Reid My Mind Radio: Structured Negotiation – Not Just For Lawyers

September 21st, 2016  / Author: T.Reid

This episode of Reid My Mind Radio is brought to you by  The RAE of Hope; Shining a light  on a rare childhood eye cancer.
Watch the stories of people impacted by Retinoblastoma, a rare childhood eye cancer. Then share in order to help us spread awareness!

A picture of Attorney Lainey Feingold standing at a microphone

 

Getting back from the break and looking forward to producing  some new stories. I have some ideas but like most things I need to figure out some creative ways to gain access. I’m talking both physically and even virtually…

Today’s Gatewave Radio piece features Lainey Feingold who herself has done much to improve accessibility in the real and virtual world. Her book Structured Negotiation: A Winning Alternative to Lawsuits is now available and as you will hear in today’s piece, it offers so much to those outside of the legal community.

Resources:

 

Transcript

TR:
1, 2, 1, 2 is this thing on
1, 2, 1, 2 is this thing on!
[laughs]

Back again, after a brief hiatus during the summer. Unfortunately, not a summer vacation rather a working, very working summer.
Before we get into this latest piece for Gatewave Radio I wanted to share just a quick note and bring your attention to something that we do every year here on the Reid Compound – that’s my family and I, the whole Reid family. We used to call it pennyPushUps but now it’s actually now called The RAE of Hope and you can go check that out a at Facebook.com/TheRAEOfHope. And the RAE is  R A E  of hope The RaE of Hope.It’s an awareness and fundraiser campaignsupporting children with eye cancer as well as the organization World Eye cancer Hope.

It’s stories about people who have been impacted by this eye cancer.
These stories are in video format however they are fully accessible, the stories are told fully in audio. And this year I am happy to say we  are also including closed captions on the videos that are on YouTube. It’s just a little easier of a process to get the captioning on YouTube than it was for Facebook.

So again, Facebook.com/TheRAEOfHope . You can check out our playlist on YouTube using the short link bit.ly/TheRAEofHope2016. All the links are included with this post.

I’ll be back after this latest piece for Gatewave Radio , Structured Negotiation, it’s Not Just for Lawyers.

TR: In any advocacy movement, you have a number of people who to most remain nameless. they’re not the face of the movement, they don’t have the loudest voice, but they make things happen.

Meet Attorney Lainey Feingold (LF). When it comes to some very noteworthy advocacy success stories, she’s  been involved. In fact, she developed the blue print to a method for reaching agreements called structured negotiation.

LF: Structured negotiations is a way to resolve legal claims without filing a lawsuit.
It grew out of the blind communities desire for accessible technology. Specifically it grew out of the quest for the talking ATM’s back in the 1990’s.

TR: The banks all agreed and not only was that the beginning  of structured negotiations, it was also the beginning of talking ATM’s.

TR: [Asking in conversation during recorded interview,  not narration]
So  how exactly does it work?

LF:  It first starts with the group of people who would be called plaintiffs in a law suit. In structured negotiations their called claimants.
In my work with the  blind community that means individual blind people or blind organizations that have a legal claim but would like an alternative method for resolving it.

TR: To make the process even more clear, Lainey walked me through  a real life example of the process using  a case that is as American as apple pie

[Sounds of baseball stadium including applause, organ music and bat hitting ball followed by cheers!]

TR: Unable to access key features on the MLB website, blind baseball fans
contacted Lainey and her longtime colleague Linda Dardarian.

LF: <> We wrote a letter to Major League Baseball. Bay State Council of the Blind was the core organization behind that effort. We introduced the organizations we introduced the individuals. We said to Major League Baseball you know there’s a lot of blind baseball fans out there they don’t have access to the online games, they can’t access the statistics because you haven’t coded your web site properly. This violates the ADA, but rather than file a lawsuit we’d like to work with you and get the problem fixed. Major League Baseball answered our letter and that was the start of a really great relationship that  continues to this day.

TR: Once all the parties agree to move forward with structured negotiations the next step is agreeing and signing a ground rules  document.

LF That just acknowledged that we’re  doing this process instead of a lawsuit, protected certain confidential information, made sure no one would be penalized.

Then we started a process of meetings. Most of them were on the phone.

TR: Teleconferences made it possible for all the parties located on both coasts to be involved .
The next step is identifying and agreeing on the experts which Lainey says can lead to lots of battles in a lawsuit.

