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APH News: January 2018

Your monthly link to the latest information on the products, services, and training opportunities from the American Printing House for the Blind.

Exciting New APH Products Announced!

picture of three boxes:JAWS, Fusion, ZoomText

Read on to learn about these new products – now available!

Flying Through the Airport with Indoor Explorer!

Louisville International Airport is now the most navigable airport in the United States for travelers who are blind. The American Printing House for the Blind recently completed mapping the facility and installing Bluetooth beacons that interact with APH’s Nearby Explorer™ app with the new Indoor Explorer feature.

“Just to see what your options are is amazing — and liberating,” said Larry Skutchan, APH’s Director of Technology Product Research at an event celebrating the launch of the navigation system. Installed in partnership with the Louisville International Airport and the City of Louisville, the mapping and beacon installation is a part of a larger plan to make Louisville, Kentucky one of the most accessible cities in the world.

Read the full article at the Washingtom Post website:

New! JAWS® – ZoomText® – MAGic® Suite

D-11001-ED — $300.00

Quota Ordering Information
Non-Quota Ordering Information

picture of three boxes:JAWS, Fusion, ZoomText

Available to Both Quota and Non-Quota Customers!

VFO™ and APH have partnered to make three access programs for Windows® computers available to all APH customers! This expands on our previous JAWS and MAGic product. Sold exclusively by APH.

For each license purchased, customers may choose to install any combination of these programs:

  • JAWS® (Job Access With Speech) is the world’s most popular screen reader software and it features optional braille output.
  • ZoomText® Magnifier/Reader enlarges and enhances everything on your computer screen, echoes your typing and essential program activity, and automatically reads documents, web pages, email.
  • ZoomText® Fusion Home provides the best of both worlds – ZoomText, with its screen magnification and visual enhancements, coupled with the power and speed of JAWS® for screen reading functionality.
  • MAGic® Screen Magnification Software is a screen magnification and screen reading solution. Whether you are surfing the web, creating a document, emailing, or engaging in social networking, MAGic provides you the tools you need to work more efficiently.

JAWS – ZoomText – MAGic Suite Includes

  • Any combination of the above three applications, plus the combination ZoomText Fusion Home
  • Access to the latest versions with updates
  • Up to three installations on computers, with additional resets available at no charge
  • VFO phone support, training materials, and webinars

Software can be installed on all versions of Windows® 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, along with Windows Server 2008 and 2012. For more information on installation and support please see

For Customers Who Purchased the Previous "JAWS® and MAGic® Student Edition" Subscriptions

Customers with existing subscriptions to the previous JAWS and MAGic Student Edition may add ZoomText or Fusion to their subscription at no additional charge!

Please visit to download ZoomText or Fusion. After installing the software of your choice, use your existing subscription information to enable the software.

New Features! Nearby Explorer™ – iOS Versions Feature Indoor Explorer!

photo of a man with smartphone and white cane navigating independently at the airport. The TSA security checkpoint is in the background.

Nearby Explorer™ is a full-featured GPS app for iOS® and Android™ devices that empowers you to independently explore with confidence – and the iOS versions now feature Indoor Explorer! The experimental Indoor Explorer feature is included with both the paid, full Nearby Explorer iOS app and the free, lite Nearby Explorer Online iOS app. Note: the free app requires a network connection.

Nearby Explorer™ is a powerful location exploration app that uses onboard maps; it includes complete maps for the United States and Canada covering millions of points of interest (POIs). Nearby Explorer uses GPS and your phone’s compass to speak real-time information about your surroundings. It also displays maps on the screen that provide audio feedback with touch.

What’s New in iOS Version 1.18.0

The latest free update of Nearby Explorer iOS includes these new features:

  • Adds support for Ad Hoc Beacons. The Ad Hoc Beacons feature brings simple beacon functionality to everyone, as it works with most major beacon manufacturers’ default beacon settings. While the Ad Hoc Beacons feature is not as powerful as the Indoor Explorer feature, it makes setting up simple or temporary venues possible.
  • Adds the ability to control the type of prompt given for a navigation instruction. One can choose a beep, a vibration, both a beep and vibration, or neither.
  • Adds more U.S. maps from OpenStreetMap™.
  • Includes the current building level in the app title when in Indoor mode.

IOS is a trademark or registered trademark of Cisco in the U.S. and other countries and is used under license. Apple and the Apple logo are trademarks of Apple Inc., registered in the U.S. and other countries. App Store is a service mark of Apple Inc. Android, Google Places, Google Play, and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.; OpenStreetMap is a trademark of the OpenStreetMap Foundation, and is used with their permission. Nearby and Indoor Explorer are not endorsed by or affiliated with the OpenStreetMap Foundation.

