Published quarterly by

Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired

An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

Vol. 61 Fall 2017


KABVI strives to increase the independence, opportunity, and quality of life for all blind and visually impaired Kansans and to assist us in taking our rightful place among our sighted peers.




Corporate Office, 712 S. Kansas Ave. Suite 410

Topeka, KS 66603-3080

Phone: (785) 235-8990

Toll free in Kansas 1-800-799-1499

Editor Associate Editor

Nancy Johnson Ann Byington

714 SW Wayne Ave. 909 SW College Ave.

Topeka, KS 66606-1753 Topeka, KS 66606

Supermom1941@cox.net abyington@cox.net


Ann Byington

909 SW College Ave.

Topeka, KS 66606

Phone: (785) 233-3839


Send address changes to:

Membership Secretary, KABVI, 712 S. Kansas Ave. Suite 410, Topeka, KS 66603-3080

KABVI NEWS promotes the general welfare of blind and visually impaired persons in Kansas. KABVI NEWS reflects the philosophy, and policies of the Association, reports the activities of its members, and includes pertinent articles pertaining to blindness and low vision.

Send your news, views, articles, and features. Materials in Braille, on disk (Microsoft Word), or typewritten (double-spaced, large print) are considered. When quoting from other published materials, please include dates and sources. Unsigned material is not accepted for publication. Send a stamped, self-addressed envelope, and original materials will be returned. Editorial staff reserves the right to edit submitted materials.

Articles for publication must reach the editor by January 22, April 22, July 22, and October 22!

Annual meeting notices and membership renewal letters are sent to all persons on KABVI’s mailing list. If notices are returned as undeliverable, those names are removed from the mailing list and their subscriptions to KABVI NEWS discontinued. Membership is open to everyone interested but is not required for receipt of KABVI NEWS. A membership renewal form on which to indicate your current information and format preference is included at the end of each issue of KABVI NEWS. Thank you for helping us keep KABVI’s records current.

Table of Contents

Musings from the President, by Ann Byington – 4

Reflections, by Nancy Johnson, Editor – 5

Wish You Had Sighted Help Whenever You Need It? By Ann Byingtton - 7

Report from the Board of Directors, by Nancy Johnson, Recording Secretary – 10

And, If You Read Braille…, from the ACB Web Site - 15

Tantalizing Tidbits, Compiled by Ann Byington – 26

Volunteer Scorecard, by Nancy Johnson – 30

2017 Membership and KABVI News Renewal - 31

Musings from the President

By Ann Byington

There is so much to talk about, I will not try and put it in one article.  Focusing on KABVI, we are going to be involved in several upcoming events.

August 23rd: Vision Resource Fair, Great Bend Public Library sponsored by Kathy Rhan, Talking Books program provider.  This will be a chance to speak with the public about KABVI and possibly share some donated items. September 22nd:  KSSB benefit for the KC Blind All-Stars Foundation (their non-profit) is hosting a fundraiser on the morning of September 22nd on the campus. We have been invited to have a booth and/or provide sponsored walkers.

Additionally, KABVI members will participate in the Blinded Veterans Topeka Capital Tour Planned for Tuesday, October 3rd.  Blinded veterans from Leavenworth and Topeka, their support staff and KABVI members will tour the Capitol, enjoy lunch and learn more about us.

Our corporate office will be staffed more regularly after August 1st when Michael completes his move back to Topeka.  The Juliet brailler is back downtown, along with the Tiger embosser, so our children’s book project will be getting underway.  ACB is offering some help with grant-writing so KABVI will not have to shoulder this obligation alone.

Also, I am looking for videographers to help us gather information about our older members for presentation on our website and as part of our 100th birthday.


By Nancy Johnson, Editor

KABVI has served blind and visually impaired Kansans for nearly a hundred years and has several outstanding achievements to its credit. What’s been done is important: But what KABVI does in the future is possibly more important.

KABVI’s board decided to apply for grants because no great ideas for state wide fundraisers have emerged. To determine the worthiness of an organization for funds, grantors need documentation of the work that organization’s does. KABVI has not kept such specific documentation, though it does have a record of its successful involvement in several areas.

