VFO Acquires Ai Squared

VFO, a leading assistive technology provider for the blind and visually impaired, which has already acquired Freedom Scientific and Optelec, has now added Ai Squared to its list of assets.

“Adding the brand, product portfolio and capabilities of Ai Squared to VFO gives us the broadest portfolio in the industry, unmatched global distribution and market leading customer support,” said John Blake, CEO and President of VFO. “The combined company will offer customers the industry’s most recognized screen magnification solutions, ZoomText and MAGic, and screen reading solutions, JAWS, ZoomText Fusion and Window-Eyes, next to the broad portfolio of video magnifiers, scan and read solutions, and refreshable Braille displays.”

There is no word yet on whether Ai Squared will keep its name and contact information, or be absorbed into another VFO company.

San Antonio Art Museum Multisensory Tours


The San Antonio Art Museum (SAMA) provides a free multisensory tour of selected items from their collection on the first Saturday of every month at 10 a.m. The items on each tour are united by a theme. Using descriptive language, scents, touchable props, and music, the docents provide an experience of art that is truly accessible to all. Currently, SAMA offers seven different multisensory tours. Previous tours have included: Life, Death and the Afterlife; 19th and 20th century art in Europe and the Americas; Sculpture; and Asian Lands. Reservations are required for the tour. Call 210-978-8138 or email tours@samuseum.org.

Multisensory Tours
Dates: First Saturday of each month
Time: 10 AM
Location: San Antonio Art Museum, 200 West Jones Avenue
San Antonio, TX 78215
For more information visit: www.samuseum.org or call (210) 978-8138

Be My Eyes App for iOS

Would it be helpful to have someone read the expiration date on your carton of milk? Be My Eyes can assist you with that.


Created by Hans Jørgen Wiberg, a visually impaired staff member of the Danish Association for the Blind, Be My Eyes is a free app available for iPhone that allows sighted volunteers to assist visually impaired users with daily tasks using a direct video call. The Be My Eyes app was launched in January 2015 and already has 10 times the number of volunteers as visually impaired users.

To watch Hans Jørgen Wiberg’s TED Talk on Be My Eyes visit:https://youtu.be/IfeLJxCSLC0

To download the app, click on the following link: http://www.bemyeyes.org/

Mention of a product or service in this blog does not constitute endorsement by this library. Our intention is to increase an awareness of programs and items that may be helpful to our patrons.

Disability Survey from Vanderbilt University–Participants Wanted

Researchers at Vanderbilt University are conducting a survey of individuals with disabilities to learn more about disability identity development.

If you are at least 18 years of age, live in the United States, and have a disability, you are eligible to participate in the study. The questionnaire takes approximately 45 minutes to complete. If you choose to provide contact information, you will receive a $5 Amazon gift card; otherwise, you can remain anonymous.

For more information, click here: http://ucp.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/Stamped-RECRUITMENTFLYER.pdf

For a screen reader friendly version of the survey, click here: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/screenrdr?DIDS=[DIDS_value

Low Vision Events in Houston in July 2016

There will be two low vision events in Houston in July 2016:

Low Vision Education Day

Friday, July 8th, from 9 a.m.-noon.

Center for Visual Rehabilitation, Raye and Ed White Conference Center, at 6400 Fannin St, 19th Floor.

This expo will include sessions and a vendor area to learn about products and services for the low vision community. The event is free. The program will not begin until 9 a.m., so individuals who arrive early will be asked to wait downstairs.

Please RSVP by e-mail to lowvision@cizikeye.org or call 713-559-5269.

Houston Area Insight Expo

Saturday, July 30th, 9 a.m. – 2 p.m.

