ICUB BULLETIN Fall 2015

ICUB BULLETIN

Fall 2015

Published by the

IOWA COUNCIL OF THE UNITED BLIND

Web Site: www.icublind.org

An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind


Cynthia Qloud, President

1918 E. 12th

Des Moines, IA 50316

(515) 266-5110

E-Mail: Qloud2@mchsi.com

Norma A. Boge, Co-Editor

2324 Riverwoods Ave.

Des Moines, IA 50320-2808

(515) 288-1938

E-Mail: naboge@mchsi.com


Don Wirth, Co-Editor

921 – 9th St., #208

Ames, IA 50010

(515) 451-3379

E-Mail: don.wirth@gmail.com






CHANGE OF FORMAT OR RETURNING CASSETTES

Anyone who cannot read this print Bulletin, finds it difficult to have it read or wishes an e-mail or cassette version may receive a copy at no charge. Please contact Jo Slayton at (515) 279-4284 to request an alternative format. Cassette readers may keep their copy of the Bulletin. However, to return cassettes when you are finished with them, please place them in a NEW standard mailing envelope, write “Free Matter for the Blind” in the upper right hand corner, and return them to the editor at the address on the front of this Bulletin. Please remember to contact the editor if your address changes. We want to make sure that anyone who wants to receive a Bulletin gets one!


SELECTING ICUB AS A BENEFICIARY

If you or a friend would like to remember the Iowa Council of the United Blind in your will, you may do so by using the following language: “I grant, devise, or bequeath unto the Iowa Council of the United Blind, a non-profit charitable organization, the sum of ______ dollars, ____ percent of my net estate, or the following stocks and bonds (please list them) to be used for its worthy purposes on behalf of blind persons.” If your wishes are more complex, you may have your attorney call (515) 279-4284, or write Iowa Council of the United Blind, 4013 30TH Street, Des Moines, IA 50310.

DONATING YOUR VEHICLE TO BENEFIT ICUB

Do you need to dispose of a used vehicle? ICUB's Used Vehicle Donation Program offers a perfect solution. Your vehicle will be picked up from your home and sold at auction. A portion of the proceeds go directly to ICUB. You claim a tax deduction equal to the dollar value of the vehicle. Call 800-899-4925 for more information.

SHOPPING TO BENEFIT ICUB!

Are you an online shopper? You can help ICUB secure some additional funds when you shop at smile.amazon.com. There, enter your e-mail address and password. You will be prompted to shop for the charity Amazon is promoting that day or to select your own. In the dialog box for selecting your own, type our name, Iowa Council of the United Blind. We will be the charity of choice each time you shop at

smile.amazon.com. ICUB will receive 0.5% of the value of purchases. If you do not yet have an account at Amazon, go to their website, establish an account, and then go to smile.amazon.com to make your purchases. Happy shopping!


Contents

Editor’s Notes. 4

President’s Report: ACB Conference and Convention. 4

Sioux City Vision Loss Resource Fair 8

White Cane Safety Day 2015 to be celebrated in Des Moines. 9

The KNFB App for Mobile Devices. 10

Des Moines Chapter Update. 12

Local Lobbying That Gets Results. 14

Netflix Now Offers Streaming Movies with Audio Description. 15

Outstanding in Her Field. 16

Hearing is Believing at Audio Described Movie. 18

Smartphone Technology Enables Blind to 'See' 19

WITH MY EYES WIDE SHUT. 20

News You Can Use. 23

ICUB Officers and Directors. 23


Editor’s Notes


As was hinted at in our previous issue, the ICUB has a new and exciting way of getting the Bulletin to you. Thanks to the cooperation of the staff at the Iowa Department for the Blind library, you can now subscribe to the audio version of the ICUB Bulletin and receive it on a digital cartridge. This is the same cartridge on which many books and magazines are currently distributed and which can be played on the NLS digital talking book player. You will need to return the cartridge to the library when you are finished so you will receive the next issue. Once you subscribe, and as long as you return the cartridges, you will automatically receive the next issue when it is available. To subscribe, please contact the IDB library at 515-281-1368 or in Iowa 800-362-2587, ext. 1-1368. After you have subscribed, please let Norma Boge know so we can update our records. And, as usual, large print and email editions are also available.