To compile documentation of what KABVI is now doing, the Board of Directors asks everyone to let us know how they’re involved in their communities. Here are some ideas. Do you:

  • Serve on state and local advisory councils or committees
  • Volunteer for a local organization, school, or church
  • Share experiences about coping with or adapting to vision loss
  • Other activities I didn’t mention

How much time do you spend performing these services? Engaging in community activities demonstrates our ability and willingness as severely visually impaired and blind persons to be a part of the community in which we live.

Send your "KABVI Time Sheet" to Nancy Johnson. E-mail supermom1941@cox.net. Phone 785.234.8449. Snail-mail 714 SW Wayne Ave, Topeka, KS 66606-1753. You can also e-mail kabvi@att.net, call 785.235.8990 (or toll free 800.799.14499). Snail-mail to KABVI, 712 S. Kansas Ave. Suite 410, Topeka, KS 66603. Use print (large print preferred), Braille, or E-mail. I’ll compile the information and include it in the next issue of KABVI News. I thank you all in advance.

Wish You Had Sighted Help Whenever You need It?

By Ann Byington

Probably the most exciting product highlighted at the opening session of the ACB convention and at the Exhibit Hall was the AT&T Aira.  I did not get to speak with the distributors as the booth was mobbed.  Michael did learn that the glasses are rented, like Ma Bell used to rent phones.  We were told that, as well as directions while walking on the street, AIRA folk will read mail, help find dropped things, and much, much more. While this assistance does not negate other strategies for living independently, ways of using it are as limitless as the needs of the blind and visually impaired population!

AT&T* is providing wireless connectivity to startup Aira to support their innovative technology platform that assists the blind and visually impaired. The platform will blend wearables such as Google Glass and Vuzix connectivity and Aira’s human-assisted artificial intelligence to give blind and visually impaired customers information about their surroundings akin to sighted people and do it quickly and efficiently. Aira’s remote technology uses wearable smart glasses to connect those with diminished vision to a network of certified agents. The agents can "see" from the wearer’s perspective using video in nearly real-time and then communicate information and instructions back to the wearer. This can help the wearer achieve everyday tasks and new challenges. According to Aira, the smart glasses can help wearers navigate busy streets, ride public transportation, shop at retail stores or even climb a mountain.

With the help of AT&T Dynamic Traffic Management - a capability being showcased at CES - Aira can prioritize data traffic. This can help to provide a more predictable experience, especially in times of network congestion. "Our provision of wireless connectivity to Aira will bring nearly real-time access and management to their platform. Ultimately, we believe this should improve the experience for the blind and visually impaired." The AT&T Foundry for Connected Health is located within Texas Medical Center’s Innovation Institute in Houston, Texas. It is working with companies such as Aira to bring connected and integrated healthcare solutions to market. "The AT&T Foundry for Connected Health is uniquely positioned to bring together hospitals, doctors, nurses and other caregivers with innovative technology companies and AT&T’s deep connectivity expertise," said Igal Elbaz, Vice President of Ecosystem & Innovation at AT&T. "Our mission at the AT&T Foundry is to bring ideas from concept to commercialization faster than previously possible. This work with Aira exemplifies that rapid and collaborative innovation model. "We are thrilled to be connected by a global leader like AT&T. We share a mission-level commitment of leveraging technology to improve quality of life," said Suman Kanuganti, CEO of Aira. "It’s exciting to have the AT&T ecosystem by our side to help our blind and visually impaired users stay connected," Kanuganti said.

The Consumer Technology Association (CTA)™ Foundation chose Aira as a 2017 Eureka winner. They focus on startup companies with technologies that improve lives. Aira and AT&T will showcase Aira’s connected device at CES 2017 in Eureka Park.  Aira will provide details about commercial availability later.

*AT&T products and services are provided or offered by subsidiaries and affiliates of AT&T Inc. under the AT&T brand and not by AT&T Inc.

EDITOR’S NOTE: For more complete information, call 858-876-2472. For plan information, https://aira.io/plans.

