Blindness Briefs – Edition 74

What's Inside

  • Microsoft to use ChatGPT to provide tech support for blind customers.
  • A pair of new mobility technologies announced.
  • First blind person to graduate from US Naval Academy.
  • Accessibility barriers remain on government web sites.
  • How do blind people watch movies?
  • Orchestra of all blind musicians to play concert.
  • Another action packed sports section.
  • And, about 65 more articles about blind people and blindness from all over the world.

Editorial By Chris Hofstader

Those of you who have followed my blogs in the years before we created World Blind Herald would know that one of the issues I would often lament is the lack of innovation in technology and blindness. This is the 75th consecutive week we've published Blindness Briefs and I'm willing to venture a wager that we've included at least 20 stories in the technology section describing some form of high tech cane replacement announced by some lab at some university somewhere on Earth. I spend a lot of time talking to and working with other blind people. We often discuss ideas for technologies we'd like to see researched and developed and literally no blind person I know ever suggests some new form of replacement for a low tech white cane or guide dog.

This is an example of technologies being developed for disabled people rather than with disabled people. If few blind people want a high tech cane, these research projects must not be informed by blind people. I must say that I wonder who makes the funding decisions as these cane replacements seem pretty complicated and must be somewhat costly to develop but, as there are so many of such projects happening, I can only wonder if the researchers have google and do a search to see if others, in this case many others, are already working on their idea and perhaps try doing something novel instead. There are a lot of technology initiatives that are not happening while superfluous reinvention of cane replacements seem to go on all over the world.

I don't see NFB or other advocacy organizations publishing a list of research priorities and it seems that this is an area that needs some leadership.

How It's Organized

WBH Weekly Blind News Digest is a very simple page to read. The categories are at heading level 2 and the stories are links at heading level 3. So, navigation to the sections and stories you find interesting is quite simple.


Classic Adventist Book Released in Braille System

The work is the result of the efforts of the Adventist Possibilities Ministries (APM) and should benefit blind people who know the system.. This story comes to us from: Adventist News Network.

2 Medina diners add menus in braille for blind customers

A young Medina man, who was been blind since birth, can now order a meal at several restaurants in the area, with the addition of braille menus. This story comes to us from: Orleans Hub.

Braille Games builds community for kids with visual impairments

Kids from around the Milwaukee area who are blind or visually impaired got a chance to improve their braille skills at the Milwaukee Public Museum. This story comes to us from: Spectrum News.


Microsoft To Use ChatGPT To Provide Virtual Technical Support To Blind Customers

Microsoft has discussed its innovative use of generative Ai tool ChatGPT to provide technical support to blind customers. This story comes to us from: Forbes.

Suitcase uses artificial intelligence to guide blind people safely in Japan

A survey by the Japanese Ophthalmological Society shows that the total number of blind people in Japan has reached about 1.64 million. This story comes to us from: Sky News.

LogOn: Vibrations Lead the Way for the Blind and Visually Impaired

Blind and visually impaired people often rely on walking sticks and guide dogs to help them navigate streets and sidewalks, but one Japanese startup is bringing navigation technology directly to their shoes. This story comes to us from: VOA News.

More Pathfinder books are now up at

Maurice Peret, from Baltimore, tells the Militant he has just finished reading The Low Point of Labor Resistance Is Behind Us in Braille with a file downloaded from Bookshare. This story comes to us from: The Militant.

[Seeing things differently – Belfast mum to launch VR vision impairment simulator in the US][

A ground-breaking virtual reality vision impairment simulator … each other to improve the lives of people with visual impairment or blindness. This story comes to us from: Irish News.

Filipa Rocha named finalist for the 2023 Young Inventors Award

Filipa Rocha, PhD student at the Faculty of Sciences of the University of Lisbon and teaching assistant at Instituto Superior Técnico (Técnico Lisboa) in Portugal, has developed a system that uses tangible blocks to promote inclusive digital learning for visually impaired children. This story comes to us from: EurekAlert.

New to Being Blind: How Lenovo's Accessibility Features Help Overcome Vision Loss

“I have blind spots that my brain fills in,” he says. “Unfortunately, it doesn't fill them in with what's actually there. This story comes to us from: CSRwire.

Blindness Organizations

Blind TV presenter Amar Latif is named new chief of ramblers' society

Affectionately known as the Blind Adventurer, he is not only a successful entrepreneur and trailblazer – he has also been named president of the Ramblers Association. This story comes to us from: The Mirror.

Orbis International provides eye care training for health workers in Can Tho

Orbis's medical experts provide optical treatment for a patient on board the … causes of blindness and visual impairment in their communities. This story comes to us from: Vietnam Plus.

