A Guide to Easier Living with Technology

May 28, 2009

The ATA has a posted a very useful guide.
Rather than cataloging every type of technology that you might find useful, this guide presents some sample situations you might encounter during a typical day and suggests product categories or strategies that others have found useful. They’ve also interviewed some of the people that the Alliance for Technology Access has worked with over the years and shared their stories about how they’re using various devices every day. The guide ends with a listing of resources that can help you research the products most relevant to your life.

Lauren Tappan




List of Assistive Technology sites

May 28, 2009

Here is a list of over 2,600 assistive technology sites. Be Patient. It loads slowly.


Vision-Friendly Technology

May 22, 2009

Dorrie Rush of the International Lighthouse speaks about her experience with vision-friendly technology such as talking ATMs, the newest Kindle, the Jitterbug, the iPod Nano, GPS, etc.

Low Vision Magazines and Newsletters

May 13, 2009

Dialogue Magazine This is a subscription magazine with some sample articles available online. Blind Skills Incorporated out of Salem, Oregon, publishes a magazine every two months entitled Dialogue (A World of Ideas for Visually Impaired People of All Ages). However, you can receive this magazine from the Library for the Blind, or contact Blind Skills at 800-860-4224 or 503-581-4224. This magazine receives submissions from people with low vision on topics such as, “Living with Low-Vision”, “Learning Braille the Hard Way”, “Achieve Self-Empowerment through Martial Arts”, “Technology AT Answer Book”. This month’s column discusses new releases of Screen Readers. Another column is entitled “Portable CCTV Offers New Features and Convenience”. There are special feature articles on personal stories. There’s also a section on obstacles and opportunities. Also a section on what’s new and where to get it and of course editorials and editor’s welcome. I strongly recommend looking at this magazine and possibly making a submission. This is a great resource for people with low-vision.


VISION ACCESS is a magazine by, for, and about people with low vision. VISION ACCESS is published quarterly in four formats (large print, cassette, onlien or e-mail) by the Council of Citizens with Low Vision International (CCLVI), a not-for-profit affiliate of the American Council of the Blind. There are over 20 issues archived on the Internet.


The Low Vision Center of Indiana Newsletter is an online newsletter bringing you news on new developments and useful info.


The San Antonio Low Vision Club publishes a quarterly newsletter for its members.  The newsletter is called “Low Viz Biz”.  They make each newsletter available here on their web site and keep an archive of past issues for your reference.


Lighthouse International Newsletter announces national and New York oriented developments. Free subscription.


The EyePower Newsletter is published quarterly by the Low Vision Center.  Recent issues are available here in both text (HTML) format and Portable Document Format (PDF). It is amongst the most informative nationally.


I hope these prove to be useful to you. Lauren Tappan

Jordy II Adds New Docking Station

May 13, 2009

Jordy DockEnhanced Vision Systems has released an amazing new docking station stand for the Jordy II. The new stand includes a light, lockable table and a docking station connection similar to a computer docking station. Sliding in the control unit into the docking unit connects both the power and the video connection.

This will make it easier for Jordy II users to remove and reconnect their systems. When worn on the head, the Jordy can have up to 25X magnification. In the docking station connected to a television, the total magnification is limited only by the size of the television. It can easily obtain over 70X magnification on 25–27 inch television set.


Dual role of glial cells may be harnessed to treat neurological diseases

May 11, 2009

WASHINGTON – Glial Cells, which are involved in the survival of nerve cell (neuron), also play an active and major role in the death of neurons in the eye, and can thus lead to therapies for a variety of acute and chronic neurological disorders, including glaucoma and retinal artery occlusion, says a study.

Scientists have for long thought that the toxic effects of glutamate was because the factor overexcites neuronal cells via activation of glutamate receptors and thereby kills them.

“The most interesting aspect of our study and the reason we are so excited is that the pathway leading to glutamate-induced nerve cell death involves another vital player – namely, glial cells. Through careful experimentation we now know that glutamate activates signaling pathways in glial cells that then lead to neuronal death,” said Dr. Adriana Di Polo, neuroscientist at Universite de Montreal (UdeM).

Glial cells are the most abundant cell type in the nervous system, and are traditionally thought of as ‘partner’ cells to nerve cells providing support, nutrients and an optimal environment.

The new study, however, suggested that glial cells also have a more sinister side that allows them to induce or exacerbate neuronal death in pathological conditions.

“Neuronal cell death induced by glutamate is a key step in a large number of injury and disease settings and this study is important because it provides a road-map for the cellular and molecular events that allow this to occur” says Dr. Philip Barker, a neuroscientist at the MNI.

He added: “The fact that specific signaling events in glial cells are important for inducing neuronal cell death is surprising and suggests new therapeutic targets for conditions that involve excitotoxicity.”

The new study focused on nerve cells in the retina, which convey information from the retina to the brain along the optic nerve, and are the primary link between the retina and the brain.

The death of these retinal neurons from excess glutamate causes vision loss in various neurodegenerative disorders including optic neuropathies.

And when the researchers disrupted the signalling events in surrounding glial cells, they could protect the majority of these neurons, confirming that glial cell events play a key role in death triggered by glutamate.

The findings could lead to the treatment of a wide-range of neurological and neurodegenerative diseases.

The study has been published in The Journal of Neuroscience. (ANI)


Safety Tips for People with Low Vision

May 10, 2009

To help people with low vision perform everyday tasks more easily while reducing their risk of falls and other injuries, the American Foundation for the Blind offers several useful tips:

  1. Keep rooms well lit. Good overall lighting is a must for safety.
  2. Use task lighting to make everyday activities easier.
  3. Use night lights in bedrooms, hallways, bathrooms, and the kitchen to make it easier for people with low vision to navigate in the dark.
  4. Make stairways safer by placing a brightly colored strip of tape along the edge of each step.
  5. Make door frames and light switches easier to see by painting them a color that contrasts with the walls around them.
  6. Cut light-colored items on a dark cutting board and dark items on a light cutting board. [Some companies now sell cutting boards that are white on one side and black on the other.]
  7. Place plates and food service items on placemats that are a contrasting color.
  8. Use pill organizers with raised markings or talking labels to help prevent serious medication mishaps.
  9. Eliminate clutter—dispose of unnecessary items, put things away as soon as you have finished using them, and always return them to the same place.
  10. Reposition television sets so that neither sunlight nor lamplight shines directly on the screen.
  11. http://seniorliving.about.com/od/visionproblems/a/low_vision.htm