Report from the Board of Directors

By Nancy Johnson, Recording Secretary

President Ann Byington convened the Board of Directors meeting of the Kansas Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired July 15, 2017 at the corporate office at 10:30 a.m. Attending were President Ann Byington, Vice president Paul Berscheidt (Skype), Treasurer Bob Chaffin (Skype), Recording Secretary Nancy Johnson, Corresponding Secretary Michael Byington (Skype), and Membership Secretary Carolyn Thomason. Directors Henry Staub, Kathy Dawson, Phyllis Schmidt, and Bill Moore attended. Absent were Joyce Lewis and Kurt Bailey.

Ann requested reimbursement of $629 for attendance at the American Council of the Blind (ACB) convention. Approval was given.

Ann read a letter from Dr. John Harding of the Kansas State School for the Blind (KSSB) thanking KABVI for purchasing a table at the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the founding of the school in 1867. He invited KABVI to participate in the K.C. All-Stars Foundation’s September event and the Braille Challenge during the 2017-18 school year. Ann suggested KABVI participate in these events and perhaps have a booth in September.

Ann stated KABVI’s mail will no longer be forwarded to her home effective August 4, when it will again be delivered to the office.

Ann reported she still needs to send travel itinerary and expenses to Bob.

Ann reported production of Braille books has not begun because assistance is needed with learning to use the Tiger Embosser, which can produce tactile graphics and print/Braille documents. She said she knows someone who can teach the use of this equipment.

Ann reported she estimates spending about 40 hours per month on KABVI activities, though she has not specifically documented her time. She again emphasized the need to document activities for purposes of obtaining grants. No one else documented time spent on KABVI activities. ACB offers one hour of grant writing training for each affiliate.

Nancy reported on the Kansas Advisory Committee for the Blind and Visually Impaired (KACBVI). The subcommittee on choice and participation has had two conference calls. Some concerns raised included choice of program, career path, and education and costs involved when individuals are away for training. A meeting of the full committee is scheduled for July 28.

The Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) changes the way integrated, competitive employment is determined, which is expected to affect the number of blind/visually impaired persons rehabilitated. Michael suggested Michael Donnelly, Director of Rehabilitation Services, be encouraged to visit Envision’s facilities and Mr. Monteferrante of Envision, Mr. Berry of Alphapointe, and possibly others be asked to help make this happen.

Ann reported she continues to work with Tim Hornik on the Veterans Day at the Capital, scheduled for October 3. She considered inviting them to lunch at KABVI, but the group prefers to stay at the Capital. She suggested KABVI donating $100 to pay for lunch for the veterans. Michael moved $100 be donated for provision of lunch for the veterans at the Capital. The motion was seconded by Paul. It passed with one "no" vote.

Ann asked directors to listen to some specific discussions from the ACB convention. She will find the links to these and send them to board members for later discussion. Michael and Ann reported on a discussion regarding new low vision treatments and glasses that can help totally blind individuals in orientation and mobility.

Bob reported KABVI will receive $39.56 from the Dillons Community Rewards Program. Anyone who shops at their local Dillons store is encouraged to participate in this program and name KABVI as their charity of choice.

Ann discussed the fact that grants can now be written to cover operating costs.

Carolyn reported, when mail is returned to KABVI with no forwarding address, marked as "undeliverable," that name is removed from the database and will not receive mailings from KABVI. She stated she needs more information than just the name and address to enter individuals into the ACB database, which we now use. She also needs the phone number, e-mail address, visual status, and format preference of the individual to complete the entry. This information is important to KABVI so we know how to send communications when we do mass mailings. KABVI currently has 398 names in the database.

Ann suggested the mailing list be shared with the entire board so people can be contacted when help is needed with projects. Carolyn agreed to see how this can best be done.

Kathy again reported she did not get the newsletter and repeated her e-mail address, which we have. Also, Joyce Lewis needs materials sent in large print.

Paul is arranging to get software and training to update the web site. Since the demise of the service, a hard drive has been attached to the front office computer and information shared with the other computers in the office. As soon as Nancy can get her personal information off the front desk computer, which she originally purchased for online classes, that computer will belong to KABVI.

Paul reported a low vision workshop is scheduled at the Great Bend Library from 10:00 to 3:00 August 23. KABVI is invited to have a booth there.