Thanks to our guest contributors for their submissions, we think you will enjoy their articles. Deadline for the next issue is February 1, 2016, please put this on your calendars and get your chapter reports and other articles to us. Thank you!


President’s Report: ACB Conference and Convention

By Cynthia Qloud

Editor’s Note: Due to space limitations, following is an abridged version of Cynthia’s report.


Dear Members, I want to sincerely thank you for the opportunity to attend this convention. I suggest you go to the web site, www.acb.org, and check out archives of the convention. There you can find many resources related to technology, and information about some of what I am presenting in this document.

In addition to thanking all of you for helping me attend the convention, I would like to sincerely thank Donna and Bob Seliger, who helped me feel at home, Elsie and Arlo Monthei for being partners in crime at the ACB banquet, and I would like to thank Norma Boge and Eldon Conyers for their pat on the back when we were voting. Finally thanks go to the two ladies who shared my room with me, Lori Trujillo Roush and Carrie Chapman. These two ladies presented One-Touch training at the convention in four different sessions, and they made us proud.

Feel free to call me to discuss this convention report.

The 2015 National conference and Convention of the American Council of the Blind was held in Dallas between July 3 and July 11. I served as the ICUB delegate and the Alternate delegate was Arlo Monthei. There were 9 members representing Iowa in our delegation.

I will present in this article an overview of my activities at the conference and convention.

In addition to the daily general sessions, other meetings I attended included the American Association of blind teacher’s breakfast, the Affiliate President’s meeting, ACB membership seminar and a Conventional training vs. structured discovery workshop. And I did take advantage of some of the computer-related trainings which addressed, in part, using the Apple Mac and IOS devices, Windows 10 and cloud-based computing.

A pleasant surprise at this year’s convention was hearing that an Iowan was among the ACB scholarship winners. Her name is Christiane Steele from Burlington and she is a junior majoring in special education. She is taking classes through Western Governor's University in Utah and is a 4.0 student.

The Lone Star Loot auction was a very popular event at this year’s convention. One of ACB’s biggest fundraisers, it featured vacation packages, sports memorabilia, assistive technology and more. The ICUB donated a $100 gift card to the Amana Meat Shop and Smokehouse, which sold for $120.

The main subject of discussion at the affiliate presidents meeting was membership development. The idea of having an ACB board member act as liaison to state affiliates was also discussed. I believe this would be very helpful to the ICUB as we need help in this area. Such a liaison would also help us in bringing matters which are more local in nature to the attention of ACB’s national leaders.

The membership seminar began with a panel discussion on using state conventions as a

Tool for recruiting members. ICUB director Donna Seliger was among the panel’s speakers. I learned that North Dakota uses the Lions Clubs to help transport members to conventions. Using social media and web pages were also discussed. We have a nice web site, and we are working on Facebook, but I believe we need an even bigger presence in these areas. Facebook seems to be the way for connecting people and providing the most up-to-date information as to what is happening around the state. So look for this at our next convention.

The exhibit hall was the place for hands-on shopping for everything from jewelry to watches to assistive technology. The ACB Mini Mall sold all the ACB branded items, including official t-shirts, pins, mugs, canes and much, much more. New this year was a Durward K. McDaniel commemorative coin which says “Father of ACB” in braille.

All the major vendors of technology were present, including Freedom scientific, HIMS, Humanware and 4-Square which is G.W. Micro. Enabling Technologies exhibited their braille embossers and Baum USA displayed a new, and cute, little notetaker.