LF: Major League Baseball worked with experts that we recommended. They worked with blind baseball fans around the country, they improved their website, they improved their mobile app, we did testing along the way and  at the end of the process we negotiated a settlement agreement just like an agreement that would have been negotiated had a lawsuit been filed.

TR: Similar to a lawsuit settlement, built into the agreements are methods for monitoring and enforcement.
But unlike a lawsuit, both of these parties are working together and actually  building a relationship with shared goals.

LF: we run into problems with enforcement but when we do we have the relationships to make sure those problems are fixed.

Until I got involved in the issue, I had never really thought about how do blind people access the print information on a standard prescription

Some people use rubber bands to distinguish .
One rubber band is this prescription two rubber bands is that prescription. Or they’ll keep the medication in different places and try to remember which is which.
without talking prescription labels it is a very dangerous situation for blind people.

Even in some of the companies that we worked with, because there are so many stores it’s possible that even with a company that offers talking labels, a blind person can walk in and the person behind the counter doesn’t have any idea what they’re talking about.
So, I do have a post on my website that details what all the companies are doing in the United states with phone numbers to contact if there’s a problem.
TR: Working on more than 70 cases over the past 20 years, Lainey is clearly passionate about the issues.

LF: I  really just wish I could broadcast this from the rooftops!

TR: I guess she could do that, but people would think she’s a bit off. rather, she wrote a book detailing what she learned after 20 years’ worth of cases.
It’s called structured negotiation: A Winning Alternative to Lawsuits.
published by the American Bar Association

LF:  I wrote so that advocates and potential clients and organizations could read it and understand that this is an alternative to filing a lawsuit that could be used for lots of different kinds of cases.

I’m not the only person who uses it. We have a wonderful disability rights bar association that’s national. Other lawyers  have started to use the process.
TR: Despite the success, Lainey says, lawsuits have their place.

LF: Lawsuits can be very important to moving society forward. I give some examples of cases; marriage equality or Olmstead. There’s a tremendous number of cases that needed to be filed..

TR: The book isn’t just for lawyers and advocates
Lainey writes about the back story to cases she has worked on over the past 20 years focusing on accessible technology.
It’s also a resource for those who want to get an understanding and develop the mind set to work in collaboration.

LF: You need to have an attitude of cooperation. Which is different from the attitude you need to  be fighting with somebody.

TR: [Asking in conversation during recorded interview,  not narration]
You’ve been working with the blind community for over 20 years now, what sort of things have you taken away from relationships that you’ve built?

LF: you know I wasn’t familiar with disability issues at all until I somewhat randomly took a 4 month position as the Disability Rights Education & Defense Fund (DREDF) in 1992.
I was planning to stay for 4 months instead I stayed for 4 years .
So it’s really just been an amazingly great way to be able to practice law  and have clients that are friends and to understand the disability community from inside of it.

TR: The next time you’re completing a transaction at a store  using an accessible point of sales terminal to process your  credit or debit card, or you’re making use of a talking prescription label or ATM, keep in mind that those things came about because of people like Lainey  developing relationships making a more accessible world for all.

To reach Lainey you can visit her on her web page which
by the way is a great example of a well-organized accessible site.
She’s at LFLegal.com
You can send her email directly at lf@lflegal.com.
She also posts about accessibility on Twitter at @lflegal.

her book, Structured negotiation: A Winning Alternative to Lawsuits is currently available via the American Bar Association’s website. For those with print impairments it is available on Bookshare.org.

Big thanks to you Lainey for helping to make the real and virtual world more accessible.

I’m Thomas Reid, for Gatewave Radio

[LF: “I  really just wish I could broadcast this from the rooftops!”}

Audio for Independent Living!

TR:

A few months ago, I began incorporating transcripts into  all of the audio  I produce for ReidMyMind Radio. I made sure that this year’s Retinoblastoma Awareness & Empowerment campaign for Childhood Cancer Awareness Month included closed caption.

Lainey actually had a big influence on that.

It was during our conversation that she mentioned  how she pays for the production of transcripts in order to make sure anything she is doing is accessible.

<RMM>

I had to think about that for a while…

As an advocate for access, I want others to realize why things should be accessible to people with vision loss, but I’m creating things that are inaccessible to a segment of the population.
Plain and simple, I had to check myself.
Yes, it’s a little extra work, but it actually improves my process… once again proving that accessibility has benefits that go beyond the community receiving access.
I’m in no way patting myself on the back – because I don’t deserve that.
I am thanking  Lainey for helping me become better at accessibility.

