Guest Post: 9 Mistakes You’re Making With Your iPhone –

Have a love/hate relationship with your iPhone? Fix it by stopping these bad habits!
— Read on


Guest Post: Ford Develops Smart Window Prototype For Blind Passengers — Feel The View!

Ford Develops Smart Window Prototype For Blind Passengers — Feel The View!




By Rahul Nagaraj


May 7, 2018, 12:49 [IST]




Ford has developed a prototype smart window, allowing blind passengers to feel the passing landscape outside.




The ‘Feel The View’ technology was created by an Italian startup, Aedo in collaboration with Ford. The prototype uses vibrations to give a blind or partially-sighted passenger a sense of the scenery outside.




The technology takes pictures of the passing scenery from the outer side of the window. The images captured are then converted into high-contrast black and white pictures.




These monochrome images are then reproduced on the glass using special LEDs. On touching the images, the various shades of grey vibrate at different intensities up to the range of 255. These vibrations allow the blind passengers to touch the scene and rebuild the landscape in their mind.




As the finger moves over the different parts of the image, different intensities of vibrations provide haptic feedback to the person using the technology.




The smart window technology also has an AI voice assistant, which uses the car’s audio system to give the passengers a context of what they are feeling.




A Ford spokesperson stated, “We seek to make people’s lives better and this was a fantastic opportunity to help blind passengers experience a great aspect of driving. The technology is advanced, but the concept is simple – and could turn mundane journeys into truly memorable ones.”




This technology of the Smart Windows is part of Ford’s Advanced Research. The company has no plans of introducing it in the market anytime soon. This might be part of Ford’s autonomous vehicle program to research how a vehicle will interact with its passengers when travelling.


Guest Post: Now listen to Eyes On Success Podcasts on smart home devices

We recently added a new way for listeners to keep up to date with the latest episodes of Eyes On Success.


Now you can listen to Eyes On Success on your Alexa or google smart home devices.  Simply ask Alexa or Google to “play Eyes On Success podcast” and you won’t miss a thing!


We hope listeners enjoy this new capability and pass the word along to their friends.




The Hosts: Peter Torpey and Nancy Goodman Torpey

Check out Eyes On Success (formerly ViewPoints)

A weekly, half hour audio program for people living with vision loss.

Find out more about the show and get links to past episodes at:

Find the podcast on iTunes or use the URL:

Find us on social media at:



Guest Post: Great news! The world’s best print-reading app for the blind and print-disabled is now even better, KNFB Reader Version 3.0, from the National Federation of the Blind and Sensotec NV

, is now available in the Apple App Store.


KNFB Reader 3.0 represents the continued evolution of over forty years of text recognition technology. It now has more features for a wider variety of users than ever.


Since its first release in 2014, KNFB Reader has been allowing users all over the world to get access to print anytime and anywhere. The latest version of this award-winning app sports a new look and feel to help you work better and faster. Navigation within the app is easier, with tabs at the bottom of the home screen to access key functions quickly and easily. The enhanced cloud support for Dropbox, GoogleDrive and OneDrive allows easy access to all your documents when and where you need them.


KNFB Reader 3.0 now reads ebooks and documents in the increasingly popular ePub format, as well as PDFs (image or text, tagged or untagged). This makes it ideal for students and professionals who must read content in multiple formats from multiple sources. The app is also customizable, so that people with different reading needs can tailor its settings to meet those needs. Now able to recognize and read documents in over thirty languages, KNFB Reader 3.0 is a comprehensive reading solution for people who are blind or who have low vision, dyslexia, or other reading differences.


KNFB Reader 3.0 is a free update for existing customers. For new customers, the app is now available for USD $99.


To learn more about KNFB Reader 3.0, visit

If you already have the app and love it, help us spread the word to others. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter to join the conversation about KNFB Reader 3.0. We love to hear from our users. Share your favorite KNFB Reader story with us!


Christopher S. Danielsen, J.D.