There were many guide dog schools, and even the Seattle Lighthouse for the Blind was there recruiting employees. What I did not see were a lot of vendors of just the stuff we all need and use on a regular basis. I recall seeing only Maxi Aids and the American Printing House for the Blind.

Conventional Training VS Structured Discovery Training

The majority of centers for the blind in this country use conventional training as the method for teaching cane travel, home economics, etc. Conventional training involves an instructor telling you how to perform a task step-by-step. Structured discovery does, however, incorporate some aspects of conventional training. One example would be teaching the basics of using the white cane. But after a person has learned the basics and the instructor is satisfied the student can travel safely, the student is then given routes which they travel independently.

The moderators of this seminar suggested that in places where Structured Discovery was the method taught for blindness training, it would be more beneficial if in addition they also offered a conventional training option. My notion is if this is the case, then perhaps those rehab centers for the blind who only offer a conventional training session should offer a structured discovery option as well.

There were concerns from audience participants about the kind of center to attend. I suggested a focus on structured discovery is more comprehensive and takes longer for the participant, but often those who participate in such centers get better paying jobs. Structured discovery may seem more frightening to a newly blind person, but in the long run it is of more benefit to them.

Joe Wilson of Talking Book Publishers in Denver, Colorado is a NLS narrator who spoke about the work he does. He has a background in radio and theatre and has been at Talking Book Publishers for 7 years. After reading an excerpt from a book he provided some background as to how a talking book is produced. Preparing for the actual recording includes assignment to a narrator, highlighting difficult words, compiling a pronunciation list and much more. This prep work often takes twice as long as the reading time of the recorded book.

Lastly, ACB convention Coordinator Janet Dickelman of St. Paul, Minnesota reported on the next two upcoming conventions. Next year we’ll convene in Minneapolis at the Hyatt Regency from July 1-9. 2017 will find the ACB returning to John Ascuaga’s Nugget in Sparks (Reno) Nevada, with the conference and convention beginning June 30.


Sioux City Vision Loss Resource Fair


October 22, 2015

12:30 pm to 3:30 pm

Western Iowa Tech Community College, Corporate College (CCO) Building, Room B174, 4647 Stone Ave, Sioux City, IA


Staff from the Iowa Department for the Blind will join technology vendors and local service providers to hold a vision loss resource fair. Useful information, tips and techniques, and resources to help those experiencing vision loss to continue working and living independently will be featured.

The event is free and open to the public and is not only for those persons experiencing vision loss. Family members, friends, service providers, and interested area residents are encouraged to attend, too.

For more information contact Rick Dressler, (515) 281-1314, rick.dressler@blind.state.ia.us


White Cane Safety Day 2015 to be Celebrated in Des Moines


Walk with the Iowa Department for the Blind on October 15


When: Thursday, October 15, 2015 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm

Where: Iowa Department for the Blind, 524 Fourth St and Principal Riverwalk, downtown Des Moines, Iowa


White Cane Safety Day, also known as Blind Americans Equality Day, is an annual, national observance that recognizes the achievements of blind Americans and the importance of the white cane as the basic tool of mobility and symbol of independence for the blind. In 1964, the United States Congress authorized the President of the United States to proclaim October 15 of each year as "White Cane Safety Day". In fact, White Cane Safety Day is now celebrated around the world in many countries on the same date.

The Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB) is hosting a celebration and community walk to mark the occasion and is inviting members of Iowa’s blindness community to participate. Located at 524 Fourth Street in Des Moines, IDB’s event will take place from 12:30 to 3:30 pm.

The event will open in the Department’s Assembly Room with some remarks by Director Richard Sorey recognizing the significance of the day and welcoming special guests. Proclamations of White Cane Safety Day from both the State of Iowa signed by Governor Terry Branstad and the City of Des Moines signed by Mayor Frank Cownie will then be presented and read.