Peace!

PennyPushUps is now The RAE of Hope

September 10th, 2016  / Author: T.Reid

PennyPushUps since 2013 has been my family’s awareness and fundraising campaign to spread information about Retinoblastoma, the childhood eye cancer that is responsible for my loss of both my eyes.

As the parent of a RB survivor it seemed right to try and do something to spread awareness.

 

The original idea was pretty straight forward; I’ll complete 100 push-ups a day and you sponsor me like a walk-a-thon just 1 cent per push-up… do the math!

 

The campaign turned into us sharing our story as well as others impacted by the cancer. Probably not a shock considering I enjoy telling people’s stories. The shock was I thought I could easily do this on video. Fortunately, I wasn’t 100 percent wrong. (Non visual video editing is possible… I do it!) Even more fortunately, my wife thought she could do a better job at the video production. She was right and she began to earn her keep and her name… Super Producer Marley Marl now formally known as Super Producer Marlett!

 

It became apparent that people weren’t really interested in my push-ups. One of the comments on the videos went something like; “Really interesting and important but why is there a guy doing push-ups.” LOL! I guess they didn’t listen to the introduction which summarized everything I just said about the campaign.

 

Logo for The RAE of Hope - a beam of light shining on to the earth from space

Focusing on raising awareness & empowering others while raising funds for World Eye Cancer Hope the name sort of wrote itself when we let the universe take over… The RAE of Hope, “Shining a light on a childhood eye cancer”.

 

We just finished airing our first full week of videos. We post them to our Facebook page “The RAE of Hope” and via YouTube.

 

I would love for you to come on over and “Like” our FB page or follow us on twitter @TheRAEofHope. The stories this year feature a bit more in the way of video production but the full story is told via audio. In fact, this year we incorporated closed captions available via YouTube, so we’re fully accessible – the way it should be!

 

Below is our playlist of all our videos so if this works properly you could pretty much bookmark this post and watch the latest video as we move through the month. We post new videos every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

 

Tell a friend and help us spread the word about Childhood Cancer it can truly save a life and sight!

 

Reid My Mind Radio: Her Voice is Her Business

July 13th, 2016  / Author: T.Reid

 

Satauna Howery in the booth

With the unemployment rate among people who are blind or visually impaired said to be somewhere between 50 and 75 percent, owning your own business can be a great way to control your own financial freedom.

Today meet voice over artist Satauna Howery. She’s one of the winners of the Hadley Forsythe Center for Entrepreneurship and Employment’s New Ventures Competition.

For that and more make sure you Subscribe to RMM Radio
Can’t wait? Hit the Play button below!

 

Resources:

Check out the talking baby commercial as mentioned in the piece…

 

Transcript:

 

TR:
There are some real advantages to operating your own business.
Besides being your own boss;
– You are doing something you enjoy!
– You can make your own schedule
– You have the potential for significant financial reward

The Forsythe Center for Employment and Entrepreneurship, part of The Hadley Institute for the Blind and Visually Impaired, recently awarded a total of 25thousand dollars  to three winners of their first New Venture Competition.

I spoke with Colleen Wunderlich, the director of the  Forsythe Center who says the goal of the competition was to incentivize their students to move forward with their business plans.

CW:
We had about 20 applicants. Students had to submit a business plan with all the components; financial plan and the market research. We had a panel of three judges. One of our judges is blind and was in the rehab field for much of his life. He was an entrepreneur. Our other two judges  were entrepreneurs as well. I wanted our judges to be people who have lost and won in business because that’s really were the lessons are learned.

TR:
Three finalists were chosen and flown out to Chicago for one last in person interview with the judges.

Meet one of the winners of the New Venture Competition

SH:
My name is Satauna Howery and I’m a voice actor, so I talk all day for a living which is really fun! [Fading giggle!]

TR:
It’s fun, but her voice is her business.

SH:
I work for anybody who needs a voice. When you walk in the store  and you hear those people come over the intercom sometimes there people and sometimes it’s just a commercial telling you what the specials are for the week. Somebody said that! And somebody got paid to say that. Voice works spans the gambit of all sorts of things. Audio books, I do radio and TV ads… I do “crazy video game characters [Said in a high pitched cartoon voice]or animated cartoon kinds of things. Audio description, that’s gotta be voiced. I’ve done “Mosha and the Bear”, “F is for Family” and “Lego Friends” for Netflix. I do a lot of corporate work. So people will want to explain their products through video. There’s a lot of E-Learning out there, I’ve read more Conflict of interest resolution manuals.
TR:
And just how exactly does she accomplish all of this?