Director of Public Relations

200 East Wells Street, Baltimore, MD 21230

(410) 659-9314, extension 2330 |

Twitter: @rlawyer


Guest Post: CNIB Tech Announcement Event, Toronto, May 17, 2018

On Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 11:25 AM Karin McArthur <> said:

Hello friend,


You’re invited to attend an exclusive technology event in Toronto.


Join CNIB and accessible technology innovators at a special announcement to mark Global Accessibility Awareness Day.


Guests will have an opportunity to explore, experience and play with three revolutionary pieces of accessible technology from Aira, Key2Access and BlindSquare. Learn more about how these innovative technologies are improving accessibility for blind citizens.


  • Aira – Launching in Canada, Aira is a tool for people who are blind or partially sighted. Using video-equipped smart glasses and an iOS or Android app, Aira provides one-button access to a network of sighted professional agents who can remotely assist people with almost anything they want to do. For those who do not use smartphones, Aira’s new Horizon smart glasses are an all-in-one kit that directly connects an Aira user to a professionally trained agent.


  • BlindSquare – BlindSquare, used in 160 countries, allows people who are blind or partially sighted to freely navigate their communities using their iPhone. With over 100 million global points of interest, BlindSquare describes internal and external environments, public transit and UBER services, and announces points of interest, intersections and user-defined points using synthetic speech.


  • Key2Access – Key2Access is a Canadian tech start-up that makes crossing intersections safer and easier for people with sight loss and other disabilities. Using an iOS or Android app that connects to a “smart” accessible pedestrian signal, users can remotely activate the crossing signal and receive real-time audible information to help them cross safely.


Date:  Thursday, May 17, 2018

Time: 10:30 a.m. – noon

Location: CNIB’s GTA Community Hub (1525 Yonge Street)

*Guests will also have a chance to win some gear from our technology partners!



MAY 2018

In this issue:
Happy Mother’s Day!
Described Performances and Events:
June 2: Described Tour at the Vancouver Art Gallery
June 3 and 8: Mamma Mia! at the Arts Club Stanley
Coming Up:
July 3: Once at the Arts Club Granville Island
July 22 and Aug 18: As You Like It at Bard on the Beach
Theatre Buddies | Ticket Access | Support | Reminders
We wouldn’t be here without them!

Last month we set a new record for the most Theatre Buddy requests for Misery at the Arts Club Granville Island, plus an out-of-town guest from Toronto. Big thanks to our Theatre Buddies Tal, Avital, Sandy and Rick Lin for taking such good care of them!

I just got back from leading an introductory workshop in dance description with CRIPSiE (Collaborative Radically Integrated Performance Society in Edmonton). It was wonderful to work with such a talented group of creators who are making accessibility and inclusion a part of everything they do. The workshop was held at the Universiade Pavilion at the University of Alberta, a sports stadium covered in bright yellow tiles that has been aptly and affectionately nicknamed “the Butterdome” by the locals.

Back in Vancouver this month, we’re partnering with the Revolver Festival at the Cultch to make the festival more accessible. Join community consultants, Deb Fong and Cathy Browne, as they check out some Low Vision Friendly programming (recommended as accessible without description) at the Cultch. Tickets are $15 with a free companion rate and priority seating when you mention VocalEye, 604-251-1363 (the Reading Series is free!).

June begins with two fabulous events: a described tour of Emily Carr in Dialogue with Mattie Gunterman at the Vancouver Art Gallery on June 2; and two described performances of Mamma Mia at the Arts Club Stanley on June 3 and 8.

Then I fly off to Ottawa to lead a describer/access training at the new Ottawa Art Gallery. The next edition of this newsletter will be out around mid-June with details on accessible and affordable Low Vision Friendly programming at this year’s Indian Summer Festival, updates on our continuing explorations with All Bodies Dance and more described performances.