Following the introduction, members of Iowa’s blindness community and their supporters will depart on a group walk on the nearby Principal Riverwalk along the Des Moines River downtown. The 1.2 mile paved loop trail provides an excellent opportunity to experience landscaped public spaces, world-class public art, and unique pedestrian bridges and pathways along the way. A guide to the trail walk will be provided in both Braille and large print to enhance the experience for walkers. A half-loop option will be available for those that choose not to travel the entire distance. Walkers will then return to the Iowa Department for the Blind to enjoy refreshments prepared by students of IDB’s Orientation Center, share social time with fellow walkers, and visit with exhibitors from blindness consumer groups, newspaper reading services, organizations like the VA’s Blind Rehabilitation Services, and the Friends of the Library.

The Department encourages all blind and visually impaired Iowans and their supporters to join in this fun and meaningful celebration of White Cane Safety Day 2015.

For more information about this event, contact Rick Dressler, (515) 281-1314, rick.dressler@blind.state.ia.us.


The KNFB App for Mobile Devices

By Don Worth


Within the last year an app has been developed for Apple mobile devices that make reading menus, signs and practically anything instantly available to blind individuals. The app is the KNFB reader.

The app allows you to take a picture of the written material and almost instantly begins reading it to you. It is an OCR reader that is extremely fast and accurate.

To site some examples:


· I live in a multi-unit condominium. There was a package sitting near the mailboxes. Was it for me or my wife or someone else in the building? I pulled out my iPhone; activated the KNFB app and took a picture. Within seconds, I knew it was from Target Stores and for someone else. I didn’t need to have someone else read it to me. Nor, did I need to haul it to my condo and then haul it back.


· A friend dropped her laptop. When she tried to re-boot it, nothing happened. There was no one around to help her with it. She fired up the KNFB app and took a picture of the screen. The app read the screen message that told her to press a certain button. She hit the button and the computer fired up.


· I have gone to a number of restaurants that don’t have braille menus. Using the KNFB app, I take a picture of the menu and I am soon reading the menu item, its description and price. Then I can save the picture for the next time I go to the restaurant.


The app is a bit pricey at $99.99. But, the speed, accuracy and freedom it provides have made it well worth the purchase price to me.

As far as I can tell, the app is only available for IOS devices. However, the developers are working on making it available on Android and Google Glass devices. A news story on this can be found at:

http://mobile.reuters.com/article/idINKBN0HF08S20140920?irpc=932

To obtain the app, go to the App Store on your IPhone and search for KNFB.

Des Moines Chapter Update

By Jo Ann Slayton, President


As I'm writing this report on such a beautiful Sunday afternoon, I'm wondering where the summer went!!

June found John Patterson addressing chapter members regarding an upcoming beep baseball tournament in New York. We were pleased to meet and greet John's new baby daughter, Riley, at this meeting. The Des Moines Chapter has several active beep baseball players.

Some of our members attended a day-long seminar in Marshalltown hosted by the Iowa Department of Transportation. We all are vitally interested in various modes of transportation, local and statewide, as noted by the passage of a resolution during our ICUB conference and convention in April. Also members participated in Vision Fairs in Des Moines and Council Bluffs. We're always looking for opportunities to invite individuals to join our Des Moines Chapter, and share ideas.

Several members from Des Moines traveled to Dallas, TX for the ACB National Conference and Convention, and we're looking forward to their reports. The Des Moines Chapter voted to support ACB with a check of $300 presented at the Opening Session, and also the chapter purchased raffle tickets to support The ACB Braille Forum.

On July 25, about 20 members and friends attended a matinee at the Flix Brew House at Merle Hay Mall, with audio description of Ant-Man. Thanks to Lori Trujillo Roush for arranging this fun afternoon.

At our August meeting, Frank Guerra, Coach of the Iowa Reapers beep baseball team gave a presentation, inviting members to participate during the 2016 Beep Ball World Series to be held in Ames. Frank and several team members answered questions about the game and tournaments.

Thanks so much to Frank and his team. Our chapter supports the activities of Adaptive Sports Iowa, and we'd be glad to forward your name to Frank if you're interested in beep baseball or the weekly winter goal ball games.