New! Music Braille Code, 2015

Braille: 5-09651-01 — $189.00
Print: 7-09651-01 — $189.00

Music Braille Code, 2015, Braille Authority of North America

This is the most recent edition of the Music Braille Code from the Braille Authority of North America (BANA). It is intended to extend consistent guidance regarding music format. Where appropriate, rules and procedures have been adjusted to comply with the adoption of UEB: The Rules of Unified English Braille and of Braille Formats: Principles of Print-to-Braille Transcription.

A section about transcribing music for harps, which was not included in the 1997 BANA code, has been added. This edition also incorporates some signs that are not defined in either that work or in the New International Manual of Braille Music Notation.

APH’s Websites: We Want Your Feedback on Accessibility!

When accessing the web, are you a synthetic speech user, screen magnification user, or user of other accessible technologies? APH would like your feedback on the accessibility of our websites! If you have thoughts about the accessibility of or, please email your comments to email hidden; JavaScript is required. We appreciate your time!

APH Winter Wonderland Sale

Load up a world of savings on selected APH products with APH’s Winter Wonderland Sale 2018, January 1—March 31. As always, first come, first served.

On January 10th, Learn How You Can Create Your Own Braille at Home with BrailleBlaster™

image has a picture of a boy reading braille with his father on the left and the BrailleBlaster logo on the right. Centered across the bottom is the phrase 'Create Your Own Braille at Home!'

BrailleBlaster™ software is a revolutionary new tool and it’s not just for transcribers! APH’s advanced yet easy-to-use braille translation program is available to parents, students, and teachers – and it’s FREE! Learn more about the powerful BrailleBlaster during a Q&A day on the American Foundation for the Blind’s FamilyConnect® blog at

On Wednesday, January 10: read the FamilyConnect blog post about BrailleBlaster and send us your questions! Then on Wednesday, January 17: return to the blog to participate in a Q&A day!

For more information about BrailleBlaster, please visit For questions about BrailleBlaster or this event, please email email hidden; JavaScript is required.

Event Presented by:

Logo: American Printing House for the Blind, Inc.Logo: FamilyConnect: AFB: American Foundation for the Blind®

APH Celebrates 160 Years

Logo reads: APH 160th 1858-2018. Words are wrapped in a laurel wreath

January 23, 2018 marks APH’s 160th Anniversary, and we will be celebrating this milestone with a community-wide Open House from 10:00AM until 3:00PM. Students from the Kentucky School for the Blind will be on hand to demonstrate APH products, along with the product developers, and tours will be provide throughout the day. A morning program, which all staff and visitors will be invited to attend, will feature APH President Craig Meador, along with officials with the offices of Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, Louisville Metro Councilman Bill Hollander, and more. Local media will cover the celebration.

On that day, APH will also officially launch a National Writing Contest for students who are blind and visually impaired in grades 3-12, adult consumers, and professionals working in the field of vision. Since APH has promoted and supported literacy since its inception in 1858, we felt it appropriate that we take this opportunity to listen to you, our student and adult customers. Topics and maximum word length for the National Writing Contest vary with age groups. Cash prizes will be awarded to the first, second, and third place winners in each category.

To learn more about the National Writing Contest, or to request an entry form, please contact Nancy Lacewell at email hidden; JavaScript is required, or 502-899-2339.

Navigating ATIA a New Way! Nearby Explorer’s™ Indoor Explorer Feature at the 2018 ATIA Conference

There is a new tool available that makes orientation and mobility much more efficient and effective for blind attendees at this year’s Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA) conference held at the Caribe Royale in Orlando, January 31st to February 3rd.

Helpfully, the three main halls are already named alphabetically, so blind attendees can usually get pretty close to the sessions in which they are interested. Getting to sessions not in those three halls has always been more challenging. This year, though, blind attendees have access to a complete interactive map of the convention center and hotel lobby buildings.

The free Nearby Explorer™ Online and paid Nearby Explorer apps for iOS (Android coming soon) recently added support for indoor venues, and the Caribe Royale where the conference is held has been configured with the beacons to support the amazing new Indoor Explorer feature.

Just like with outdoor spaces, Nearby Explorer announces points of interest in your vicinity, and lets you use the compass and Geobeam to help you orient to other areas within the building. You can also use the map to familiarize yourself before you arrive.