Phyllis reported she received one very favorable scholarship application.

Again this year Phyllis and Nancy participated in Braille Camp with Teacher of the Visually Impaired Ann Gurse. Four students examined animal pelts, small animal skeletons, rocks, and sea shells.

Kathy reported she may have to resign from the board because of a conflict with her work. Alternative meeting days were discussed. Members were asked to e-mail Ann with their preference of meeting days. The next board meeting is October 21.

And, If You Read Braille…

Edited from the APH website by Ann Byington

At a 3-hour discussion during the Braille Revival League program, those attending got a brief "hands-on" demonstration of most of the latest refreshable braille displays.  To those of you with a bias against technology because of its outrageous expense, read on!  The Orbit Reader 20 will retail for $481 with an additional cost for a case.

After the recent announcement and feedback during the March 2016 CSUN conference about the release of the Orbit Reader 20™, a new refreshable braille display with an SD card slot and stand-alone functionality, it is clear the device warrants some additional description. In brief, the Orbit Reader 20 combines simplicity, functionality, and connectivity in a unique and low-priced package to make reading braille more practical in many situations. The Orbit Reader 20 will be manufactured by Orbit Research and sold by the American Printing House for the Blind.

Three categories of refreshable braille displays:

Braille Terminals — a refreshable braille device that connects to a host, with no additional functionality. It usually includes a USB and Bluetooth interface and sometimes features a braille keyboard. The user reads the braille from an app running on a phone, tablet, or computer (host) and then controls the host and/or types with the keyboard using the braille terminal.

Note Takers — works like a braille terminal and includes additional functionality, such as editing or a calendar, that is used without connecting to a host. These devices always include a braille keyboard.

PDAs — a note taker that uses a mobile operating system to provide all the services of a smartphone or tablet. Modern PDAs include Android and Windows applications. These devices could even be called braille tablets. This is the next best solution for the user desiring the ultimate experience of a single integrated unit.

One of the disadvantages of braille PDAs is the cost. While the user can obtain a well-equipped iPhone® for about $800, or even use an Amazon Fire® tablet for $50, the cost of braille PDAs is in the thousands. And while it is almost painless to spend a few hundred dollars every two or three years to upgrade to the latest device, spending thousands to keep up with braille technology hurts a lot more and is out of range for many users. These disproportionate prices should not reflect badly on the manufacturers—it is expensive to design specialty hardware, and the traditional braille cells used to date are very expensive. Relatively low quantities for manufacturing also contributes to the problem. And there is a market for premium braille PDAs.

For most users, the note taker offers a middle-ground approach. It provides minimal, but essential, functionality in a stand-alone operation and lets the user connect to a host device for more demanding tasks, such as web browsing or streaming movies.

The disadvantage is the inconvenience of having two separate devices with which to contend. However, this aspect becomes an advantage when it is time to upgrade to the next generation of phone or tablet.

The Orbit Reader 20 was designed as a braille reading device. It falls into the note taker category. Its stand-alone capabilities include reading, writing, and file management. For anything else, the user connects to a host device that provides those services.

In this usage model, the Orbit Reader 20 becomes a terminal that displays the braille for the app running on the phone, tablet, or PC. It works via Bluetooth with iOS and Android devices and through USB or Bluetooth for Windows, Mac, and any other operating system that includes a screen reader with braille support. In the USB configuration, Orbit Reader 20 supports both serial and human interface device (HID) protocols. This means, if the screen reader supports it, no driver installation is required.

When using it as a stand-alone device, Orbit Reader 20 starts as a reader displaying the content of files stored on the SD card. The interface is simple, keeping the focus on allowing the reader to scroll through the text and select other titles. The youngest readers find it easy to get the next line of braille by pressing the panning button. For more advanced users, Orbit Reader 20 provides searching, bookmark, and note taking capabilities.

In addition to its use as a reader, Orbit Reader 20 lets the user create and edit text. Make no mistake, the editor is simple and works with about 15 pages at a time. But if more complex formatting or spell check is needed, the user utilizes a word processing program, such as Microsoft Word, on the PC with Orbit Reader 20 serving as the braille terminal.