SH:
I get the script via email on a Braille display. I have this four by six Whisper room booth that I sit in and I’m in front of a microphone which is connected to my computer and I record directly into the computer and I edit and clean it up and I send it to the client.

With natural gifts and interests, Satauna was well equipped for a career as a voice over artist.

SH:
My parents brought a piano home when I was two and I started playing with my thumbs…[Giggle] then I went to nursery school and I came home and figured out that I could play with all my fingers. I didn’t start formal training  until I was about seven. And I only took about four  years of formal classical training before I came to my parents and decided I wanted to just quit and be my own person.

When I was a kid I had my own recording studio. My Dad built that. It was actually a separate building from our house. I engineered and arranged for other people and I certainly wrote music on my own.
It actually took me a while to come into the digital world, but I eventually got there . So doing voice over I had the skills to do all of the editing and that kind of thing. I understood how to make all of it work.

TR:
As a teen Satauna dabbled in voice over related projects ,

SH:
But for the most part I did music growing up and I thought about doing a voice over demo and I thought about it for many many years as an adult. And I kept saying yeah yeah I’m gonna do it someday.

TR:
And then?

SH:
A friend of mine showed up one day and she was all excited. She was going to go do a voice demo and she had just gone to a local studio that did voice coaching and I thought wow! I have all these skills, she’s starting out with absolutely none of them and she’s just gonna go do this?
I should just go do this!

TR:
Demo in hand, Satauna signed up with casting websites connecting voice over artists with companies and organizations seeking a voice.
Two or three days of submitting auditions with no offers,  she realized the process was a bit harder than she expected.
Learning that others already established in the field had more auditions under their belt than she did, she came to the understanding…

SH:
I gave up too soon!
So I went back to auditioning and within three days I had my first job.

[Demo of Satauna here]

TR:
And her business has been growing ever since!

One requirement for entry into the New ventures competition was completion of a course in Hadley’s forsythe Center.

SH:
I took marketing research, , the marketing plan and the financial plan. Thinking that those would give me insight as to what they were looking for when I wrote up my business plan. And they certainly did … I’ve been doing this for little over three years now and I just never sat down and actually tried to write anything up because I never gone to a bank or an investor and attempted to get money. So I’ve just been flying by the seat of my pants.

TR:
Actually, that time in the industry is extremely valuable. Colleen Wunderlich from Hadley explains.

CW:
You have to work in an industry to know what’s needed what works, what doesn’t … Three to five years of industry experience to launch a successful business… unless you’re a person who started so many businesses that you really understand how to start businesses and make them succeed.

But voice over is more than just speaking into a microphone…

SH:
Right now I do everything on my own. From all of the admin and marketing to the actual voice work and then the production of that voice work.

TR:
Production includes editing and manipulating audio.

This is the business plan…
Satauna recognizes the opportunity to expand and employ part time editors and others who can perform some of these production related tasks.

Can this include others who are blind or visually impaired?

SH:
Sure, absolutely. I know there are blind people out there who have the kinds of audio skills that I have.

TR:
there are some real advantages to a voice over business especially for someone who is blind or others with disabilities

SH:
I don’t have to think about transportation… Most of the time my clients don’t know I can’t see, they don’t need to know, there’s no reason. It’s so flexible and I get to be somebody different every day. I really get to set my own hours and work with people all over the world. It’s so much fun!

TR:
While you may not get recognized in public, there are times you can enjoy and even point others to  some of your work.

SH:
I worked with Delta Airlines… I’ve done some of their overhead promotional work.
I was on a plane from Minneapolis to Los Angeles… so we’re sitting on the runway and all of a sudden it’s me talking to everybody…[laughter] about Delta Wi-Fi and you know you should download the Delta app…

There was a T.V commercial for Empire Today were I was a talking baby. That was fun cause I could say to people this is where you’ll find me …
TR:
I think I still know that jingle…
[Together Satauna and Thomas recite the jingle!]
“800 588 2300 Empire…
TR:
Today…
SH:
That’s exactly right!
[Both laugh to a fade]

TR:
C’mon now, don’t act like I’m the only one who sings that commercial.

[In the background Thomas is singing the Empire jingle to himself]

TR:
Available in every state and internationally Hadley has a lot to offer.

