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

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

ByUnknownMay 26, 2016ImageI was looking through our catalog of previous entriesto this blog this morning, searching for inspiration, but the little box to myright could not be ignored. It is one of Wayne Thompson and FredGissoni’s original PortaBraille machines, and it has an interestingstory. We lost Fred abouteighteen months ago, so I can’t call him up any more and get someadditional—and usually very funny!—scoop. That continues to be a greatloss to us all. (You can read more about Fred in a previous Fred’s Head post http://www.fredshead.info/2010/03/fred-gissoni.html). Ihope everyone is excited about the new low cost refreshable braille displaythat will soon come out, the OrbitReader 20. Our story comes from the time before refreshable brailledevices were very common at all. In the mid-1980s, you only had a fewchoices: the ElinfaDigicassette and the TelesensoryVersabraille were just about the only game in town. Both stored theirinput on audio cassette tapes although later they c…1 commentRead More »

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

ByUnknownMay 25, 2016ImagePost a CommentRead More »

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

ByUnknownMay 24, 2016ImageWhether or not good public transportation exists in aparticular city or town, blind and visually impaired persons increasingly arerelying on services like LyftUber and other similar ridesharing servicesfor many reasons. These services provide timely rides with costs that usuallyare quite reasonable. Additionally, these service providers seek to keepdrivers and passengers safe. Background checks are part of the process ofbecoming a driver for such a platform. Cars must meet certain requirements andreceive inspections to assure they are safe and reliable. Lyft’s safety standards emphasize thesepoints. Uber has a safety page andadditional pages discussing driver and passenger safety.
Blind and visually impaired persons, however, can and shouldtake further steps to ensure they can ride safely when using these services. Wewelcome 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 ridesharings…Post a CommentRead More »

Throwback Thursday: A Couple of Older Braille Writers

ByUnknownMay 19, 2016ImageIt is unfortunate but we actually know much too little aboutour large collection of European braillewriters. Case in point the St.Dunstan’s Braille Writer, made in Croydon England by Redwing Ltd., a formeraircraft company. We just bought a second example and in the course ofcataloging it, I noticed that it is a direct knock-off of the original Pichtfrom Germany. Put them side by side and you’ll see what I mean. Theone we had was dated 1948 but with nothing to back that up. Look on theweb and… nada. But by widening my search a bit Ifound this.

It is cool because Sir Ian Fraser, the head of St. Dunstan’s–which was arehabilitation center for blinded British and Allied servicemen andwomen–freely admits it is “merely a copy.” By the way, we alsohave several of the Stainsby Waynes in our collection. More about thatlater.

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…1 commentRead More »

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

ByUnknownMay 18, 2016ImagePost a CommentRead More »

Redesign of our Physical Education, Recreational and Health Webpages!

ByUnknownMay 13, 2016ImageWe have completely redesigned our PhysicalEducation, Recreation, and Health informational pages! Besides the great newlook, these pages now contain many resources and include information concerningsport camps, toys and games, health and nutrition, organizations, otherwebsites, and relevant APH products. We encourage you to submit items to thesite! If your state, community, or agency is hosting a sporting event/camp,workshop, or training, send us the information using the form posted on thesite. http://www.aph.org/physical-education/

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

ByUnknownMay 12, 2016ImageOur object this week comes from our AER O&M Division C.Warren Bledsoe Archives collection. The Pathsounderwas invented by Lindsay Russell while working with the Sensory Aids Evaluationand Development Center at MIT in the early 1960s. It was one of the firstcommercially available electronic travel aids. Russell (1927-2000) hadworked on radar installations for the Signal Corps during WWII, which led to acareer in engineering and work on navigational aids for people who areblind. 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 VeteransAdministration Blind Rehabilitation Centers. Worn around the neck, it wasdesigned as a secondary aid, in addition to the use of the long cane. Itworked using sound waves, shooting them out in front and detecting them as theybounced off objects in the environment. Emitting a sound(buzzing orbeeping), or a vibration (at the chest or neck), or both, it alerted…Post a CommentRead More »

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.

ByUnknownMay 11, 2016ImagePost a CommentRead More »

Throwback Thursday: Possum Moon Typewriter

ByUnknownMay 05, 2016ImageOur object this week is a typewriter that wrote in aninteresting tactile code that continues to be used to this day, Moon-Type. ThePossum Moon Writer was introduced in 1986. On the front of the machine,which looks like a yellow typewriter without keys, is what the developer calleda “master pad”–a metal plate with indented lines from which the Mooncharacters are composed. The user inserted their right index finger into ametal ring attached to a lever above the master pad and traced the shape of thecharacter on the pad. This transmitted the shape of the character to thewriting mechanism and pushed a stylus to inscribe a small version of thecharacter onto paper. Dr. William Moon introduced his alphabet-based tactilesystem for reading and writing in 1847. He considered it superior toother forms of raised letters because he felt his letter shapes were morelegible. The first mechanical Moon writer was introduced in 1908 by hisdaughter, Adelaide. The system experienced s…Post a CommentRead More »

MAY 2016 APH News now online

ByUnknownMay 05, 2016http://www.aph.org/news

Click on the above link or copy and paste it into yourfavorite 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…
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Perkins School for the Blind Launches New BlindNewWorld Website

ByUnknownMay 05, 2016ImageMore than half of the sighted population can’t recall thelast time they saw someone who is blind in the last year. Somehow they havemissed a population of 7 million blind individuals. Why are blind peopleinvisible to the sighted world? What can be done to create a world that is moreinclusive of the blind community?

BlindNewWorld is a new social change campaign sponsoredby Perkins School for the Blind to debunk stereotypes and inspire the sighted populationto see the full social, professional and intellectual capabilities of peoplewho are blind.

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

Quick Tip: The ReadWrite mini

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About Fred’s Head

Welcome to the APH Blog, also known as Fred’s Head! This is where you’ll find information on new products, APH events and new developments in the field of blindness.


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Stan Greenwood
A humble human, who is always found working on something or drinking coffee. A perfect introvert who talks barely anything but shares a lot through his blog posts at FredForum.

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