HGAR Honored by VISIONS Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired

The Hudson Gateway REALTOR® Foundation, the charitable arm of HGAR, was honored by VISIONS/Services for the Blind & Visually Impaired at their Annual Awards event held at the Pelham Bay/Split Rock Golf Course in the Bronx. This story comes to us from: RISMedia.

American Printing House for the Blind's $55M project

The American Printing House broke ground on a $55 million expansion Called the "Dot Experience," a new, highly inclusive premanent (sic) museum dedicated to the contributions of people who are blind. This story comes to us from: Spectrum News.

Library for the Blind launches summer reading program

Summer reading is back at the Oklahoma Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. After a pandemic-related break. This story comes to us from:

Udupi: Kasturba Hospital holds workshop for govt CHC workers on eye, related diseases

Kasturba Medical College and Hospital Manipal in association with District Health and Family Welfare department Udupi and District Blindness Control Society Udupi district organized a day-long workshop for government community health officers who working in health and wellness centres. This story comes to us from: Daijiworld.


For blind Naval Academy midshipman, an outlook on graduation unlike any other

So, I’m going to be going blind this semester,’” Destarac recalled writing as he relaxed with his parents at City Dock during Commissioning Week and reflected on a yearlong roller coaster of diagnostic testing, tough decisions and unprecedented perseverance. Although Destarac, 23, is not being commissioned to serve in the U.S. military, given long-standing policies disallowing blind Americans, he will receive his degree and become, as far as he knows, the academy’s first blind graduate. This story comes to us from: Capital Gazette.

Philippine National School for the Deaf and Blind in Pasay recognized as important cultural property

The National Museum of the Philippines recognized the Philippine National School for the Deaf (PNSD) and Blind (PNSB) in Pasay City as important cultural property in a ceremony on Friday, May 19. This story comes to us from: The Manila Bulletin.

We Live at the Mercy of Snakes — School for the Blind, Deaf and Dumb Tells Soludo

students of Basden Memorial Special Education Centre (School for the Blind, Deaf and Dumb) in Isulo, Orumba South Local Government Area of Anambra State has called on Governor Chukwuma Soludo to provide the school with electricity. This story comes to us from:

Maharashtra: Blind girl students shrug off personal struggles to successfully clear HSC exams 2023

NFBM, which was established in 1977, to improve the lives of visually impaired persons (VIPs), saw its second batch, comprising 10 students, appearing for the HSC board exams this year. This story comes to us from: Free Press Journal.

Blind Syrian man teaches others essential skills

These visually impaired Syrian childrenare learning how to read and write using braille. This story comes to us from: Yahoo News.

Kovai employment officer bags 518th rank in UPSC exam

Sathya was honoured by many social organisations like the National Federation of the Blind (NFB). This story comes to us from: The New Indian Express.

Blind students waiting years for textbooks

Blind and visually impaired children in Irish schools are waiting years for accessible books which is having long-term effects on their future. This story coes to us from: Irish Examiner.


Steps for Success: Hiring, Onboarding, and Retaining People Who Are Blind or Have Low Vision

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is pleased to offer the following useful toolkit for human resource professionals and hiring managers. This story comes to us from: American Foundation for the Blind.

How did COVID-19 lockdown impact employment of individuals with visual disabilities?

"In the Current Population Survey, 'vision disability' can be characterized in numerous ways that make a difference in subsequent employment estimates. This story comes to us from:

Students from Gov. Morehead School for the Blind become certified baristas

Seniors are finishing up a career training program just before graduation. This story comes to us from: CBS 17.

Navigating work as a blind person

People with sight loss encounter misconceptions of their ability, inaccessible recruitment practices, and insufficient workplace support. This story comes to us from: Financial Times.


Record breaking race car driver to give talk in Bury next month

He has been called the Fastest Blind Man on Earth and has driven a race car at 200 mph. This story comes to us from: Bury Times.

Discrimination and Inaccessibility

UK's Rishi Sunak faces criticism for misusing Twitter's Alt Text feature

The approach of the government to the accessibility feature was criticised by charities representing blind people such as RNIB. World News – WION.

Accessibility Barriers Remain on Government Websites

In another case, Stephens referenced a time in which he was working with the American Council of the Blind, and had to help a Georgia resident find evacuation transportation during a hurricane because the county government posted evacuation shuttle information on a PDF file that was inaccessible by screen-reading software. This story comes to us from: Governing Magazine.

