Technology helps the blind enjoy life - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Technology helps the blind enjoy life

August 6, 2004

Bainbridge - A seeing eye dog, a cane, and Braille. Easily recognized tools used by blind or low vision people, but these days there is so much more.

"I am amazed each and everyday," says James A. Dickerson. "There are new things coming out that will assist us in our independent living, so we don't have to ask someone to assist us."

There are devices that differentiate between colors and denominations of money, and tools that allow the blind to participate in everyday activities.

"New technology is allowing those with visual impairments to lead a more normal life. They can read the morning newspaper and there are even aids that will assist them with watching television," says Peggy Chavis.

And for those who have lost all vision, there are devices that will read a book. Even the Internet is accessible. One device translates print into braille and vice-versa, a handheld computer. But just like all technology, "It's changing all the time," says Chavis. "That's why it's important to have these kind of events, because what's new here today, in six months will be obsolete. That's just how quickly things are changing."

Changing, yet improving life for those who were once limited. Chavis says, "It makes a difference in a person being independent and self sufficient and being homebound, and having somebody care for them."

Now they are finding ways to care and to enjoy life on their own. Although the devices allow blind people to email and correspond like traditional computers, the prices aren't very friendly. A personal data assistant for the blind can cost up to $5,000.

posted at 3:04 PM by karen.collier@walb.com