Convention Miniatures

Blind Science Students Needed:

Brian Buhrow, who chairs the NFB Research and Development Committee, recently wrote to say that Arizona State University is conducting research to determine the feasibility of using rapid-prototyping techniques to provide instructional materials to blind students completing post-secondary courses in the sciences. Rapid prototyping is a technique for producing three-dimensional scale models of complex computer-rendered drawings. For example, it is traditionally used in manufacturing to allow parts designers to produce samples quickly and easily. These samples allow designers to experience their designs using tangible parts to understand better the way their designs translate into product.

Because rapid-prototyping techniques can be used to turn almost any computer-rendered three-dimensional image into an actual object, which one can touch and hold, it can also be used to create models of objects which are normally too small or large to touch. For example, it is possible to collect images of human blood cells through microscopes, generate computer-rendered images, and turn them into three-dimensional objects which are accurately scaled up to a size discernible by the human hand. It is also possible to go the other direction and scale large objects—a model of the Empire State Building, for example—down to a few inches.

Dr. Anshuman Razdan of the Prism Project at Arizona State University came to our convention this year to learn about how we might be able to help him learn how useful rapid prototyping would be in instructing blind students in scientific course work. Specifically he is interested in helping produce three-dimensional models of various objects for blind students who are taking scientific courses during the 1998-99 academic year. Because this is an experimental project, Dr. Razdan is able to work with only a few students during this academic year. However, he is particularly interested in working with blind students who are pursuing courses in the biological, physical, and architectural sciences. Students analyzing laboratory data are also of interest here.

The plan is to have the students work directly with Dr. Razdan's office to gain access to visual models throughout the academic year. Students will be expected to provide feedback to the Prism Project about what worked and what didn't, and the Prism Project will work with the students to try to provide access to handouts, laboratory data, etc. The exact details of what will be provided and expected of students participating in the program will be worked out between each student and the folks at the Prism Project.

Blind students reading this and pursuing or about to pursue a course in which access to non-textual, visual data might be helpful should contact us to indicate an interest in participating in this program. To learn more about it or to express interest in participating, please contact Brian Buhrow at (831) 423-6743 or <buhrow@nfbcal.org>.

Division Election Results:

A number of divisions conducted elections during the 1998 convention in Dallas. Here are the results of the elections about which we were notified:

The Science and Engineering Division: John Miller, President; Michael Gosse, Vice President; Brian Buhrow, Secretary; Robert Jaquiss, Treasurer; Angela Lee and Abraham Nemeth, Board Members.

The National Association of Blind Educators: Bonnie Peterson, President; Mary Willows, First Vice President; Allen Harris, Second Vice President; John Smith, Secretary; Pattie Harmon, Treasurer; and David Ticchi and Carolyn Braak, Board Members.

The National Association of Guide Dog Users: Suzanne Walen, President; Dana Ard, Vice President; Eugenia Firth, Secretary; and Priscilla Ferris, Treasurer.

The Diabetes Action Network: Ed Bryant, President; Janet Lee, First Vice President; Sandie Addy, Second Vice President;

Sally York, Secretary; Bruce Peters, Treasurer; and Eric Wood and Gisela Distel, Board Members.

The National Association of Secretaries and Transcribers:

Lisa Hall, President; Janet Triplett, First Vice President; Mary Donahue, Second Vice President; and Carol Clark, Secretary.

The Deaf-Blind Division: Joseph B. Naulty, President;

Maurice Mines, First Vice President; Burnell E. Brown, Second Vice President; Terry Criswell, Recording Secretary; Lisa Hall, Corresponding Secretary; Kimberly Johnson, Treasurer; and Dana Ard, Robert Jacquiss, and Robert Deaton, Board Members.

The National Organization of the Senior Blind: Christine Hall, President; Ray McGeorge, First Vice President; Kathy Randall, Second Vice President; Paul Dressell, Secretary; and Don Pruitt, Treasurer.

The Music Division: Linda Mentink, President; Mary Brunoli, First Vice President; Karen McDonald, Second Vice President; Mary Donahue, Secretary; and Ben Snow, Treasurer.

The Merchants Division: Donald J. Morris, President; Joseph VanLent, First Vice President; Kevan Worley, Second Vice President; Pam Schnurr, Secretary; Don Hudson, Treasurer; and Wayne Shevlin, Norm Bolton, Chris Hollingsworth, and Carl Jacobsen, Board Members.

The National Organization of Parents of Blind Children:

Barbara Cheadle, President; Carol Castellano, First Vice President; Marty Greiser, Second Vice President; Christine Faltz, Secretary; Julie Hunter, Treasurer; and Tammy Hollingsworth, Crystal McClain, Sally Miller, and Sandy Taboada, Board Members.