Why Pennsylvania advocates say this medical device bill's passage would be 'a major victory for blind people

The Medical Device Nonvisual Accessibility Act would make everyday healthcare tools more accessible to blind and low-vision Americans. This story comes to us from:

Man's angry rant as he accuses blind Sheffield woman of being able to see after she asks for seat on bus

Janiece Wallace has spoken about what it's really like to navigate Sheffield city centre as a blind person. This story comes to us from: Yorkshire Live.


For the blind and visually impaired, the return of rental scooters and bikes to Dallas draws groans

While Dallas gets ready to ride again, those who are blind or visually impaired are preparing to be more alert than usual. This story comes to us from: WFAA.

Fury at 'selfish' electric car owners dangling charging cables across the pavement

Unsafe charging cables were pictured in Wandsworth and Islington; Leading charities have slammed the infrastructure as 'ludicrous' and 'unsafe'. This story comes to us from: This is Money.


Partially deaf, blind man likely unaware he was getting robbed before he was fatally shot

Feliciano Velez's family said they believe the South L.A. incident was a robbery gone wrong and that the victim likely didn't understand what the suspect wanted or was doing due to his visual and hearing impairment. This story comes to us from: ABC7.

Young alcoholic attacked partially blind grandfather with flurry of punches

A young woman from Cornwall attacked her partially blind grandfather in a fit of rage after he took her in following a row with her mum. This story comes to us from: Cornwall Live.

Chinese eye surgeon stabbed by patient 3 years ago is back at work, ready to 'rid world of blindness'

After overcoming the challenges stabbing injuries brought, his scientific research is benefiting eye patients across China. This story comes to us from: The South China Morning Post.

Blind man got Driving License in Bihar! Divyang is also taking pension amount, know the whole story

A strange story of forgery has come to the fore in Rampur village of Kesath block of Buxar district of Bihar. This story comes to us from: Weekly Blitz.

Guide Dogs

Uber driver refuses to transport blind man & guide dog

Hanif Kruger was denied transportation because he had a guide dog, but was charged for the ride. This story comes to us from: YouTube.


Bella Luna class action alleges website does not provide equal access to blind, visually impaired

It claims the website violates the Americans with Disabilities Act, New York Human Rights Law and New York Civil Rights Law. This story comes to us from: Top Class Actions.

People with sight loss confused by 'disjointed' system

People with sight loss in the UK are confused by a “disjointed” certification and registration system that “creates a barrier” for people trying to access support, benefits and rehabilitation, a new academic study has reported. This story comes to us from: EurekAlert.

Blind Low Vision NZ appealing decision to reinstate unvaccinated worker Sue Thoms

A legally blind woman who loved helping others who had lost their sight was devastated to lose the job she had done for more than 32 years. Sue Thoms was dismissed from her role with Blind Low Vision New Zealand after refusing to be vaccinated against Covid-19. She has now been reinstated and awarded $25,000 compensation for the hurt and humiliation suffered. This story comes to us from: NZ Herald.

Personal Finance and Investing


David Clarke: Why sight loss is not something that should be feared

"Is that man blind?" I overheard a child ask his mother … As a blind person I wasn't offended – which is what the mother was trying to avoid. This story comes to us from: InsideTheGames.

How Do Blind People Watch Movies?

Blind people enjoy watching movies at the cinema just like everyone else; but since they’re visually impaired, they mostly rely on audio descriptions to understand crucial details they can’t see on the big screen. This story comes to us from: MakeUseOf.

Erie man, soon to be 105, helps care for his blind 80-year-old daughter

This story is told as a video.

This story comes to us from: Erie Times News.

Meet LyVette Byrd, a former counselor navigating life as a 'suddenly blind person'

So if I was born blind and my community is blind, everything is inside this blind world,” she said. “But for a suddenly blind person, they’re sitting on the side of the curb somewhere, rockin’, trying to figure out the rest of their life before they even get to that point. This story comes to us from:

Art and Artists

First-of-its-kind production starring blind woman set to debut in Greater Cincinnati

The production stars Annie Davis, who is blind and breaking the stigma of what people living with disabilities can do. This story comes to us from: WLWT.

She Sounds Like Dolly Parton": Blind Girl Sings 'Coat of Many Colours' With Sweet Voice

A female student used her sweet voice to sing 'Coat of Many Colours' by Dolly Parton.This story comes to us from:

Blind Man And Mad Man Orchestrate A Reggae Song In A Viral Video That Has Elated Netizens

The alleged blind singer is seen with a sizable radio hanging on his shoulder, wearing a (pair of) black spectacles and a walking stick; the other singer is seen in a dirty attire and and a long muss hair. This story comes to us from: Opera News.

