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APH Press Release

FCC Honors American Printing House for the Blind’s Braille Plus 18 for Innovation in Communications Technology

Louisville, Kentucky – Federal Communications Commission Chairman Tom Wheeler announced the winners of the third annual Awards for Advancement in Accessibility (Chairman’s AAA) on June 9 at a ceremony at the M-Enabling Summit in Arlington, VA.

Braille Plus 18, developed by the American Printing House for the Blind(APH), was the winner in the category for Advanced Communication Services (ACS). Larry Skutchan, APH’s Technology Project Manager, was there to accept the award. It is a portable tablet/communication device with an 18-cell braille display that is the world’s first Android device designed specifically for individuals who are blind or visually impaired. To learn more, click on Braille Plus 18 and Student-made video of Braille Plus 18.

The Chairman’s AAA honors innovators in public and private sectors who develop communications technology for people with disabilities; they are part of the FCC’s Accessibility and Innovation Initiative’s goal to facilitate ongoing exchanges among industry, assistive technology companies, app developers, government representatives, and consumers to share solutions for accessible communications technologies (A & I Initiative).

Quoted in a news release sent out by the FCC, Chairman Wheeler said “The potential of broadband-enabled technology to improve the lives of Americans living with disabilities is almost limitless – but only if that technology is accessible. I’m glad that these awards can help spark the development of new and creative technologies that furthers the important goal of making communications accessible for all Americans.”

The seven categories for the 2014 Awards were: Advanced Communication Services (ACS), Employment Opportunities, Closed Captions, Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, Mobile Web Browsers, Social Media and Video Description. For information about all the winners, visit the FCC site: Chairman’s AAA 2014.

About the American Printing House for the Blind

The American Printing House for the Blind, a 501(c) (3) non-profit organization, is the world’s largest nonprofit company devoted solely to researching, developing, and manufacturing products for people who are blind or visually impaired. Founded in 1858, it is the oldest organization of its kind in the United States. Under the 1879 federal Act to Promote the Education of the Blind, APH is the official supplier of educational materials for visually impaired students in the U.S. who are working at less than college level. APH was recently named Kentucky Mid-sized Manufacturer of the year.

APH manufactures textbooks and magazines in braille, large print, recorded, and digital formats. APH also makes hundreds of educational, recreational, and daily living products including computer software and an array of assistive technology items.

The American Printing House for the Blind, Inc. is located at 1839 Frankfort Avenue in Louisville, Kentucky. For more information, call (502) 895-2405 or log on to