I will leave you with a photo of the Butterdome and a couple of photos from the Touch Tour of Salt Baby at the Belfry. Big thanks to our volunteers Barbara and Frances, describer/photographer Rick Waines, artistic associate Erin Macklem, Linda Bartram and the Victoria Society for Blind Arts and Culture and all our patrons for another great year of described performances in Victoria. We look forward to spending next season with you!



The Butterdome, Edmonton (above). Patrons at the Touch Tour following Salt Baby at the Belfry (below).


VocalEye is delighted to celebrate BC Access Awareness Day at the Vancouver Art Gallery, 750 Hornby Street, Vancouver on Saturday, June 2 from 3 pm to 5 pm.

Join us for a special Described Tour of Emily Carr in Dialogue with Mattie Gunterman, facilitated by Steph Kirkland, Founder and Executive Director of VocalEye, and Art Educators Marie-France Berard and Lynn Chen. This enhanced Gallery tour is designed for people who are blind and partially sighted; however, all are welcome to attend.

Refreshments and a feedback session will follow the tour. As this is the first Described Tour led by the Gallery, we seek your participation and responses to help us create meaningful and inclusive services for non-visual learners and all visitors with vision loss.

Admission is free. Please register in advance by calling 604-662-4700 or RSVP online.

Sighted guides are available to escort visitors with vision loss to and from the Vancouver Art Gallery for this event. If you require a sighted guide, please arrange when you register by phone (604-662-4700) or email The meet-up location will be at the ticket level of the Burrard Skytrain Station at 2:45 pm. Sighted guides will return visitors to this location at the end of the event at 5 pm or earlier, as needed.

Mamma Mia! One of the most popular musicals of all time, described by Anika Vervecken on Sunday, June 3 at 2 pm and again on Friday, June 8 at 8 pm at the Arts Club Stanley, 2750 Granville Street, Vancouver. Tickets start at $29 for VocalEye users, while they last. Please call the Box Office to purchase at 604-687-1644. VocalEye’s new Ticket Access Program provides rebates for those in financial need. Theatre Buddies are also available to guide members to and from the theatre from a convenient meet-up location. Please contact Donna for more details on both programs: (deadline to book a buddy or a rebate is one week before the described performance).

A daughter’s quest to find her biological father before her wedding brings together three men from her mother’s past. Who will walk her down the aisle? Will she find out before saying “I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do, I Do”? This summer musical will transport you to a Greek island paradise filled with ABBA-tastic hits like “Dancing Queen,” “The Winner Takes It All,” and “S.O.S.”

Check out ABBA’s 1974 Mamma Mia music video, with original hairdos and white jumpsuits!

Song List
Plot Summary

Once, a captivating do-it-yourself musical, described by Ingrid Turk on Tuesday July 3 at 7:30 pm at the Arts Club Granville Island, 1585 Johnston Street, Vancouver. Tickets start at $29 for VocalEye users, while they last. Please call the Box Office to purchase at 604-687-1644. This performance will be followed by a Talk Back with the cast.
As You Like It, Shakespeare meets the Beatles in this 60’s staging, described on Sun July 22 at 2 pm and Sat August 18 at 7:30 pm at Bard on the Beach, MainStage, 1695 Whyte Avenue, Vanier Park, Vancouver. Bard offers a special ticket rate for VocalEye users. Please call 604-739-0559 to purchase tickets and reserve headsets. Seating on the left side of the audience is recommended for best reception. The matinée performance on Sunday July 22 will be followed by a Touch Tour.


Theatre Buddies are available to guide VocalEye Members, 18 years of age and up, from a designated meet up location to and from selected theatres. To reserve a Buddy in Vancouver, please contact
In Victoria, contact Linda Bartram at 250-595-5888. Buddies must be arranged 3 days in advance.