RAMPD's Lachi Music is empowering music professionals with disabilities

As a blind recording artist, Lachi Music was intimately familiar with the music industry’s minimal representation of artists with disabilities. But becoming active in the Recording Academy and joining the organization’s New York City advocacy committee only further emphasized the urgent need for industry-wide change. This story comes to us from: Ad Age.

Orchestra featuring blind musicians to play a concert in Bradford

The Inner Visions Orchestra is playing a concert at Kala Sangam in Bradford (Image: Baluji Music Foundation)
A MUSIC tour to celebrate 15 years of changing lives through music is coming to Bradford next month. The Baluji Music Foundation is an arts charity, programming and promoting events featuring blind and partially-sighted musicians. This story comes to us from: Yahoo News UK.

Sports and Athletes

Game-changing new campaign getting blind and partially sighted people active

Launched by The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and British Blind Sport (BBS), the See Sport Differently initiative shares the real stories of blind and partially sighted people who have overcome the many hurdles that often prevent them from getting involved in sport and physical activity. This story comes to us from: Eurosport.

Blind cheerleader helps lead team to competition win

Blind cheerleader helps lead team to competition win · Cailee Herrell said she's never stopped working hard to achieve her dreams. This story comes to us from: ABC News.

Aussie Paul Szep’s award-winning cricket ball revolutionizing sports and changing people’s lives

Visually impaired Paul Szep has developed the first ever beeping cricket ball to assist vision-impaired athletes play. This story comes to us from: 7News.

Beep baseball gives the blind a chance to play game they love

The Boston Renegades, comprised of visually impaired players, are gearing up to play in the Indy Thunder Beep Baseball Bonanza next month. This story comes to us from: Boston 25 News.

Hitting bullseyes while blind: How adaptive hunting equipment is helping 2 marksmen compete

Two friends who are blind have earned a spot at the Utah Long Range Championship in Wendover next month, where they will compete against sighted shooters. This story comes to us from: KSL News.

Blind athlete determined to make Paralympic 2028 judo team

Scott Bailey, a visually impaired athlete, says he feels more accepted in society because of judo. This story comes to us from: BBC.

Calahan Young empowers blind and visually impaired athletes

During the Tokyo 2020 Paralympic Games, the Ukraine men’s national goalball team outpaced the U.S. team 4 -1 at the end of the first half. This story comes to us from: NEXTpittsburgh.

Veteran finishes the half-marathon at the Cleveland Marathon, while serving as an inspiration for blind athletes.

The speaker, Jose Centeno, wore a baby blue-toned vest featuring the word, “blind” in large black letters; underneath the vest was a collared shirt with “National Federation of the Blind,” and on top of his was U.S. Marine Corps Veteran hat. This story comes to us from:

NI man Tony running ultramarathons after being registered blind at 36

A Co Antrim man, who never dreamed he would be running ultramarathons when he was registered blind 28 years ago wants to encourage anyone. This story comes to us from: Belfast News Letter.

Five-Year Plan: LA28 Presents Unique Opportunity For New U.S. Blind Soccer Team

The stakes are growing higher now for Smith, who is coach of the U.S. blind soccer men’s national team. Blind soccer has been a Paralympic sport since 2004. But, the Americans have never fielded a team — a fact that will change in the next five years when the U.S., as the host nation, gets an automatic berth into the Paralympic Games Los Angeles 2028. This story comes to us from: Team USA.

He made it! Local blind veteran reaches top of Everest

Lonnie Bedwell lost his sight in a hunting accident several years ago. This story comes to us from: WTWO –

Bristol family carry blind boy up Ben Nevis in charity challenge

His mother Carla believes he will potentially be the first person with Norrie disease or deaf/blindness to reach the summit. This story comes to us from: BBC.

Scots woman running marathon for blindness charity forced to pull out due to unknown eye condition

Gail Burns planned to raise funds for the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) in honour of her dad. This story comes to us from: Daily Record.


Researchers find covering one eye affects hearing

A new study from Italian and German scientists found that the neural response to sounds increases when one eye is covered. This story comes to us from: Association of Optometrists.

Mihailo Toloto – The 82-Year-Old Monk Who Died Without Ever Seeing a Real Woman

Obviously, Mihailo Toloto, isn’t the only person to have never seen a woman in their entire lives. People born blind never see anything, but his story is a particular one in that he never ever came into contact with a woman, having spent his entire life among fellow monks and the occasional male visitors. Upon his death, Mihailo’s fellow monks organized a special funeral for him, believing him to be the only man in the world to have died without ever seeing, touching, or otherwise interacting with a woman. This story comes to us from: Oddity Central.