The Blind Readers' Page--Main Menu
ABLEDATA: "an electronic database of information on assistive technology and rehabilitation equipment available in the United States. With more than 29,000 product listings, ABLEDATA covers everything from white canes and adaptive clothing to low vision reading systems and voice output programs. Each product record provides a detailed description of the item, complete company contact information, and distributor listings (where applicable). In addition to commercially available products, the database also lists non-commercial prototypes, customized products, and one-of-a-kind products"
"AccessWorld," a publication of the American Foundation for the Blind, publishes frequent comprehensive reviews of optical aids and computer access technology.
Adaptive Technology Resources
921 Vista Ln.
Grafton, WI 53024
American Printing House for the Blind: publishes in braille, large print, cassette and computer disk formats; textbooks and braille writing materials; specializes in adaptive equipment for educational purposes.
Ameritech Special Needs Center, Special Discounts and Services: Information about exemption from charges for Operator Services, exemption from charges for calls to Information, Braille telephone bills, discounts on usage charges and "Special Equipment Programs."
Ann Morris Enterprises
890 Fams Court
East Meadow, NY 11554
At First Sight (Denton, TX) sells braille jewelry, including pendants, necklaces and bracelets.
Attainment Company: augmentative communication, software, video, print/kits.
Badger Association of the Blind: among many other services, sells magnifiers and other aids for the visually handicapped in their Outlook Shoppe.
Bank One can provide its customers with checks and statements in accessible media, braille ATM's, TDD services, and accessible facilities. Contact the Community Outreach Banker, Lynette Jarreau. Phone: 414-765-2899.
Beyond Sight, Inc. (Littleton, CO) has an online catalog of aids and appliances, including adaptive computer software and more traditional aids like magnifiers and talking watches.
Blind-Novel-Tees sells hats and t-shirts bearing blindness-related slogans with lots of attitude.
Blind Treasures [Radford, VA] is an online auction site for speech synthesizers, braille devices, talking products, OCR, software, hardware, educational aids for children and adults, personal products, and collectibles.
The Boulevard: "An Assistive Technology Expo providing valuable information about quality products and services available to individuals with disabilities and healthcare professionals." The site covers an extraordinarily large range of products and disabilities but the use of tables for layout on the home page may make it inaccessible to some browsers.
Braille Jewelry: ring, necklace, bracelet, keychain, pendant, by C. Roule. Nice-looking jewelry but the site leaves almost everything to be desired as far as accessibility goes.
Breaking Barriers to Go Beyond Sight
Calendars: The National Library Service has compiled a Factsheet on sources of 2002 calendars in accessible formats, braille or print/braille.
California Canes sells folding and rigid canes that have joints and shafts made from 100% carbon fiber--lighter and more rigid than aluminum. They also sell a glow-in-the-dark guide dog harness handle.
Carolyn's: Enhanced Living Products: optical and computer aids; talking products; gadgets for the home
P.O. Box 14577
Bradenton, FL 34208
Cassette Book Machines (4-track players and recorders): The National Library Service has compiled a Factsheet, "Sources for Purchase of Cassette Players and Player-Recorders Compatible with Recorded Materials Produced by the National Library Service (NLS) " [April 2000].
Cassette Book Machine Accessories: The "Speech Expressor," from the American Printing House, is a stand-alone, portable pitch restoration unit for regular or Library of Congress tape players. It allows you to listen at speeds from about 50% to 250% of normal speech, with correct pitch.
Cassette Book Machine Accessories: Pillow Speaker (standard model), $9.95; SoftSpeaker Pillow Speaker, $19.95, both from C. Crane Company, $9.95. [Go first to the Product Directory, then to Headphones and Speakers for full descriptions.]
Cassette Book Machine Accessories: The Boostaroo is a portable audio amplifier that will boost the volume by 40% of any audio source that uses a standard headphone jack.
Cassette Book Machine Accessories: The Talking Book Marker is a small switch that can be attached to a cassette player. If you hold it gently while listening to a book, the machine will shut off when you fall asleep. It is $24.95 plus $3.00 shipping and handling from:
Talking Book Marker
835 Emma Street
Butte, MT 59701
"Spinoza ... the Bear Who Speaks from the Heart" is a furry bear containing a two-speed cassette player that will play both the Spinoza collection of nine tapes encouraging self-esteem, conflict resolution and other topics, as well as Library of Congress four-track tapes.
Christiansen Designs, "Creators of the world's first line of braille jewelry," have a variety of pieces with braille designs, motifs and messages.
Descriptive TheatreVision offers audio-described motion pictures for the blind and visually impaired in movie theaters. It also has produced a described version of "Titanic."
P.O. Box 900
Woodland Hills, CA 91365
"The Disability Mall is an easy-to-use directory designed and committed to featuring information on disability and medical products, resources and services with over 2,500 links including over 400 companies."
Disability Specialtys (Saint Albans, WV): adaptive computer equipment, CCTV magnifiers and other products for blind people.
EnableMart is an online store that sells a wide variety of adaptive computer hardware and software, as well as CCTV magnifiers.
The Fred's Head database, created by the American Printing House for the Blind from the contributions of blind people themselves, is a collection of valuable tips and techniques for making daily living easier when you are blind or visually handicapped.
Full Life Products sells a wide variety of telephone products for people with impaired sight, hearing, mobility or dexterity. They also sell talking calculators.
Gold Violin sells a variety of products for senior citizens, including large print items, talking clocks and watches, and magnifiers.
Home Readers offers 36 different catalogs and cookbooks on 4-track audio cassette tape, enabling blind and visually handicapped people to shop for themselves via catalog.