Computer Games for the Blind:

Near the close of the parents seminar, Richard Ring, director of the International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind in Baltimore, told the audience that at least one company is now producing high-quality computer games using sound rather than complex graphics. Games available at a reasonable price include Monopoly, Ten Pin Bowling, Fox and Hounds, and Any Night Football.

To learn more about these games, contact PCS Computer Systems, 551 Compton Avenue, Perth Amboy, New Jersey 08861, phone (732) 826-1917.

The Sound of the National Federation of the Blind on the Internet:

The National Federation of the Blind is beginning to build a digital audio library of banquet speeches. We will begin with the 1998 banquet address in Dallas, Texas, by Dr. Maurer and work backward through the banquet addresses. Our goal is to have the most extensive digital audio library on the Web addressing issues of blindness. It will truly be "the blind speaking for themselves" on the World Wide Web.

We will be using the Real Audio technology from Progressive Networks, Inc., which works with most popular Web browsers available today. Since most of these browsers work with speech technology, these recordings will be accessible to blind users of the Web as well as friends, colleagues, and those just being introduced to blindness issues. The initial URL for the NFB audio archive will be: <http://www.blind.org/audio.html>. Expect availability of the 1998 banquet address about the end of September. Tell your friends, show it to your colleagues, and demonstrate it as often as possible. We want to be heard, and now we can be around the globe—day or night, rain or shine.

New Division:

During this year's convention a new division, the National Association of Blind Piano Technicians, was formed. The new officers are Don Mitchell, President; Richard Bennett, First Vice President; Ron Poorey, Second Vice President; Al Sanchez, Secretary; and Connie Ryan, Treasurer.

Music Tapes by Daniel Lamonds Available:

Those interested in purchasing recordings by the performer who was the hit of NFB Camp this year will be interested in the following information. Three tapes of Mr. Lamonds's original songs are currently available: "Cookies and Milk" (preschool through fourth grade); "Cookies and Milk Movement and Activity Bus" (ideal for elementary students); and "Out of a Dream" (country music). A tape of religious music will also soon be available. Mr. Lamonds's personal favorite is the movement and activity tape.

Ordered individually, each tape costs $10. Two tapes are $15, and three tapes (three copies of one tape or mixed in any combination) are $20. Add $3.50 handling to the cost of one or two tapes, $5 handling for three tapes. To order, make checks payable to Blind Ambition, Inc., and send to P.O. Box 692, Darlington, South Carolina 29540. For more information contact Mr. Lamonds at (843) 393-2004, office/Fax (843) 393-3426, e-mail <Dansing4u@aol.com>.

NFB Literature in Spanish Now Available on Cassette:

Two Distinguished Service Awards were presented this year to Federationists who have been working to translate and record NFB literature in Spanish. Here is the current list of Spanish language publications now available on cassette: If Blindness Comes, What Color Is the Sun?, The Freedom Bell, As the Twig Is Bent, Making Hay, "The Federation at Fifty," "The Day after Civil Rights," "Blindness: A Left-Handed Dissertation" and "a Definition of Blindness" (on the same tape), and "Blindness:

Handicap or Characteristic."

NFB Songs Old and New Available:

"NFB Songs, Old and New" is the title of the cassette tape which includes the technology lament played for convention delegates. Sligo Creek chapter members describe it as an effort to teach people some new and old songs about blindness and the National Federation of the Blind. It is a fund-raiser for the NFB of Maryland. The singers, known as the Cane Raisers, were Tom Bickford, Andrea Brandies, Deborah Brown, Terry Powers, Lloyd and Judy Rasmussen, and Gail Snider. Curtis Chong played keyboards, Tom Bickford played guitar, and Arthur Segal sang one solo.

The tapes cost $5, and checks should be made out to the NFB of Maryland. For more information or to place an order, contact Lloyd Rasmussen, 11909 Coronada Place, Kensington, Maryland 20895-2322, (303) 946-8345. Work e-mail: <Iras@loc.gov>, home e-mail: <Iras@sprynet.com>.

For Sale:

Dan Keller, who sang during the daily devotions at convention, has cassette tapes of his gospel music for sale. The tape contains ten original compositions of Scripture verse vocals with keyboard accompaniment. The tapes were professionally recorded and sell for $8. The supply he brought to convention sold out before everyone who wished to buy one had a chance to do so. A contribution from each sale will go to the NFB. For more information or to order, contact Dan Keller, 1802 N. Cedar, Nevada, Missouri 64772 (417) 667-6208.

NFB PLEDGE

I pledge to participate actively in the effort of the National Federation of the Blind to achieve equality, opportunity, and security for the blind; to support the policies and programs of the Federation; and to abide by its constitution.