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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

American Foundation for the Blind Announces 2015 Access Award Winners

Comcast, Microsoft, MIPsoft, Odin Mobile, Joel Snyder, Ph.D., American Printing House for the Blind (APH), Orbit Research and Texas Instruments Education Technology Are Recognized

NEW YORK (February 4, 2015)—The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is proud to announce that Comcast, Microsoft, MIPsoft, Odin Mobile, Joel Snyder, Ph.D., Texas Instruments Education Technology, Orbit Research and American Printing House for the Blind (APH) will be honored with 2015 Access Awards for their commitment to innovation and access for all.

"We are thrilled to recognize the important work these organizations and individuals are doing to expand possibilities for the more than 20 million Americans with vision loss," said Carl R. Augusto, president and CEO of AFB. "They are breaking down accessibility hurdles and developing solutions that truly work. I commend them for their commitment to equality and accessibility."

Chosen annually, the Access Awards honor individuals, corporations and organizations that eliminate or substantially reduce inequities faced by people with vision loss. Previous award recipients include Apple, Inc., Google, Panasonic, IBM, AT&T and Major League Baseball. The 2015 Access Awards will be presented to the recipients on April 10 at the AFB Leadership Conference in Phoenix, AZ.

About the 2015 Access Award Recipients:

Comcast recently launched the industry’s first voice-guided TV interface, a solution that is revolutionizing the way people with visual disabilities navigate and experience TV. A new feature of Xfinity TV on the X1 Entertainment Operating System is a "talking guide," a voice that reads aloud selections like program titles, network names and time slots to let users independently explore new content and change settings for a truly immersive and customized experience.

Microsoft has made huge efforts to advance accessibility in computing by increasing access to the popular Window-Eyes screen reader and by supporting the needs of customers with disabilities through a dedicated technical support service.

MIPsoft’s Blindsquare app helps orient, guide, and educate people who are blind and visually impaired about the public points of interest and streets around them. This iOS-based app, forged from user feedback and in use in over 130 countries, combines GPS technology, speech synthesis, and open-source data to provide information to thousands of users worldwide.

Odin Mobile is the only nationwide provider of cellular service specifically targeted to individuals who are blind or visually impaired. Odin offers a combination of cell phones designed with the visually impaired user in mind and a selection of affordable voice, text and data plans.

Joel Snyder, Ph.D., an ardent advocate for audio description, has led training sessions throughout the world in the art and technique of describing television shows, movies, theater productions, as well as museum tours and other cultural activities for people with vision loss. He is the author of The Visual Made Verbal: A Comprehensive Training Manual and Guide to the History and Applications of Audio Description.

Texas Instruments Education Technology, Orbit Research and APH are receiving a joint award as a result of their collaborative effort to develop the Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator, which gives students with visual impairments access to technology that allows them to interact with math and science without relying on sight to learn.


About AFB

The American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) is a national nonprofit that expands possibilities for people with vision loss. AFB's priorities include broadening access to technology; elevating the quality of information and tools for the professionals who serve people with vision loss; and promoting independent and healthy living for people with vision loss by providing them and their families with relevant and timely resources. Headquartered in New York, AFB is proud to house the Helen Keller Archives and honor the more than 40 years that Helen Keller worked tirelessly with AFB.

About the American Foundation for the Blind Leadership Conference

The 2015 Joint AFB Leadership and Arizona AER Conference,  sponsored by JPMorgan Chase & Co., Delta Gamma Foundation, Google, IBM, Vanda Pharmaceuticals, Inc., CTIA, Actuate, Sprint, AT&T, Canon, NIB and many others, seeks to improve the quality of programs and services to blind and visually impaired children and adults. The AFB Leadership Conference provides a forum in which leadership personnel in the blindness field have the opportunity to increase their awareness of student and client needs, expand their knowledge, refine leadership skills and share concerns and strategies.


Amanda Kolling
Communications and Marketing Manager

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