Finally, Orbit Reader includes file management capabilities as part of its stand-alone functionality. The user can rename, delete, copy, and create files and folders as needed.

Along with these simple software features, Orbit Reader 20 boasts some noteworthy hardware. The most distinctive feature is the braille technology. Some compare it to the braille used on signage. The dots do not give when the user presses them. The dots on some braille displays using the traditional technology yield to pressure. Perceptually, this results in the sensation of pushing the dot down when the user applies deliberate force to it. The technology used in the Orbit Reader 20 does not exhibit this characteristic. Once the dot is raised, it stays raised no matter how hard the user examines it. This unique factor could have positive implications for beginning braille readers or those who suffer with some degree of neuropathy.

The Orbit Reader 20 was made possible by the Transforming Braille Group, LLC. Their goals for this device included increasing literacy by dramatically reducing the cost of refreshable braille technology.

In 2011, Kevin Carey, Chair of the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB), announced that RNIB would find a technology that disrupts the braille display market by radically reducing the cost of refreshable braille. He convinced 10 world-wide blindness organizations to form the Transforming Braille Group, LLC (TBG). The organizations involved in TBG are:

  • American Printing House for the Blind (APH)
  • Association Valentin HauY (AVH)
  • Blind Foundation (formerly RNZFB)
  • Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB)
  • National Federation of the Blind (NFB)
  • Norwegian Association for the Blind and Partially Sighted (NABP)
  • Perkins School for the Blind (Perkins)
  • Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB)
  • Sightsavers
  • Vision Australia (VA)

After a thorough examination of over 60 possible projects, TBG agreed to fund Orbit Research with $1.25 million to develop the reader for about $300 each, with a commitment of 50,000 units over a five-year period.

In March 2016, TBG and Orbit announced the successful completion of the project and revealed the prototypes at the CSUN conference.

While no organization has yet published an end user price for the Orbit Reader 20, it is fair to expect a price around $500 for North America. TBG members can get the device for $320, but this is just for the device. Individual member organizations must package, localize, support, and distribute the device. TBG members are all non-profit organizations, so determining factors toward an end user cost depend on the cost of the following described items.

Packaging might include an SD card (possibly with some content), a USB cable, large print and braille quick start guides, an AC adapter, and a box and packaging. Some of these components vary depending on the location; for example, translation of the quick start guides into an appropriate language and provision of AC adapters compatible

with local plugs. Member organizations may choose to collaborate for lower packaging and accessory prices.

Another example that could affect the end user price is the use of a software utility that allows an organization to translate the user interface into any language, thus allowing delivery of a product directly to their customers that is already configured and preloaded with content on the SD card.

Organizations may also want to create software and hardware support systems. While

the device is engineered for varying climates, eventually the battery, for example, needs replacement. Currently, it is user replaceable, but some organizations may wish to consider providing services such as battery sales or installation.

Some of the most important considerations for successful integration of such a breakthrough technology are marketing, support, and education. Individual TBG members are responsible for providing information to consumers and educational and government entities about the cost and literacy advantages. They also build customer support channels and create and distribute tutorials or localized versions of the user interface and documentation.

To date, CNIB, RNIB, and APH have announced intentions to distribute the device when it becomes available in the fall of 2016. Non-TBG members will also be able to purchase the Orbit Reader 20, but they will not enjoy the $320 price. Final price and timing

details are forthcoming. Orbit Reader uses common off-the-shelf parts. Most of these parts are used in millions of other consumer devices, so it is expected that the individual prices will continue to fall.

The end result of a low-cost refreshable braille display is not magic. The TBG made a commitment, identified a technology, financed it, committed to quantities, and accepted compromises to achieve this remarkable cost breakthrough. In addition to the financial and quantity commitments, the new technology and compromises made between TBG members complete the successful formula for the significant price reduction.

A look at some of the compromises helps explain. Orbit Reader 20 Features vs. Full-Featured Devices

The first difference from full-featured devices is the lack of cursor routing buttons. What that means to individual users depends on how they use the device. These buttons, which are associated with individual cells, make the interface easier on modern operating systems. The cursor routing buttons were eliminated due to limited usefulness when used as a reader and to save on cost. Currently, there are discussions taking place

about the introduction of models with additional features, and cursor router buttons certainly qualify as one of the more important features being considered.