CW:
We have a high school program so if someone is trying to finish a high school diploma …
We still do offer courses  in Braille and large print and audio, but the business courses primarily are online. We believe if you can’t be online then you can’t really be in business in today’s world.

TR:
If you are a budding entrepreneur or business owner with an idea and want to participate in a future New Venture Competition Hadley is planning another in the Winter of 2017.

To find out more on that or available classes, you can contact student services.

CW:
800 526-9909
You can also reach us online at Hadley .edu.

TR:
For more on Satauna or to find out where she is in the process of growing her support staff, stay tuned to her website or follow her via social media…

SH:
www.satauna.com [Spells name phonetically]
I’m also emailable at info@satauna.com.
I’m on Twitter @SataunaH. You could search for me on Facebook or Linked In too.

This is Thomas Reid
[]SH:
“I started playing with my thumbs”]
For Gatewave Radio, Audio for Independent Living!

RMM:
When producing stories for Gatewave, I try to edit down to what I think would be of interest to the most listeners.
However, , there was much more to the conversation. Put me in ear shot of another audio geek and I’m asking about gear…

Now, I know I’m not supposed to be jealous and I’m definitely not supposed to admit it, but man she had her own recording studio as a teen… that’s so dope!

I remember making my pause tapes and thinking I was really doing something special…
I simulated a four track recorder by using two cassette recorders and an answering machine to make my own answering machine greeting that included an original beat. It was just me tapping out something on my wooden desk, a sample from some song and original vocals…

Last year I took an interest in audio imaging and voice over and took a shot at creating my own movie trailer.
voice over/Imaging project last year… PCB
This was done for the Pennsylvania Council of the Blind conference which  was including an original play…

You can say it’s my hat tip to the movie trailer legend , Mr. In a world… Don LaFontaine.
[Audio Trailer audio including
TR: “In a world of glamor, glitz and fame  … everything that glitters isn’t always gold!”]
That’s just a quick sample…

My voice is not as deep and is probably better suited for something else…

I do have a few characters but sharing here may put me at risk of offending a lot of people.
Maybe another time!

BTW, Reid My Mind Radio is going on a summer hiatus. I’m actually in production on another project that I’ll be sharing soon. I’ll be sharing via the podcast so make sure you are subscribed which you can do via iTunes or whatever podcatcher you use. Also go ahead and follow me on twitter at tsreid where I may drop a few details along the way.

Thanks for listening and Peace!

Reid My Mind Radio: Manhattan Dreams from Moscow

June 29th, 2016  / Author: T.Reid

The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.
– Eleanor Roosevelt

Picture of Nafset Chenib on platform during the 2014 Paralympics in Sochi Russia

Nafset Chenib dreams of attending school in New York City. Listen to more about her dream, challenges and experience  growing up in russia…but you especially, have to hear her voice!

And make sure you stay tuned for the Reid My Mind Radio Theme Re-Mix!

Subscribe to RMM Radio
– Or hit the Play button below!

 

Resources:
*Nafset’s Go Fund Me]*Closing Ceremony 2014 Paralympics Sochi, Russia

 

Transcript

[Opening Music- Nafset  – A. Dvorak – Mesichku Na Nebi (Rusalka)]

TR:
You’re listening to Nafset Chenib, a 28 year old soprano born in Southern Russia.

NC: Now I live in Moscow. I have studied hear for five years  and then I decided to stay here cause I love this city and from my point of view it’s much easier to live in the big city when you are blind rather than a small town.

TR:
At 6 years old Nafset began attending a Russian boarding school for blind children.

NC:
Unfortunately we had no choice . We didn’t have any opportunity for a inclusive education. So I was forced to be there at the boarding school – it was quite far from my house.

TR:
While she says she received a good education, Nafset believes not all of the components that make up the educational plan are fulfilled. Meaning both academic and social including daily living skills.

NC:
There are a lot of teachers that don’t know Braille in those special schools. From my experience I wasn’t taught to use the cane.

TR:
There was even some lacking in the general attitude regarding the capabilities of blind children. Nafset recalls how the school’s director responded
when she and her class mates wanted to learn the English language like children outside of boarding schools.

NC:
He told us “Are you gonna travel or what are you supposed to do with your English?”
You know it was quite offensive.

TR:
Ironically Nafset would come to not only learn English, but several foreign languages.

NC:
I’m not Russian. I’m Sarcasian so I can speak this Sarcasian language it’s called Adyghe language. I speak Russian. I speak Italian. Now I try to study German, mainly because of music.