VocalEye strives to lower barriers for members in financial need by providing rebates to reduce the price of admission to described shows. Members in Vancouver and the lower mainland can apply for assistance by contacting
In Victoria, please contact
VocalEye is now a registered charity (#80166 6702 RR0001) and able to issue tax deductible receipts for monthly donations or individual donations of any size. Please include all your contact information for receipt purposes. VocalEye season supporters are gratefully acknowledged on our website


A complete listing of VocalEye described performances and events can be found on our website.
Tickets must be purchased by calling the theatre’s Box Office unless instructed otherwise.
Be sure to mention VocalEye when booking your tickets to receive any discounts offered and to reserve your headset. Please indicate whether you have partial vision, a guide dog or other seating preferences. Seating options may be limited.
Arrive early to pick up your equipment so you can be seated in time for a sound check. A live pre-show introduction to the set, characters and costumes will begin 10 minutes before curtain.
Our handheld receivers come with a single earpiece that can be worn on the left or right ear, or you can use your own earbuds or headphones. The audio signal is mono, so it will come through on one side only.
VocalEye Memberships are FREE for people with vision loss.
VocalEye Members are eligible for Theatre Buddy assistance, ticket discounts and equipment pickup without a deposit.
VocalEye newsletters are available in your choice of formats: Plain Text or HTML with images. Both include a link at the top to a simple Word Doc format.
Help us spread the word about described performances and arts access for people with vision loss by sharing this newsletter with those in your network.
VocalEye respects your right to privacy. We will not rent, sell or trade our list. Our mailings are intended to inform you of our events, programs, services and fundraising activities. You may unsubscribe at any time.
Thank you for reading through. See you at the theatre!

Images: Boaz Joseph/Surrey Leader, Steph Kirkland, Rick Waines, Shutterstock and the interwebs

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VocalEye Descriptive Arts Society
303-355 E. 15th Ave.Vancouver, BC V5T 2R2

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Dear Members:

The Government of Canada has developed a new mobile app as part of their Job Bank. Below is an invitation for you to participate. If you are interested, please try the app and suggest any improvements. Further details on downloading the app and where to submit your comments are outlined below.

(French message follows)

Dear Friends and Colleagues,

We are writing to solicit your feedback on a new app the Government of Canada has developed as part of its Job Bank.

The mobile app helps users find employment by providing full access to the job opportunities found on the Job Bank website, and by including mobile features such as GPS location-based searching and push notifications for when new matching jobs become available. It also provides customized job searching with filters such as “persons with disabilities”, “youth” and “Indigenous people”.

The Government of Canada has done testing to help ensure accessibility standards are met and focused on the performance of mobile screen readers (testing: VoiceOver, TalkBack, Zoom, Colour Ratio, etc) and other assistive technology tools.

The Job Bank team is new to the mobile app space and so they invite you to try the app and suggest improvements. You can send your feedback through the in-app Contact Us feature or via this link. Your general feedback on Job Bank’s services to the disability community will also be welcomed on

The app is available on Google Play and the App Store.

Please also share this with your networks and encourage them to use it and to provide feedback.

For more information about how Job Bank services can help people with disabilities find employment and help employers hire persons with disabilities, you can visit:

And, as always, we encourage you to follow @AccessibleGC on Twitter, Accessible Canada on Facebook and follow the hashtag #AccessibleCanada and #AccessAbility for the latest information.


Krista Wilcox
Director General
Office of Disability Issues
Tel: 819-654-5577
Cell: 613-266-5676

Chers amis et collègues,

La présente vise à solliciter vos commentaires sur une nouvelle appli que le gouvernement du Canada a élaborée pour son Guichet-Emplois.

L’appli mobile aide les utilisateurs à trouver un emploi en offrant un accès complet aux possibilités d’emploi qui se trouvent sur le site Web du Guichet‑Emplois et comprend des fonctions mobiles comme la recherche géolocalisée par GPS et des notifications instantanées lorsque de nouveaux emplois correspondants deviennent disponibles. L’appli permet également de faire des recherches d’emploi personnalisées avec des filtres comme « personnes handicapées », « jeunes » et « Autochtones ».

