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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

Current Initiatives

AFB TECH Works to Make Small Visual Displays Accessible for Everyone

Almost everywhere we turn today, we find ourselves face to face with a small screen digital display. Cell phones, microwaves, dishwashers, and most other electronic devices that we use—and, indeed, must use—every day can't rely on a few knobs for operation. Technological advancement has increased their functionality to the point where they require complex menus to make them work. Unfortunately, millions of people with vision loss around the country, from those born blind or with low vision to older people who have trouble seeing later in life, are unable to use these powerful devices—products which have become virtual necessities in the modern world. To address this critical situation, AFB TECH has launched a research project to develop a set of design standards for small screens and work with manufacturers to put them in place.

AFB TECH's work on the development of access standards for small visual displays is an important new area of exploration that is expected to yield significant outcomes over the next three years. These new standards, when developed, will apply not only to new devices, but to existing products, including those devices which have previously undergone evaluation by AFB TECH. At present, AFB TECH is the only organization focusing on this issue—and the only one which has the depth of technical knowledge that manufacturers need to make small visual displays functional for everyone.

Located in Huntington, WV, AFB TECH is fortunate to have exceptional research institutions at its doorstep. The knowledge, expertise, and technical know-how of the Marshall University College of Information Technology and Engineering, the Department of Physics and Physical Science, the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine, and the Atlanta VA Rehab R&D Center on Excellence for Aging Veterans with Vision Loss have been invaluable to AFB TECH's low vision display evaluation and research project.

Additionally, an AFB TECH Optics Lab has been established to measure the quality of small visual displays. Details and continuing progress of the Lab can be found at the AFB TECH LCD-MTF blog.

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