TR:
Go ahead and add her ability to sing in Hebrew, Czechoslovakian and Spanish.

While the boarding school may have not imagined  blind Russian students having a need for learning English, they did have a music school that would introduce Nafset to her passion.

NC:
I finished my musical school as a pianist. But I had supplementary discipline. It was vocal, opera singing. I started to participate in different festivals to sing in different choirs. I participated in the festival when there was the great opera singer  Montserrat Caballé.

TR:
Among other notable experiences, add the time she sang for Pope John Paul the second!

NC:
I was able to visit  Covent Garden Opera. They performed  Semele by Handel and I was so impressed  that I decided to go in for music more seriously.

TR:
Taking her dream seriously, Nafset  had to fill one of the components that wasn’t addressed in the school for the blind. She decided to find an orientation and mobility trainer to learn how to use the white cane in order to better travel independently.

Now able to make her own life decisions,  Nafset chose to pursue her college education in an inclusive environment, even though there is a special musical college for the blind.

NC:
After college I decided to pursue my education in Moscow. I studied at Victor Popov Academy  of Choral Arts. It was wonderful time. I sing solo; students choir. I was able to collaborate with very interesting orchestras, outstanding conductors.

TR:
In some respects,  a vocation as a singer seems like a natural fit for a talented person who is blind.

NC:
Conductors, they don’t trust you. I hear the question “How are you gonna sing if you don’t see the conductor?”
[Trailing sarcastic laugh!]

TR:
The misperceptions about blindness aren’t very logical and are more about the beholder’s limitations rather than the person who is blind.

[Musical transition – Nafset  – A. Dvorak – Mesichku Na Nebi (Rusalka)]

In the 1980’s when asked by a reporter if Russia would participate in the first Paralympic games
A Russian governmental official famously responded:
“There Are No Invalids in the USSR!”

Outright denying the existence of people with disabilities in the country.

While progress is slowly being made, it’s not surprising that
many teachers  are still against creating an inclusive educational environment for children with disabilities.

There continues to be a real lack of resources including Braille materials, access to information such as scholarly databases and information in general

While Nafset recognizes the areas for improvement, she’s very clear about her love of her country and wants to be a part of the solution.

NC:
I see that we have a lot to adopt from the United States. I’m eager to do that.

The thing is you know dreamed to study at the Manhattan School of Music and then to go back and to share my acquired knowledge and skills

TR:
Going after your dreams isn’t easy!
Most artistic endeavors  require a great deal of practice and of course you   need to make a living.

NC:
I work at the Moscow Art Theater. I sing for one performance. I like my job. It’s like a miracle for me.

TR:
Singing for one of the shows at the theater as well as occasional concerts,
Nafset is still uncertain of her future employment opportunities
but she remains committed to her dream.

So what exactly is stopping Nafset from pursuing her dream?
…The cost!

NC:
In February, I had a successful audition at Manhattan School of Music in New York And I was accepted  and I have been granted scholarship it amounted to 15 thousand dollars, but the whole tuition fees  45 thousand dollars so I think I’m not able to pursue my education in USA.

I have not a bad education here in Russia but for me self-development is the main thing in my life. I want to develop myself.

TR:
Sometimes it’s helpful to think about our past successes to provide encouragement and remind us that we can prevail.

[Audio from 2014 Paralympics Closing Ceremony in Sochi, Russia]

In 2014 During the closing ceremony of the Paralympics in Sochi, Russia, Nafset was the soloist in the closing act.

NC:
It was just a great honor for me!

I was so glad to sing there …stadium included 40 thousand people. The show was televised as well.
TR:
Making her entrance , Nafset is on a platform which rises above the rest of the entertainers and participants on the field.

[Audio: Nafset begins to sing!]

The Olympic torch is extinguished as Nafset holds her final note!
[Audio: Nafset softly holding that final note]

NC:
It’s unforgettable experience for me!
TR:
unforgettable!

NC:
Maybe I am an Idealist but it’s my dream.

TR:
You continue to follow your dream!

TR:
Maybe her entrance during the Sochi performance is symbolic of things to come. Nafset rising above all – perhaps all of the obstacles on her path toward fulfilling her dream. Her passion represented by the fire can only be extinguished by Nafset herself.

You have to respect anyone pursuing their dream. Especially those who can  still find time for gratitude when things don’t seem to be going as they wish.

NC:
I just want to say I’m very happy  to have the experience in United States. Today I can tell the people here in Russia about the things that we don’t have here but you have there in the United States. I’m very thankful to all the American companies who work out the software and different technical devices to improve our lives. I really feel very thankful.