HotBraille is a free braille transcribing service on the World Wide Web. It will braille a letter up to four Braille pages long, print it out, and mail it.
Howell Mobility Products (Royal Oak, MI) sells "a line of sturdy aluminum folding and straight white canes and several specialized cane tips."
Independent Living Aids
27 East Mall
Plainview, NY 11803
The Institute for Innovative Blind Navigation has a well-annotated review of current research into the technology of navigational aids for the blind.
IRTI: Innovative Rehabilitation Technology, Inc.: talking appliances and devices, four-track players and recorders, adaptive computer hardware and software, CCTV magnifiers. They produce a free audio casstte magazine, "Technical Innovations Bulletin."
ITT Industries sells two night-vision devices, adapted from military technology, that would be useful for "patients whose retinal degeneration renders them night-blind."
Jett Enterprises 2001-2002 "No Frills, Just Priced Right" catalog of helpful products, gifts and stuff for your guide dog.
P.O. Box 673
Northbrook, IL 60065
42 Executive Boulevard
Farmingdale, NY 11735
Medicare and rehabilitation services: two bills, S.1967 and H.R. 2484, have been introduced into Congress; they will allow payment for vision-related rehabilitation services for Medicare beneficiaries and will add vision rehabilitation professionals (orientation and mobility specialists, rehabilitation teachers and low vision therapists) to the Medicare program as eligible providers. The site of the National Vision Rehabilitation Cooperative has more information.
Mobile Phones: The Panasonic Allure mobile phone has accessible features like TTY compatibility; voice output of selected prompts and messages; and voice commands for dialing and selected other functions. AT&T Wireless describes some of the available accessibility features on other phones.
The Motion Picture Access Project has made about ten first-run films accessible in movie theaters by means of captioning for deaf people and audio description for blind people.
A list of theaters where captioning and description are available is posted at the WGBH site.
New York Lighthouse for the Blind
36-02 Northern Boulevard
Long Island City, NY 11101-1614
National Association for Visually Handicapped:
Includes an online catalog and ordering information.
Note Teller 2 is a pocket-size portable bank note reader that reads all old and new designs of U.S. bank notes. The Enhanced Note Teller 2 for the deaf-blind uses a simple-to-learn series of vibrations to indicate the denomination of each bank note.
Outa Sight Products has a wide variety of products for the visually impaired, and a catalog available in many formats.
"The Portable Print Reading Device, 'P2RD,' now in its final design and manufacturing phase, is expected to be available during the second quarter of 2003." It will combine a digital camera, optical character recognition, text to speech output and a tactile braille display for text and graphics. It is the long-awaited replacement, portable this time, for the Optacon.
OTT-LITE VisionSaver lighting: uses special bulbs intended to produce balanced, glare-free lighting products.
Panasonic has three models of multifunction office copiers with features accessible to users in wheelchairs or users with hearing or vision disabilities.
Parrot Plus V3 is a hand-held personal assistant with voice recognition that includes a telephone directory, note-taker, meeting planner, alarm clock and calculator--very blind-friendly.
Perceptual Alternatives (Melbourne, Australia): discussion of electronic travel aids, the long cane and guide dogs; "Sonic Pathfinder: An Electronic Travel Aid for the Vision Impaired" which uses a pulse-echo sonar system mounted on a headset.
"Quilts from Caring Hands creates tactile quilts and toys for visually-impaired children [in the Willamette valley of Oregon]. The quilts and toys are made with high contrast colors and interesting textures in order to encourage visually-impaired children to explore their environment through touch and what sight they may have, if any."
Recordings for Recovery lends music recordings to people who are institutionalized, homebound or otherwise limited by disabling conditions.
""Sharing Solutions"," a newsletter of Lighthouse International has an article on persuading Medicare to cover the cost of a CCTV: "Medicare Coverage for Optical Devices: What You Need to Know." The author comments: "It is a long process, and not one for the faint-hearted," but it has occasionally succeeded.
Sight Connection: Products for Living With Vision Loss; order more than 200 items on-line. Their catalog is also available in large print, Braille, audiotape or PC disk.
"Sound Solutions: Answers for People Adjusting to Sight Loss" is a series of fourteen free audiotapes, from the Braille Institute of America, that present "practical information, resources and encouragement for seniors . . . who are experiencing sight loss. They are professionally produced, using creative scripts, testimonials, sound effects, music and humor to communicate practical information for daily living."
South Dakota Industries for the Blind sells large-print checkbooks, address books and wall calendars.
The Speech-to-Speech service uses a Communication Assistant and a relay call to enable people with severe speech difficulties to make telephone calls. The service is available nation-wide. The number in Wisconsin is: 1-800-833-7637.
Talking Rx is a digital recorder/player that fits on the bottom of standard prescription bottles, enabling a pharmacist to record complete instructions for taking the medication.
Technologies for the Visually Impaired
9 Nolan Court
Hauppauge, NY 11788
TOYS: Wisconsin First Step has compiled a directory of over forty suppliers of toys for children with a wide variety of disabilities, including blindness and low vision.
Voice Diary is a personal organizer with 90 minutes of recording time; it works as a diary, appointment calendar, notebook, calculator, phonebook, clock and timer.
Wisconsin Council of the Blind: wide selection of products both for the blind and the visually handicapped, including magnifiers, braille writing supplies and white canes.
The 2000 Dueling Scanners Report directly compares the performance of scanners and OCR technology from Jbliss, Arkenstone and Kurzweil Educational Systems, Inc.
Wisconsin sellers of helpful products for blind and visually handicapped people.
Wisconsin sellers of adaptive computer hardware and software.
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