Our annual chapter picnic, with approximately 45 in attendance, was a great time on August 15. The Iowa Reapers let those interested try their hand at hitting a beep baseball and run for a base. A giant Jenga game proved to be challenging, fun and frustrating all at the same time. We enjoyed chicken and pot luck side dishes and desserts and plenty of time to chat.

Our chapter sent letters of appreciation to Roy Avers and Mitzi Friedlander. Roy and Mitzi have retired after long and distinguished careers as talking book narrators at the American Printing House for the Blind.

September will include time for sharing with one another, sort of a "brag and steal" session with members discussing websites, apps, and gadgets, or asking questions of one another, etc. We plan to discuss the Hy-Vee website, which offers shopping for home delivery, and how accessible this website is for members. We'll also have a report on voting machines recently used at a local school board election, as it’s not too early to start preparing for next year’s general election. We'll also be making plans to attend the Dubuque banquet October 24, and hope to see many of you there.

Local chapter and state dues will be coming up in the next couple of months. If you haven't already joined ICUB, I would invite you to please join and support members in ongoing projects. I'm appreciative of Des Moines Chapter members' support, as well as our President, CIP Qloud's leadership of ICUB. Thanks also to our new Co-Editors of the Bulletin, Don and Norma.


Local Lobbying That Gets Results

by Catherine Witte


“Just because you can’t be in Des Moines, doesn’t mean you can’t do something!”

Rose Stratton said it. She believes it is so, and acts upon it.

In recent years, blind Iowans have had various concerns about services for the blind, the make-up of the Commission Board, or the management of our agency, the Iowa Department for the Blind. On some of those occasions, opportunities to address the issues have developed within the legislature. And when those opportunities occurred, Rose contacted both her State Representative and her State Senator. Rose lives in Maquoketa, in Jackson County, and is represented in the Iowa legislature by Senator Tod Bowman, Democrat, and Representative Brian Moore, Republican. As issues occur, Rose contacts each of them, without regard to party affiliation. Generally, she telephones them, but sometimes has relied upon her typewriter and the U.S. mail to convey her message.

What has happened over time as Rose’s contacts with the legislators have increased is the development of a personal relationship, in particular with Senator Bowman. When the Senator visited each household in Maquoketa in the summer of 2014, he and Rose recognized one another by name! So Mr. Bowman was invited in for a chat! Rose has learned much about his background and his interests, as he has about hers. It is a relationship they can both rely upon to obtain one another’s viewpoint or opinion.

Very often, Rose has left a voice mail message for Representative Moore or Senator Bowman. She reports that both men have graciously returned her calls promptly, and taken the time to talk with her about the current issue. She has always been treated courteously, and has felt that the legislators regarded her issue and opinion as valuable to them in considering upcoming legislation.

It is true, Rose says, that from time to time she has felt she needed to get more information on an issue. In those instances, she has turned to longtime friends in the blind community to fill her in on the topics at hand.

Rose says that she knows that not every issue she comments upon makes it through the legislative process or comes to a vote. Still she believes she makes a difference by keeping the viewpoint of at least one blind Iowan before legislators. And she feels that is worthwhile. She points to agency or Commission actions within the last year that occurred because consumers spoke up: notably the return of monies to the Gifts and Bequests fund, and a reversal of a mistaken decision to sell the Department’s bus, most often used by Orientation Center students.

So we will remind you again of Rose’s wisdom on contacting your legislators: “Just because you can’t be in Des Moines, doesn’t mean you can’t do something!” We hope you will take her advice to heart!


Netflix Now Offers Streaming Movies with Audio Description


In April 2015, Netflix began offering select streaming videos with audio description (AD). An AD track includes a narrator describing what is happening on the screen. The first offering was Marvel's Daredevil. Additional initial offerings included The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Jack Reacher, How to Train Your Dragon, 2, and Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, as well as series like Parks and Recreation, Psych, and Royal Pains. Only streaming videos (not DVDs) are offered with description through Netflix.