If you’re interested in knowing more about Nafset or supporting her dream;
check out her go fund me
http://bit.ly/Nafset That’s
bit.ly/Capital N lower case A F S E T

This is Thomas Reid, .

NC: “Unfortunately we have no choice”
Thomas usually concludes with some silly self-effacing close![]

for Gatewave Radio
Audio for Independent Living!

If you’re listening to this via the podcast or Sound Cloud and want to check out the YouTube video or link to Nafset’s Go Fund Me, go on over to Reid My Mind.com where I have all the links.

A final thought as I was producing this story…

One of the things I always loved and miss about living and working  in New York City is the variety of people.
Among  most of my friends and family, I’m one of the only people who didn’t mind riding the subway. I loved people watching and the occasional spontaneous conversations  that either I would be a part of or have the chance to overhear or basically ease drop.

Interviewing different people  for me brings back a similar feeling. Especially speaking with those I’d otherwise never have a chance to randomly meet.
Like those in a different country from other cultures sharing their experience.

You just listened to  two people from very different back grounds in countries that were once  the greatest enemies.

I guess I’m old enough where I still am amazed and appreciate the technology involved in making this conversation possible.

The conversation itself took place on our iPhones via Face time Audio.
It was just a few years ago that the idea of a phone with a touch screen
was believed to be a poor reflection of the future of accessibility for those who are blind.

I’m still impressed that our Wi-Fi connection held up as packets of information were sent back and forth from the Poconos in Pennsylvania, USA  to Moscow in Russia.

Maybe it’s just my level of Geekiness that thinks that stuff is still pretty cool! And Nafset , reminds me to continue to be thankful!

Thanks for listening!{Or Reading!}

Peace!

 

Reid My Mind Radio: Holy Braille!

June 15th, 2016  / Author: T.Reid

The Holy Braille! A mock up of a full tablet sized  Braille Display.

If we take a look at the evolution  of the printed word over the years, it’s clear that technology has made real advancements possible. From desktop publishing to the promise of a paperless society. The advancements in Braille haven’t been as exciting. It’s still not an affordable option for many. And mobile options provide reduced output.

Picture of an 80 cell Electronic Braille Display

In this latest production for Gatewave Radio, learn all about The Holy Braille Project from the University of Michigan’s Haptix Lab. They’re working on an affordable full page Braille display with the potential   of being a  fully functioning tablet with its own  tactile graphic user interface.

Note:
In this episode, I make reference  to the importance of Braille for those who are Deaf-Blind; an often forgotten  segment of the population. Well, the only method for accessing digital information is via electronically Braille displays. A few weeks ago I began thinking of changing my workflow in order to create written transcripts in order to make my content fully accessible. See, by creating a podcast we exclude the entire Deaf community. As someone who believes in access for all, it’s time to step up my own game. So going forward I am going to try my hardest to  make transcripts available. I’ll keep it in the post but have it after the resource notes.

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Resources:
* Haptix Labs
* Statistical Snapshot from the American Foundation for the Blind
*             American Printing House for the Blind 2015 Annual Report

 

Transcription

TR:
In the 1800’s Louis Braille who was blinded as a child, modified the Night writing system developed in Napoleon’s Army.
This tactile  system enabled soldiers to safely communicate with one another under the cover of the night’s sky.

Ever since, the system of multiple cells, each consisting of some combination of 6 raised dots translating into alphabet, numbers, contractions and punctuations, enable literacy for those who are blind.

The challenge of Braille has been, bringing it into the 21st century.
There are digital Braille displays . They’re also bulky and expensive. We’re talking about over 2 thousand dollars. At most 80 braille cells can be displayed at once on a device. And these are the most expensive and bulkiest.

Devices today demand a more compact form factor allowing for greater mobility.

The Holy Braille project developed out of the University of Michigan is creating a more affordable and light weight product that will display a full page of Braille cells.

AR:
My name is Alex Rossomanno. I’m the PhD student working under
Brent Gillespie  and Sile O’Modhrain. I’ve been  on this project for 4 years now. My role is on the kind of technology development and research side.
A tablet like the one we’re trying to build just doesn’t exist right now. there really is a pretty big need for it. It’s almost prohibitively expensive to access any kind of electronic content via Braille. Essentially Blind people are more or less stuck either having to read in hard copy or having to access things via text to speech which as you probably know you know text to speech is great for some things  but…

TR:
…but it doesn’t allow for passively learning the spelling of a word. And certain types of information can be more difficult to understand  and process audibly.

