin, chairman of HumanWare’s board, received the Horizon Award, which recognizes individuals who continually pursue new ideas that result in the development of innovative products for people who are blind or have low vision.
The Louis Award, named after Louis Braille, went to The LEGO® Foundation. This award recognizes a product, idea, method, or promotional effort that increased the availability or awareness of braille and/or tactile graphics.
The Navigator Award, which recognizes collaborative efforts and partnerships necessary to remove barriers and provide pathways to education, went to the American Foundation for the Blind and Dr. Penny Rosenblum.
The new inductees to the Hall of Fame for Leaders and Legends in the Blindness Field are Samuel Bacon and Ambrose M. Shotwell.
Samuel Bacon (1823-1909) founded three historic residential schools for students who were blind or visually impaired. Almost 175 years later, the schools are still serving students.
Ambrose Milton Shotwell (1853-1930), born with optic nerve atrophy, co-drafted a law that founded the Michigan School for the Blind. He established the Michigan Employment Institution for the Blind and he helped shape the American Association of Workers for the Blind (AAWB).
2021 Barron Prize Recipients Announced
The Barron Prize recognizes inspiring, public-spirited young people. Among the 2021 recipients were:
- Faraz Tamboli, age 14, of New Jersey, who invented TalkMotion, a device that helps people who are deaf and aphonic (voiceless) communicate; and
- Jordan Reeves, age 15, of Missouri, who co-founded Born Just Right, a nonprofit that inspires kids with disabilities to design innovations based on their own differences and experiences.
For more information, visit www.barronprize.org.
Accessible Pharmacy Services
Accessible Pharmacy Services for the Blind is a comprehensive, home delivery pharmacy service specializing in the needs of the blind and low vision community. We are the only provider of its kind and the largest blind-owned healthcare company in the United States. We also work closely with patients with other disabilities and seniors.
The pharmacy provides free delivery of prescription medication, over-the-counter medication, eye drops, insulin & diabetic supplies, vitamins & nutritional supplements, and guide dog & pet medication. It also offers free accessible packaging: presorted disposable pill organizers, presorted daily pill packets, standard and easy-open bottles, and single-unit liquid doses of children’s medicine for blind parents. In addition, the pharmacy provides free accessible labeling in braille, large print, ScripTalk, English and Spanish, and (coming in early 2022) WayAround Labels. For more information, call (215) 799-9900 or email [email protected].
Needle-Free Diabetes Test
A pain-free diabetes test developed at the University of Newcastle (Australia) could be in the hands of consumers in 2023. The sensor, similar in size to a stick of chewing gum and considerably thinner, detects substances that exist in saliva in minute concentrations. Coated with a natural enzyme – glucose oxidase – the biosensor interacts with saliva, producing a reaction that generates an electrical current. This current can be detected and measured to reveal highly accurate glucose levels which could be delivered via a smartphone app and the data stored in the cloud. Read the whole article at https://www.newcastle.edu.au/newsroom/featured/needle-free-diabetes-test.
Envision Research Fellow Promoted to Research Associate
The Envision Research Institute (ERI) recently announced the promotion of Jing Xu, Ph.D. to the position of Research Associate. Dr. Xu’s research will focus on designing and evaluating a collision warning and assistance system to support hazard detection and avoidance for drivers with vision loss due to age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
Braille Jumble with the BrailleBug
Tired of the same old ways of learning braille? Test your braille skills with this fun, interactive online game from the American Printing House for the Blind: https://braillebug.org/games/braille-jumble/.
First-of-its-kind Implant Moves to Clinical Trial
The Intracortical Visual Prosthesis (ICVP) is an implant that connects directly to the brain’s visual cortex, bypassing the retina and optic nerves. The ICVP is the first intracortical visual implant to use a group of fully implanted miniaturized wireless stimulators to help explore whether individuals with no sight can visualize rendered images in real time through visual perception. NIH has awarded Illinois Tech researchers $2.5 million for the first year of a three-year project that includes implanting their new type of wireless visual prosthesis system in volunteers.
In the past two years, the Illinois Tech team has worked with surgeons to develop and refine surgical procedures, and now are prepared to surgically implant the devices. During the clinical phase, the idea is to be able to test whether this device will provide study participants with an improved ability to navigate and perform basic orientation tasks.
Illinois Tech is partnering with Rush University Medical Center, The Chicago Lighthouse, Johns Hopkins University, the University of Texas at Dallas, Microprobes for Life Science, Sigenics, Inc., and the University of Chicago.
New from National Braille Press
There are a lot of new items available from National Braille Press.
In the children’s section, check out “Ten Ways to Hear Snow” by Cathy Camper and Kenard Pak. It’s available in UEB for ages 4 to 8.
For those who have made fitness one of your new year’s resolutions, you may want to take a look at “Your Personal Path to Fitness: Finding What Works for You” by Judy Dixon and Bonnie O’Day. It’s available in braille, BRF, Word and DAISY. Explore the universal benefits of an active lifestyle, as well as fitness opportunities available to people who are blind or low vision, including fitness basics, simple at-home fitness activities, apps, and much more.
If you love gadgets, gizmos and other technology, the Orbit Writer by Orbit Research may be right up your alley. This compact, sleek device allows you to connect instantly to your smartphone or computer. The package includes a soft protective case, a lanyard, a quick start guide in braille, and a charging cable. The Orbit Writer works with iOS, Android, Windows, macOS, Fire OS, Chrome OS and Linux devices.
For more information, call toll-free 1-800-548-7323, or visit www.nbp.org/ic/nbp/publications/index.html.