To see the complete list of audio described videos available, click the audio description link at the bottom of the Netflix home page after signing in. (You must have a Netflix account if you click the link on this page. You may sign up for Netflix free for the first month if you wish to sample the service.)

Devices on which audio description can be accessed include Windows PC, Apple Mac, Android or IOS.


Outstanding in Her Field


Having grown up on a farm, Jeana Mowery spent many summers walking beans. Recently, she decided to take a trip down memory lane (or, rather, bean row) and walk beans on her family farm. “It’s not like it was in the past. The rows are 12 inches apart rather than the 24 inches we had when I was younger. “ It didn’t take long to lose track of the row and not be sure if she was in the space between the rows or the row itself. If not for her daughter’s assistance, perhaps Jeana would be literally out standing in her field.

The bean walking experience is a way of Jeana living the philosophy she brings to ICUB through service on the board as treasurer. Jeana believes there are two types of life styles for the blind – “learn to live with it and find ways to continue to get things done” or “it’s the end of the world.” Jeana believes ICUB promotes the first and is essential to convince the latter that it isn’t the end of the world.

Jeana lost her sight when she was 20 as a result of glaucoma and an

experimental surgery. She spent a year at the IDB Orientation Center in the mid-80’s. She says she was there that long partly because she

rebelled against the philosophy that “blindness is just a characteristic, what matters is my attitude as I deal with it”. After a special counseling session with Jim Witte, the Orientation Director at that time, Jeana got the message. She became determined to become independent and learn to thrive in her home and community. She would not give up her year at the Department for anything. Without it, she feels she would not have been able to cope with the demands of marriage, motherhood, and the work world as a blind woman.

After her year at the orientation center, she went on to college, got married, worked at a number of jobs and had three children. Her time at the Orientation Center was at just the right time in her life. “If I hadn’t done it then, I would have had a very difficult time handling life after I married and had a family.”

While at the Orientation Center, Jeana was introduced to ICUB. She

also received a grant that allowed her to attend a national ACB

convention.

Jeana sees the real importance of ICUB as creating connections and

networks for blind Iowans especially in the rural areas because of the

smaller populations of blind individuals and the difficulty of transportation. She believes ICUB can shrink those distances and reduce the sense of isolation.

Jeana participates in the national organization’s efforts at legislation and advocacy because they are important. But the real work is done at the local level.

Jeana’s husband Dennis works at ISU. Her two sons are both ISU students and her daughter is a high school student.

When I spoke with her, her sons were in the room and offered to give

me Jeana’s “real” story. Jeana declined their offer. I guess that’s

another example of Jeana setting her own course and ensuring she is

not left out standing in her (bean) field.


Hearing is Believing at Audio Described Movie

By Becky Gunderson


On Saturday July 25, my husband Alan and I joined about 15 other ICUB members and friends for an afternoon movie at Flix Brewhouse located at Merle Hay Mall in Des Moines. For those of you who aren’t familiar with Flix, it is a restaurant and movie theater all in one. Seating is like the normal movie seating we are familiar with, cushy and comfortable. There is a table that slides close to each person’s seat. There is a cup holder in the arm of the seat for your drink, whether it is soda or alcohol. They have a menu with various things. Before the movie starts, you can place your order. If you need a refill or want to order during the movie, there is a pad of paper to write on, a call button to push, and your server will come by and get the paper and bring your order. Towards the end of the movie, your server will bring your bill and take care of payment. It’s a great way to have dinner and a show all at once and you don’t have to go get your food and drink.

The movie we saw was “Ant-Man.” The theater has descriptive video for visually impaired people. Each person is given a headset through which descriptions can be heard as the movie is playing. I had not seen a descriptive video, so I found this to be very interesting and enjoyable. It made watching the movie better because I knew what was going on and the facial expressions of people.