The second difference from full-featured devices is that the unit refreshes differently from previously existing technology. The refresh rate is slower, and the user can just hear the slight tap as each pin rises from left to right. However, it happens quickly, usually in about half a second for the whole line—the left side is ready almost immediately. The refresh rate could be faster with additional cost, but initial indications show that many users are satisfied with this alternate technique.

The last difference is in the size and appearance; it is not the smallest or sleekest refreshable braille device available. It is approximately 6 inches wide, 4 inches deep, and just over 1 inch tall; and it appears more utilitarian than elegant. Regardless, it looks good, is built ruggedly, and functions well. It does not come with a carrying case, but it does contain rings where a strap may be attached. Orbit Research will offer a case for purchase, and it is likely that some of the well-known case developers, such as Executive Products, will supply a carrying case.

The device is not intended to compete with high end PDAs. Its purpose is to get braille into the hands of more users. Now, parents can afford a braille reader to accompany the family tablet, libraries can reduce costs for those users that desire electronic distribution, and governments can provide inexpensive, easy to maintain devices on which to read.

For teachers of the visually impaired (TVIs) in the United States, it means that schools can provide a braille display for every student that requires one, which should be available to the student for home use for evenings and weekends. The TVI can use it to provide high-quality transcribed electronic textbooks. At school, students can use it to read textbooks, write homework assignments, take notes, and interact with the school computer. At home, they can read books and magazines, work on homework assignments, interact with their iPad, and connect it to the home computer.

In short, the Orbit Reader 20 provides a simple, well-built, inexpensive method to offer the prospect of literacy to more people who are blind and visually impaired by dramatically reducing the cost of refreshable braille technology. It is not the

sleekest, most elegant, smallest, or most feature laden device available. It is, however, an incredible value for simple, reliable, electronic braille tasks. The Transforming Braille Group is optimistic that this combination will ease the literacy crisis among blind citizens the world round


Tantalizing Tidbits

Please join Audio-Reader on Wednesday, August 9th for our inaugural Sensory Garden concert. Audio-Reader is collaborating with Adaptive Use Musical Instrument (AUMI) Inter-Arts and the Lawrence Public Library to present an evening with Jesse Stewart. Jesse Stewart, associate professor of music at Carleton University, is an award-winning composer, percussionist, visual artist, and sound artist, whose music has been featured at festivals throughout Canada, the United States, and Europe. A past recipient of the Terry Fox Humanitarian Award in recognition of his commitment to volunteerism and community activism, Jesse is committed to fostering community health through music, art, and education. He is the founder of "We Are All Musicians" (WAAM), an organization dedicated to providing opportunities for individuals to make music regardless of age, musical training, socio-economic circumstance, physical, and/or cognitive disability. The concert will include an interactive demonstration of the AUMI programs. AUMI software interface enables the user to play sounds and musical phrases through movement and gestures. It enables all users to independently engage in music making. Tours and AUMI demonstrations will begin at 7pm, the concert will begin at 7:30pm. Audio-Reader will provide audio description for the event. Learn more about the AUMI program here: https://aumi.drupal.ku.edu.  Learn more about the visiting artist, Jesse Stewart, here: http://www.jessestewart.ca/music-video.html.

Audio-Reader’s 15th annual benefit sale of all things audio, For Your EARS Only 2017, will take place on Friday, September 8 and Saturday, September 9 at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. Tell your friends and make plans to attend this fun, annual benefit sale! Audio-Reader is now accepting donations of new and/or gently-used LPs, CDs, DVDs, modern and vintage stereo equipment, and musical instruments. Items can be dropped off at four different locations: Audio-Reader's office, Sound Innovations in Lawrence, KCUR in Kansas City, or Sunflower School Supplies in Topeka, KS. For additional information visit www.reader.ku.edu.