AR:
We’re looking to create a device that is both able to create multiple lines of Braille on a page but then also to be able to render content that would take up more than a single line of Braille so that would include graphs, spreadsheets, maps some kind of tactile images that you can feel.

TR:
As text is visually displayed on a monitor or screen; small pins configured into cells matching the Braille cell are lowered and raised rendering the translated Braille cell.
As the user moves  through the text on the screen, the corresponding text is rendered on the braille display.

AR:
Traditionally, in order to control these bubbles  on a surface you need an electronic control valve or a separate one for each bump you want to control. So if you have a thousand  bubbles on a surface you need a thousand  external control valves. What happens it gets  very bulky if you go about it that way and it gets difficult to manufacture.

TR:
Several components will impact the final price of the product.
The cost of materials are one.
Labor is another and the ease at which a product can be manufactured can greatly reduce the retail price tag.

AR:
The way we’re going about it is actually integrating all that valving and circuitry that’s used to control those bubbles into the same sub straight as the bubbles themselves . And so what you get is a highly manufacturable device that is made similar to how a computer chip is made. I like to draw the comparison that we have computer chips that are essentially made in a chemical process that are kind of built up like 3D printed almost so that when it comes out it’s already fully integrated and you have all the different parts of the computer chip already connected together.  No one’s sitting there piecing it together themselves.

TR:
If you’re not familiar with this concept of 3D printing…
Just imagine a machine that takes all the ingredients; processes them together to automatically build the final product.
For example, you could have machine that has all of the ingredients
to make a cake.
Eggs, water, Flour, sugar and more sugar!
The machine is programmed to use the exact amount of ingredients to create a batter and heat at the exact temperature for just the right amount of time. No longer does someone have to manually crack the eggs, measure the flour and so on.
Yummy!

AR:
It’s the same manufacturing process to create an array of dots that’s maybe a hundred dots than it is to create one that’s a thousand dots. So you have a little bit of a scalability there where it may be more expensive to create just a single device out of this technology but you get these economies of scale when you    create  a very large device. It’s not like the price is scaling linearly or the cost of making the device is scaling linearly.

TR:
The possibilities, are more than a new and more affordable Braille Display.

AR:
Ideally we would have first and foremost something  that’s low cost and that  could render a full page. Upfront that’s our goal.

TR:
And then, there’s the holy Braille!

AR:
Much like sighted people have
a typical Windows or Mac interface; there’s icons you click on. Essentially you’re navigating through this digital information in a pretty seamless  way. That doesn’t necessarily exist right now for Blind people and having a table that’s able to have  a very large array that can change digitally, so can update at a very fast speed, you can imagine some kind of user interface that a blind person could potentially be clicking on icons and feel those icons and be able to navigate around digital content in a similar way that sighted people do using the typical interfaces that we interact with day to day. A portable device you could carry around with you.

TR:
Alex and the rest of the team are hopeful that once this technology is proven and ready for prime time other developers will begin to create on top of their technology.
Similar to other inventions that sparked new development like the development of the iPhone  gave birth to the creation of millions of apps doing everything from playing silly games to potentially detecting cancer.

While it’s too early to determine when such a device will be available on the market
a prototype is not that far away.

The project is currently in the proof of concept phase.
Meaning the first goal is to prove the capabilities of the underlying technology that drives the product.
In July, Alex and the team will be displaying this technology at  the Euro Haptics Conference in London.

According to a 2014 report published by the American Printing House for the Blind;
less than 10 percent of children with vision loss  read Braille. This is on par with adult counterparts.

Research has shown a direct relationship between  Braille and employment. Among those who are blind and employed, over 80 percent are Braille readers.

Now, with almost 35 percent of these school aged children being labeled as nonreaders and
less than 10 percent reading braille, there’s a strong need for increased access and affordability.

And then, an often forgotten segment within the blind community are those who are both deaf and blind. Braille is their access to the digital information.

Improved digital access makes sense.

If you’re interested in learning more about The Holy Braille project or those involved
AR:
Our lab is called the Haptix Lab (H  A P T I X) and if you just Google search “Haptix Lab” we’re the first thing that comes up!
TR:
This is Thomas Reid, for Gatewave Radio.

AR:
“There really is a pretty big need for it… it’s almost prohibitively expensive”

TR:

Audio, for Independent Living!