If you haven’t seen a descriptive video movie, I encourage you to try one. It will amaze you and I’m sure you’ll find yourself saying, “I wish I’d seen one of these sooner.” This was the first movie Alan and I had been to in our 16-year relationship and I know that it will not be the last. Many theaters are coming out with the descriptive feature. Call ahead and ask them if they have it. If they don’t, encourage them to look into it.


Smartphone technology enables blind to 'see'

PTI | Jun 27, 2015


Specialists in computer vision and machine learning based at the University of Lincoln are aiming to embed a smart vision system in mobile devices to help blind people navigate unfamiliar indoor environments.

LONDON: Scientists are developing new adaptive mobile technology that could enable visually impaired people to 'see' through their smartphone or tablet.

Specialists in computer vision and machine learning based at the University of Lincoln, UK, funded by a Google Faculty Research Award, are aiming to embed a smart vision system in mobile devices to help people with sight problems navigate unfamiliar indoor environments.

Based on preliminary work on assistive technologies done by the Lincoln Centre for Autonomous Systems, the team plans to use colour and depth sensor technology inside new smartphones and tablets to enable 3D mapping and localization, navigation and object recognition.

The team will then develop the best interface to relay that to users - whether that is vibrations, sounds or the spoken word.

"This project will build on our previous research to create an interface that can be used to help people with visual impairments,"

said Project lead Dr. Nicola Bellotto, an expert on machine perception and human-centred robotics from Lincoln's School of Computer Science.

"There are many visual aids already available, from guide dogs to cameras and wearable sensors. Typical problems with the latter are usability and acceptability.”

"If people were able to use technology embedded in devices such as smartphones, it would not require them to wear extra equipment which could make them feel self-conscious.”

"There are also existing smartphone apps that are able to, for example, recognize an object or speak text to describe places. But the sensors embedded in the device are still not fully exploited.”

"We aim to create a system with 'human-in-the-loop' that provides good localization relevant to visually impaired users and, most importantly, that understands how people observe and recognize particular features of their environment," said Bellotto.

The research team, which includes Dr. Oscar Martinez Mozos, a specialist in machine learning and quality of life technologies, and Dr. Grzegorz Cielniak, who works in mobile robotics and machine perception, aim to develop a system that will recognize visual clues in the environment.

This data would be detected through the device camera and used to identify the type of room as the user moves around the space.

A key aspect of the system will be its capacity to adapt to individual users' experiences, modifying the guidance it provides as the machine 'learns' from its landscape and from the human interaction.

So, as the user becomes more accustomed to the technology, the quicker and easier it would be to identify the environment.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/tech/computing/Smartphone-technology-enables-blind-to-see/articleshow/47839765.cms


WITH MY EYES WIDE SHUT

By Fred Mansfield


In my fifties my eyes started blurring up on me and new glasses didn’t help and one day I stopped in at the state agency for the blind. No, not for their services, maybe they could sell me a more powerful magnifying glass, that was all. They took a look at me, a long look.

Three months later I was enrolled in their program, living on the

Premises with a dozen others who like me could no longer pretend.

One aim of the program was to revive our sagging confidence by doing as much as we could with our eyes turned off. I spent two hours of each day, blindfolded, in the kitchen. One morning early in the course the teacher said to me,


“Fred, today you’re going to make a white sauce.”


I greeted this announcement with the silence of ignorance.


“Get a small sauce pan.”


Of course. If we’re going to make a sauce we need the right hardware. I got a pan, even set it over a burner on the stove.


“Get two tablespoons of butter. “


Not too difficult. I got the tub of butter from the refrigerator. The measuring spoons were on a ring of four and I had already caught on that the tablespoon was the largest of these. I dug out the butter leveled off the spoon and tossed the contents into the sauce pan.


“Now get two tablespoons of flour.”


I wished she had told me that to begin with. My spoon was too greasy to be dipping into the flour bin. I wiped it dry on my apron.


“Do I put the flour in with the butter?”