Here is how it works:

Once you start the Nearby Explorer app, it downloads the map for the state in which you are located or virtually located. Then, when it detects a beacon represented in the map, the app looks up the location of that beacon and gives you all the benefits of using the app in outdoor spaces, except now, instead of names of buildings, you get room names and doorway locations.

You do not need to do anything to activate the feature—when you arrive, just start the app.

APH’s project leader, Keith Creasy, is conducting several training sessions in the APH suite. Come to the APH booth in the exhibit hall to learn time and location for demos of the app.

To look at the map now, before you arrive, follow these steps:

  1. Open Nearby Explorer or Nearby Explorer Online
    • Download the Florida maps from the OpenStreetMap Manager button in the Settings tab.
    • Activate the Search button and type "8101 World Center Dr., Orlando, FL 32821" in the text field, then activate the Search button. The app responds with all the possible matches, in this case, there is just one.
  2. Activate the result. The app responds with another menu with choices about what you want to do with this location.
  3. Select Virtual Go To from the menu. The app responds by returning to the Home screen with your location now set to the Caribe Royale in Orlando.
  4. Activate the Search button again to show places nearby.
  5. Select one of the results and pick Add to Favorite from the menu. The next time you wish to look here, select the Favorites button from the bottom of the Home screen then pick this location.
  6. Now, select OpenStreetMap from the bottom of the search provider. A whole new list of search results appears with POIs from OpenStreetMap. These are all still outdoor locations.
  7. To see the indoor locations, activate the Level Up button. (It looks like an escalator with an upward pointing arrow.) Now, the search results shown are from the ground floor of the area.
  8. Pick a location of interest and virtually go to it or save it as a favorite for later use.

Once you are virtually in the area, use the Compass feature by holding your phone up in portrait orientation as if you were taking a picture and rotate the camera (back side) in the direction of interest. Compass responds with all the rooms in that direction, nearest to furthest.

To pinpoint locations and get an idea about surrounding areas within the building, use Geobeam to point to specific areas. As you point to a room, the app vibrates, emits a beep indicating the relative distance, and announces the item to which you are pointing. As long as you keep the phone vibrating, you are pointing at it.

Combining maps, Geobeam, and Compass gives the blind attendee a much stronger sense of orientation and helps to find rooms that may not be familiar.

APH InSights Art Competition 2018 Now Open!

Picture of the Mona Lisa as rendered in simulated braille dots

APH warmly invites artists who are blind or visually impaired to submit artwork for the 2018 APH InSights Art Competition and Exhibition. For 27 years, our renowned international contest has delighted the senses, provoked discussion, and most importantly, allowed artists who happen to have vision loss the opportunity to share their creative imagination with the world.

Artists may enter original artwork created in any medium, including (but not limited to) painting, drawing, printmaking, fiber, metal, and wood. This year’s deadline for student artists from preschool through high school is March 16, 2018. The deadline for adult artists is March 23, 2018.

Complete rules and entry forms are now available for download on the APH InSights Art webpage.

Winning artwork in nine categories and other selected pieces will be displayed at the APH InSights Art Exhibit during APH’s 2018 Annual Meeting in Louisville, October 4-6, 2018.

We look forward to your participation in our competition. For more information, please e-mail email hidden; JavaScript is required, or call Rob Guillen at 502-899-2242.

STEM Corner

Announcing two new explainer videos for the Protein Synthesis Kit – a STEM product that was released in the spring of 2017!

The videos provide information about the components of the Protein Synthesis Kit and how it integrates with the DNA-RNA Kit, an APH product that has been available since 2013. These videos have been published on the APH YouTube channel at the following links:

Go Swimming!

A girl swims a butterfly stroke

Beat the freezing temperatures and head to an indoor pool with a tropical-like environment. Here is the second of three videos in a series on teaching sports to individuals with visual impairments. Strap on your goggles and enjoy SWIMMING.

Swimming Coaching VI

2018 Hall of Fame Nominations Now Being Accepted

Photo of a display of inductees in the Hall of Fame Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field

Who should be the next inductees into the Hall of Fame for the Blindness Field?

If you are interested in learning more about the easy (electronic) process for submitting a nominee to join the 60 inductees, please visit:

The nomination process will close Saturday, March 31, 2018.