Health and Biomedical Sciences Building at the University of Houston main campus, 4811 Calhoun Road, Entrance 2A

The fifth annual Houston Area Insight Expo was originally scheduled for April 30th, but had to be canceled at the last minute due to historic flooding in Houston and surrounding areas. The expo will also feature workshops and a vendor area for attendees to learn about community resources. In addition, breakfast will be provided. Attendees who registered for the first event do not need to re-register. The cost is $5 for individuals who register before July 15th, and $10 for those register after July 15th.

Please go to the HAVIN (Houston Area Visually Impaired Network) Facebook page for the registration link and media release form: https://www.facebook.com/havintx/?fref=ts

NLS Testimonial Videos Available Online

NLS has produced three short testimonial videos featuring patrons of the Braille and talking book program. These videos are posted on the Library of Congress YouTube channel. Links with a short description of each video are below.

NLS Braille and Talking Books and Magazines
NLS patrons speak about the benefits of receiving free braille and talking books, magazines, and music materials in the mail: the freedom to read their way. (1:50)

NLS BARD and BARD Mobile
Patrons speak about the benefits of downloading free braille and talking books, magazines, and music materials through the NLS Braille and Audio Reading Download (BARD) and BARD Mobile. (1:55)

NLS Music Materials
Patrons speak about the benefits of receiving free audio, braille, and large-print music scores, texts, and other instructional materials and recordings in the mail or downloading them through BARD. (2:26)

Bill Gates’ 2016 Summer Reading List

Bill Gates, founder of Microsoft, has just announced his summer reading list for 2016. The Texas Talking Book Program has the majority of the list in our collection. Although many of his selections deal with math and science, Mr. Gates emphatically states that he chose books that made him think and kept him up at night reading instead of sleeping. He explains that he only chose ones that he genuinely loved.

For more information directly from Bill Gates himself, click on the video below.

In TBP’s collection:


A catastrophic event forces humanity to band together to survive, though only a handful succeed and flee Earth. Five thousand years later, their descendants number three billion and comprise seven distinct races. They embark on a journey into the unknown, to an alien world–Earth. Some strong language. Bestseller. 2015.
DB 83040


A discussion of the development of human culture and history, from the emergence of the first species of the genus Homo over 2 million years ago to the twenty-first century. Examines progress from the standpoints of biology, anthropology, paleontology, and economics. Translated from the 2011 Hebrew edition. Bestseller. 2015.
DB 81335

Author: ELLENBERG, JORDAN, 1971-

Mathematician–and former child prodigy–reveals the mathematical patterns and principles that underlie everyday life. Ellenberg argues that math is an extension of common sense and can be learned by paying attention to aspects of the world around us–including electoral politics, the stock market, and grocery shopping. Unrated. Commercial audiobook. Bestseller. 2014.
DB 79914

Author: LANE, NICK, 1967-

Biochemist theorizes the emergence of morphologically complex life two billion years ago, two billion years after simple bacterial life arose. Discusses the basis for the question he is trying to answer, and presents evidence for his hypotheses, including cellular morphology and biochemistry, genetic divergence–including sex–and a 2010 discovery. 2015.
BR 21297; DB 83289


Please join us on Thursday, July 21 at 7 pm (Central Time) for our Book Club discussion of THE ROSIE PROJECT, by Graeme C. Simsion (DB 78150).

Our Book Club meetings are hosted via toll free conference call.  All you need to participate is a telephone!

To RSVP, call the Talking Book Program at 1-800-252-9605, or email us at tbp.ral@tsl.texas.gov.  RSVP preferred by July 1.

THE ROSIE PROJECT is available by mail on digital cartridge.  It is also available for download on BARD.

Please indicate if you would like us to mail you the digital cartridge, or if you prefer to download the book.


Graeme C. Simsion

DB 78150

Socially stunted geneticist Don Tillman embarks on an endeavor he calls the Wife Project.  As he quantifies the qualities of a perfect wife, he encounters Rosie, who seeks Don’s help in identifying her real father.  Some strong language and some descriptions of sex.  Bestseller.  2013.

We’re looking forward to having you join us on July 21!