Self-driving cars are coming. the Highly Automated Vehicle Testing and Deployment Act of 2017, is the first major federal effort to regulate autonomous vehicles, and would give the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration broad oversight of the self-driving car industry. a bipartisan group of senators announced  it was working toward its own version of an autonomous vehicle bill, which would prioritize "safety, fixing outdated rules, and clarifying the role of federal and state governments" in regulating self-driving cars. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 94 percent of traffic deaths involve human error, including distracted driving and driving while intoxicated. Self-driving cars would obviate those problems, even if they would introduce new fears. (Some experts predict it could be a decade or longer until cars are capable of full autonomy in every driving condition, but several major auto manufacturers, including Ford and Toyota, say they’re on track to release cars capable of limited autonomy within the next four years. a poll conducted this year by AAA showed 78 percent of drivers in the United States are afraid to ride in a self-driving car, and 54 percent would feel less safe sharing the road with one. the benefits of self-driving cars are clear and concrete — fewer traffic deaths, easier commutes, the ability to safely use your phone while you drive. the self-driving car revolution could usher in sweeping economic changes, including the displacement of millions of workers. Roughly 1.7 million Americans drive long-haul trucks for a living, and another 1.7 million people drive taxis, buses and other commercial vehicles. When autonomous vehicles render many of those jobs obsolete, politicians will have a much bigger set of problems to contend with.

Envision’s Level Up Conference received a $5K grant from the Monsanto Fund, via its 2017 site grant initiative. The Level Up Conference was held on the campus of Wichita State University, and hosted 35 blind and visually impaired high school students, providing them with free computers and assistive technology, one-on-one training in how to use this equipment, and valuable lessons in interpersonal skills, job searches, and interviewing and other factors in the success of their academic and professional careers.

The American Council of the Blind applauds the Federal Communications Commission's recently adopted new rules increasing the number of hours of audio-described programming available on top-rated broadcast and cable networks. Advocating for Americans who are blind or visually impaired, ACB played an active role in the passage of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA), which paved the way for video-described programming. "ACB is excited the FCC adopted new rules providing a 75 percent increase in the number of hours of audio-described programming available," said ACB president Kim Charlson. "Every day, ACB strives to increase the equality of opportunity for people who are blind or visually impaired, and access to audio-described programming gives those of us who are blind a chance to enjoy entertainment with sighted friends and colleagues. "The new FCC rules, effective July 1, 2018, require audio-described programming be available from 6 a.m. to midnight, maintaining the 50 hours of prime time and children's programing and adding 37.5 hours of additional audio-described content. The networks that must currently comply with this rule are ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, Disney Channel, History, TBS, TNT, and USA. Audio description, also referred to as video description, provides spoken descriptions of on-screen action during pauses in dialogue, enhancing the viewing experience for individuals who are unable to see the screen or action taking place around them. "We see this as a step forward for equal access," said ACB executive director Eric Bridges. "And we'll continue to seek out new pathways forward for further expansion of audio description wherever possible."

Volunteer Scorecard

Volunteer hours in July total 92, 20 of which were attendance at the board of directors meeting. Another estimated 40 brings the total to 132. Activities included: database updates; hard drive research, purchase and installation; client outreach; treasurer’s activities and preparation of reports; office management; representation of KABVI at meetings; Public education presentation; and newsletter preparation.

Think of documentation of hours as a fundraiser. When KABVI requests grants, these volunteer hours document that KABVI is doing the work it claims to be doing and can improve our chances to obtain funding for projects we undertake.

2017 Membership and KABVI NEWS Renewal

Name ______________________________________

Address ____________________________________

City ___________________ State ___ Zip ________

Phone _______________ ______________________

Email ______________________________________

I am ___ Totally blind ___ Legally blind

___ Visually impaired ___ Deaf-blind

___ Sighted

___ Enclosed is $10 for 2017 dues.

___ Enclosed is $250 for life membership in KABVI.

___ Enclosed is a tax-deductible donation of $_________.

Please send KABVI News and The Braille Forum in:

___ Braille ___ Cartridge ___E-mail

___ Large print, ___ Regular print

___ I do not wish to receive these publications. If you check this item, your name will be removed from KABVI’s mailing list.

Please send this completed form with your check to:

Robert Chaffin, Treasurer,

1105 Centennial Blvd. Hays, KS 67601