Visit the Hall of Fame Website

APH Welcomes New Ex Officio Trustees

  • Vicki DePountis, Texas Education Agency
  • Dawn Soto, Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction
  • Tanya (Hilligoss) Armstrong, Nebraska State Department of Education
  • Audrey Graves, Nebraska Center for the Education of Children Who Are Blind Or Visually Impaired
  • Deborah Pappas, Dallas Lighthouse for the Blind
  • Keith Roderick, Missouri Family Support Division
  • Kay Ratzlaff, Florida State Department of Education
  • Stephanie Gregson, California Department of Education
  • Jerry A. Rea, Glenwood Resource Center in Iowa
  • Roxanne Balfour, Michigan State Department of Education
  • Adrian Amandi, California School for the Blind
  • Robin Acord, Mississippi School for the Blind & Mississippi State Department of Education

Here’s a handy link to the full directory of Ex Officio Trustees.

Treasures From the APH Libraries

Bourne, Ansel. A Narrative of the Wonderful Facts in the Case of Ansel Bourne, of Westerly, Rhode Island. M. Cummings, 1858.

Blindness has often been used in religious texts as a punishment for the guilty, an opportunity for gods to show mercy, or as an illustration of a lack of spiritual insight. This 1858 pamphlet exemplifies those concepts, while giving an insight into United States culture during the year that APH was founded. Ansel Bourne was suffering though a ten-year period of atheism, described as a “deistic fatalism in the secret chambers of his cloud-covered soul.” According to this account, Bourne’s vision, hearing, and speech were taken away from him immediately following his statement that he would rather live without them than attend church. After 26 hours of reflection upon his spirituality, his sight returned. This allowed him to attend church meetings where his hearing and speech were returned at the pulpit. The timing proved to Bourne that this was orchestrated by God, aside from Bourne having suffered exhaustion, headaches, cold chills and spasms, fits, and delirium for years. Included after the narrative is a detailed rebuttal to a physician who stated that the recovery “was not sudden nor unexpected.” The pamphlet has been digitized for Internet Archive at

Kendrick, Baynard. Blind Man’s Bluff. Little, Brown and Co., 1943.

cover of the book 'Blind Man's Bluff' is a drawing of a man in a suit with a dog guide examining a corpse
the cover of the 'Armed Services Edition' explains that it is intended '...for the armed forces' and is NOT FOR SALE

Baynard Kendrick wrote whodunit novels featuring a blind detective named Duncan MacLain. The archetype of the blind detective is thought to have begun with Ernest Bramah’s character “Max Carrados” in 1913, and continues 100 years later with Bruce Alexander’s “Sir John Fielding” mysteries. Kendrick was an American who volunteered to fight with the Canadian Armed Forces in the first world war. While visiting a wounded comrade in St. Dunstan’s Home in London, Kendrick was taken aback by a blinded veteran who was able to completely deduce Kendrick’s service history just by feeling all of the insignia on his uniform.

The impression that soldier made resulted in Kendrick’s blind detective character, Captain Duncan Maclain. Maclain had two dogs, Schnucke and Dreist, who were named in real life by Jack Humphries of the Seeing Eye Home. Maclain starred in 14 novels, and inspired several radio dramas and movies. Kendrick went on to work with veterans who were blinded in the second world war, which inspired him to write his later novel, “Lights Out.” The Migel Library holds several of Kendrick’s works, including both a first edition of his popular Maclain Mystery “Blind Man’s Bluff,” and a military-issued WWII Armed Services edition.

APH is working with the Internet Archive to digitize portions of the M.C. Migel Library. Search the phrase “full text” to find these items at The digitized texts are available in a variety of formats, including DAISY, Kindle, EPUB, PDF, etc.

Contact Library staff: email hidden; JavaScript is required, 800-223-1839, ext. 705

Social Media Spotlight

logo: Fred's Head from APH--A better living blog for people who are blind or visually impaired

Fred’s Head: APH’s “Better Living” Blog

Have you checked out our "Fred’s Head from APH" blog recently? We post articles on many topics of interest to folks of all ages who are blind and visually impaired. Some recent posts include:
APH Awards Its Highest Honor to a Deserving Member of the Field; Braille: A Foundation for the Future; and Your Wish List for Accessible Cities.

We highlight new blog posts on Facebook and Twitter, and on the Fred’s Head homepage,, you can subscribe to receive blog updates via email. In addition, we welcome YOUR articles and ideas for future Fred’s Head posts! Email suggestions or articles to email hidden; JavaScript is required or tweet @aphfortheblind, and we will do our best to implement your suggestions or include your articles!

"Like" APH at Our Facebook Page!

Facebook Logo

We invite you to visit our Facebook page and "Like" us! You can find APH at these social media sites: Twitter, Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, Instagram, and at our blog, Fred’s Head from APH.

APH Braille Book Corner

APH offers a number of recreational books in braille available with Quota funds. Each of these titles was originally transcribed and produced by APH for the National Library Service which has graciously granted permission for this offering. As usual, these titles have been added to the APH Louis Database where you can find thousands of titles produced in accessible formats.