Le gouvernement du Canada a effectué des essais pour s’assurer que les normes d’accessibilité sont respectées et axées sur les performances des lecteurs d’écran mobiles (essais : VoiceOver, TalkBack, Zoom, Colour Ratio, etc.) et d’autres outils de technologie d’assistance.

L’équipe du Guichet-Emplois en est à ses débuts dans l’espace des applications mobiles et vous invite donc à essayer l’application et à suggérer des améliorations. Vous pouvez nous envoyer vos commentaires au moyen de la fonction Contactez-nous de l’appli ou de ce lien. Vous pouvez aussi nous faire part de commentaires généraux sur les services offerts par le Guichet-Emplois à la collectivité des personnes handicapées à l’adresse

L’appli est disponible via Google Play et l’App Store.

Veuillez également partager le présent message sur vos réseaux et encourager vos contacts à l’utiliser et à fournir de la rétroaction.

Pour obtenir de plus amples renseignements sur la façon dont les services du Guichet-Emplois peuvent aider les personnes handicapées à trouver un emploi et aider les employeurs à embaucher des personnes handicapées, visitez

Comme toujours, nous vous encourageons à suivre @AccessibleGC sur Twitter, Canada Accessible sur Facebook et les mots-clic #AccessibleCanada et #AccessAbility pour obtenir les renseignements les plus récents.


Krista Wilcox
Directrice Générale
Bureau de la condition des personnes handicapées
Tel: 819-654-5577
Cell: 613-266-5676

***End of e-mail***


Dar Wournell
National Secretary
Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians
Toll-Free: 1-800-561-4774

Join us on Facebook:
Follow us on Twitter:

You are receiving this message because our records indicate that you are an Active or Lifetime member of the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians. For more information, please call 1-800-561-4774 or e-mail

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Guest post: throwback Thursday, American foundation for the blind,

Throw Back Thursday: The Portable Plus

Our object this week is the last Talking Book phonograph from APH, the Portable Plus. The machine was designed and entirely assembled at the American Printing House for the Blind under an agreement with the Variable Speed Corporation. It was introduced in 1990, but APH had already stopped making rigid vinyl records for the National Library Service, and flexible records used for magazines would be phased out a few years later.

It is a lesson about how long it takes to bring a product from the drawing board to production. Sometimes it is obsolete even before you start making it. The Portable Plus only lasted a few years before it was discontinued. But while available it was a marvel. The tone arm was spring loaded and would play a record even when the machine was tipped on its side! And it had an internal rechargeable battery, so you could take it anywhere.

Micheal Hudson

APH Museum Director

Photo Caption: The Portable Plus was about 13 inches square, with a gray plastic case and a speaker in the lid.

Accessibility Article: Why do gyms make things so difficult for blind people? The Guardian, Feb 26, 2018


Why do gyms make things so difficult for blind people?


When smartphones, TVs and even washing machines are set up for visually impaired people to use, why isn’t exercise equipment?


Amar Latif


The Guardian, Feb 26, 2018 07.00 GMT  Last modified on Mon 26 Feb 2018 12.18 GMT


If, like me, you want to keep fit and healthy, your first port of call is usually your local gym or health club. However, if, like me, you are also blind, keeping active can be a minefield of inaccessible technology, awkward conversations and frustrating barriers. And mine is hardly a rare issue:

more than two million people in Britain are living with sight loss, and the RNIB predicts this will double by 2050.


When I was four years old, doctors broke the news to my parents that by my mid-to-late teens, I would become incurably blind. I remember waking up one morning, aged 18, and not being able to see the poster at the end of my bed.

I was walking around crashing into things. By this time, my mother had already banned me from riding my bike – though that didn’t stop me – until I rode headfirst into a skip, somersaulted and landed in the rubbish. As I was flying through the air, I realised it was probably best to call time on my cycling career.


Throughout my life, I have had to learn to overcome barriers. People told me I couldn’t become an accountant because I was blind, but I ended up overseeing a team of sighted employees as a management accountant for BT.