“No. First start melting the butter. Medium heat. You’ll know it’s

melted when you hear it sizzle. Then throw in the flour. Measure

out a quarter teaspoon of salt and add that. And a dash of pepper.

And get a cup of milk ready.”


I was beginning to feel like a donkey in a three-ring circus. My teacher–I’ll call her Betty Crocker--couldn’t see any better than I could but she knew kitchen sounds.


“OK, now add the milk and start stirring.”


“Stir how long?”


“Until it’s thick and bubbly.”


I stirred and stirred and stirred and stirred and stirred. Surely half a minute was enough to effect whatever transformation was to take place.


“Is that enough?”


Ms. Crocker didn’t even bother to stop and listen.


“Keep stirring.”


I stirred and stirred and stirred some more. I could tell this wasn’t going to work. Already I could feel the muscles in my arm protesting.

No changes were taking place. All that butter, flour, salt, pepper and milk gone to waste. And that muscle power.


Suddenly it was like I was pulling my spoon through mud. I lifted

the spoon and some of the mixture came with it.


“Listen to it,” said my teacher.


I did. You’re not going to believe this but I could actually hear a bubbling sound. Ms. Crocker (I hadn’t known her long enough to call her by her first name) politely shared my excitement. White sauce does not stand by itself; you make white sauce to add to something. I suppose another student had made a casserole that needed what I had made, I don’t remember. I do remember that, with my eyes wide shut, I had done what my senses told me could not be done, and it worked.


Oh, there would be other challenges. A shop project would have me working with six power tools. At the end of my course I would follow my white cane for five miles through the down town streets of a big city. (All these things while I was blindfolded, remember.) After my success that day with the butter, milk, flour, salt, and pepper I could face those stumbling blocks with a little less trembling.


“And Fred,” said Betty Crocker.


“Yes?”


“Don’t forget to wash your dishes.”


News You Can Use


The American Council of the Blind recently announced new telephone numbers for its publications and ACB Radio. To listen to the ACB Braille Forum, E Forum and ACB Reports, dial 605-475-8154. ACB Radio can be heard by calling 605-475-8130.


The Disability Answer Desk is where people with disabilities can get help with Microsoft products and accessibility features. Call 1 (800) 936-5900. This is a free service and assistance is available weekdays 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. CST and weekends from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. CST.


The Centers for Medicare Services now has a number for blind and visually impaired individuals to call to request accessible Medicare communications. This also includes your quarterly Medicare Summary. The number is 1-844-ALT-FORM (1-844-258-3676)


ICUB Officers and Directors


Cynthia Qloud, President

1918 E. 12th St.

Des Moines, IA 50316

(515) 266-5110

Email: qloud2@mchsi.com

Robert Spangler, Immediate Past President -

Vinton

(319) 550-1748


Mike Hoenig, First Vice-President

Davenport

(563) 344-8787

Creig Slayton, Second Vice President

Des Moines

(515) 279-4284

Catherine Witte, Secretary

200 Parkview Dr.

Waukee, IA 50263

(515) 987-4491-home

Email: cathandjimw@gmail.com


Jeana Mowery, Treasurer

1007 E. St. Clair,

Missouri Valley, IA 51555

(712) 600-6028 home

(712) 310-7140 cell

Email: eyeforonly1@gmail.com


Joyce Davis, Director - Fort Dodge (515) 955-1634

Donna Seliger, Director – West Des Moines, (515) 284-0505

Arlo Monthei, Director –Des Moines, (515) 277-0442

Rose Stratton, Director - Maquoketa, (563) 652-2546

Sandy Tigges, Director – Des Moines, (515) 277-1256

Shirley Wiggins, Director - Cedar Rapids, (319) 362-7138

Lisa Davis, Director – Urbandale, (515) 278-2722

Carol Flickinger, Director – Rockwell City, (712) 887-1109


Copyright 2015 Iowa Council of the United Blind, Inc.


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