Note: all books are produced upon receipt of orders, therefore, please allow several weeks for delivery.

Laudato Si’: On Care for Our Common Home
by Pope Francis: T-N2149-60 — $73.50
Pope Francis joins the body of the Church’s social and moral teaching with the best scientific research, providing the foundation for the ethical and spiritual itinerary that follows. Outlines: the current state of our common home, the Gospel message as seen through creation, and the human causes of the ecological crisis.

Undermajordomo Minor: A Novel
by Patrick deWitt: T-N2138-30 — $108.50
Compulsive liar Lucien "Lucy" Minor takes up a post in the castle of the mysterious and supposedly mad Baron Von Aux. There he finds new friends and dangerous secrets, and fights for the love of the beautiful Klara.

Women Artists: The Linda Nochlin Reader
by Linda Nochlin: T-N2127-80 — $325.50
Collection of essays and writings from the 1970s to the 2010s about women artists by a professor of art and art history. Includes profiles of Miriam Schapiro, Florine Stettheimer, Mary Cassatt, Deborah Kass, Cecily Brown, and Natalie Frank, among others. Discusses feminism, a woman’s place in public space, and more.

On Writing
by Charles Bukowski: T-N2147-80 — $96.50
Charles Bukowski’s stories, poems, and novels have left an enduring mark on our culture. In this collection of correspondence–letters to publishers, editors, friends, and fellow writers–the writer shares his insights on the art of creation.

The Way Around: Finding my Mother and Myself Among the Yanomami
by David Good: T-N2147-90 — $140.00
Rooted in two vastly different cultures, a young man struggles to understand himself, find his place in the world, and reconnect with his mother and her remote tribe in the deepest jungles of the Amazon rainforest in this powerful memoir that combines adventure, history, and anthropology. Some Adult Content.

*Accelerated Reader quiz number, book level, and point value. For more information on the Accelerated Reader program, see the January 2006 APH News or

Quick Tips that Highlight Our Connectedness with You

Quick Tips Corner logo features a post with two street signs
APH Quick Tips logo: Short videos from APH

Happy birthday to us! APH has been around for 160 years! Through the decades, we’ve found myriad ways to establish connections and, in so doing, provide information, products and services to the blindness field. Take a look!

For more Quick Tips go to to, and don’t forget to share your Quick Tip ideas with Kerry at email hidden; JavaScript is required!

APH Travel Calendar

on the road with APH


January 30-February 3, 2018
2018 ATIA Conference
Orlando, FL

February 13-16, 2018
Chicago, IL

February 28-March 3, 2018
Society for Research on Educational Effectiveness
Washington DC


January 7-10, 2018
Craig Hospital National Brain Injury Summit 2018
Vail, CO

January 9-12, 2018
Consumer Electronics Show (CES)
Las Vegas, NV

January 22, 2018
Training for LP Assessments and APH Early Childhood Products
Las Vegas, NV

January 30, 2018
Perkins Innovation Advisory Group
Watertown, MA

February 7-10, 2018
CEC 2018 National Convention & Expo
Tampa, FL

March 2-3, 2018
Texas Focus Conference
Austin, TX

March 14, 2018
Focus on Vision Impairment & Blindness 2018
Norwood, MA

March 21-23, 2018
San Diego, CA

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APH News Credits

Dr. Craig Meador
email hidden; JavaScript is required

Dorinda Rife, Vice President, Educational Services and Product Development
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Malcolm Turner, APH Website Coordinator
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Thanks to the following APH staff:

  • Cindy Amback, Support Specialist, Field Services
  • Janie Blome, Director, Field Services
  • Scott Blome, Director, Communications
  • Bob Brasher, Ex Officio Board Member, Hall of Fame Leaders and Legends of the Blindness Field
  • Paul Ferrara, Social Media Coordinator, Communications
  • Justin Gardner, Special Collections Librarian, Resource Services
  • Rob Guillen, Special Programs Coordinator, Public Relations
  • Rosanne Hoffmann, STEM Project Leader, Research
  • Kerry Isham, Field Services Representative
  • Nancy Lacewell, Director of Government and Community Affairs, Public Affairs
  • Stephanie Lancaster, Graphic Designer, Communications
  • Drew Lueken, Support Specialist, Communications
  • Tristan Pierce, Multiple Disabilities/Physical Education Project Leader, Research
  • Mary Robinson, Assistant, Field Services
  • Larry Skutchan, Director, Technology Product Research

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