People told me I couldn’t travel as a solo blind traveller, so I set up Traveleyes, a travel company that pairs up blind and sighted travellers to explore the world together. I lead a lot of these trips as a blind tour manager, often the more active and adventurous ones, so I need to keep fit.

If on a trip, I am going to be taking a group cycling for 50km or spending eight hours walking through the Bulgarian mountains, I need to be in good shape.


Exercise is therefore very important to me, as it is with so many of us. But it’s harder for blind and visually impaired (VI) people to walk and exercise freely; jogging in the park or cycling outdoors is impossible on your own.

That’s where gyms should come in. Sadly, however, they are often woefully inaccessible and can be daunting for those with sight loss. Let’s start with

equipment: exercise tech nowadays is incredibly advanced. All-singing, all-dancing machines can be found in most gyms and they track everything from heart rate to calories burned. Clearly, millions of pounds and thousands of hours have gone into their development and production. And yet it would appear that not a second thought has been given to users with sight loss. Touch screens, inaccessible buttons and lights are all commonplace.

Great for you light-dependent folk, but for us VIs, it’s a struggle.


‘It wouldn’t be hard to put some braille on the buttons.’


And there really is no excuse – all manner of tech these days, from iPhones to TVs, calculators to washing machines have accessibility built in, so why not exercise machines? It wouldn’t be hard to put some braille on the buttons or have a headphone slot or Bluetooth compatibility for audio, like on most cash machines. Indeed, the simplest solutions are often the best.


But the tech is just the start. Getting from one machine to another, selecting weights and getting proper instruction are all barriers for the blind gym-goer. Not to mention yoga, pilates and spin classes. My sister is taking legal action against her gym for not allowing her to take a class because of her blindness.


Lots of gyms offer a free pass to someone, usually a friend or relative, who can assist you during your workout. This is all well and good, but I can’t always find someone willing to come with me. It’s not fair on me, or my potential guide, to have to compromise on times and dates.


For me, exercising is a very personal thing. I like to listen to music and let my mind wander on a treadmill, or when lifting weights. According to the Royal College of Physicians, if you keep active, you are less likely to be depressed or anxious and more likely to feel good about yourself. And this can be even more pivotal for those with sight loss. A study in 2016 found that more than four in 10 people attending low-vision clinics had symptoms of clinical depression. But inaccessible hurdles leave lots of VI people unable to use the gym to its maximum potential. It’s no surprise that an RNIB survey in 2015 found that 31% of blind and partially sighted people felt moderately or completely cut off from people and things around them, and 50% felt they were frequently limited in the activities they could take part in. Yet nearly two-thirds said they would like to do more physical activity.


At Traveleyes, we are constantly busting myths about what blind people can do. From skiing in the Alps to climbing mountains, sailing and skydiving, we challenge these preconceptions. One initiative we use to help us achieve this is our international schools programme. We take students, aged from 14 to 17, from large schools across the world, and partner them up with our blind travellers to be their sighted guides. This gives them a first-hand experience of blindness, will help to challenge any stereotypical views they may have and hopefully take this experience into later life.


I’m stubborn, though. My philosophy is that if things aren’t accessible, don’t wait until they are. So I roll up my sleeves and work until I’m in a place where I can help change the system. When it comes to fitness, I often work out with a friend who is at a similar level to me, and I also work out at home – expensive equipment is all very well, but you can just add some weights or cardio to your routine.


Working out and keeping healthy works best when it’s also fun, so if you are struggling to keep to an exercise schedule, try something a little bit different, such as paddle boarding or boxing, or take part in a group activity or challenge, to give you that bit of motivation you need. We all live busy lives, but I learned that it is easier than you think to fit exercises into your daily routine. And if there are any gyms or health clubs out there that want pointers on how to be more accessible, or any VI people who want to talk about exercise, working out or keeping active, I am always happy to talk.