Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
Cell: (410) 262-1281
3,000 Blind People Arrive in Dallas
Expected to Be Largest Disability Conference This Year
Event: National Federation of the Blind Annual National Convention
Dates: July 3–8, 2010
Place: Hilton Anatole Hotel
2201 Stemmons Freeway
Dallas, Texas 75207
In 2004 the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) issued the Blind Driver Challenge, which challenged American colleges and universities to develop technology that would allow a blind person to drive. Virginia Tech’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory answered the challenge and has been hard at work since 2006. The nonvisual interface technology that has been developed, including drive grips (gloves that use tactile vibrations to indicate which way to steer), will be on display and available for demonstration in the Showroom of Innovation. The Showroom of Innovation will be open on Sunday, July 4, from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. and on Monday, July 5, from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
Mark Riccobono, executive director of the NFB Jernigan Institute, and Dr. Dennis Hong, director of Virginia Tech’s Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory, will speak to the convention assembly on Thursday, July 8, at 2:40 p.m. about the importance of the Blind Driver Challenge and the technology behind it.
Attention Technology Editors:
On Saturday, July 3, and Sunday, July 4, from 1:30 to 2:45 p.m., Jim Gashel of K-NFB Reading Technology, Inc., will demonstrate Blio. Blio, developed under renowned innovator Dr. Raymond Kurzweil's direction, is the revolutionary new e-book reading software that will make millions of e-books accessible to and usable by everyone, including the blind. Blio is designed to run on most desktops, laptops, netbooks, and tablets. In addition to presenting content in a stunning visual manner that mimics the experience of reading printed books, Blio will allow blind readers to access the content of e-books using text-to-speech technology. Blio has been widely praised as “game changing e-book technology” for all, making accessibility an industry standard and ready access to anything in print an achievable reality for the blind. And Blio will come equipped with an extensive bookstore—created in partnership with Baker & Taylor, the world’s largest publishers—meaning the day is finally near when several million books will become accessible to blind people without special conversion being required.
Attention Education Editors:
On Monday, July 5, from 5:00 to 7:00 p.m., the National Organization of Parents of Blind Children (NOPBC) will hold a Braille Book Flea Market for young book lovers. The importance of Braille in a blind child’s life cannot be overstated, as only 10 percent of blind children are learning Braille, leaving 90 percent functionally illiterate.
The market will be filled with tables of new and used Braille and print/Braille books for parents and children to browse. UPS volunteers will then ship the books to shoppers’ homes, free of charge.
Other exciting events for blind children and their parents will be held throughout the week. On Monday, July 5, from 1:00 to 4:30 p.m., NOPBC will be holding hands-on chemistry experiments for blind youth, ages eleven through eighteen.
Founded in 1983, the NOPBC is a national membership organization of parents and friends of blind children reaching out to each other to provide vital support, encouragement, and information. There are over three thousand members in all fifty states, and divisions or parent contacts in about thirty states plus Puerto Rico.
Attention Sports and Lifestyle Editors:
As part of the program of the NFB’s Sports and Recreation Division, many different sporting events will be held at the national convention. Blind people are often told they cannot participate in athletic pursuits, and the Sports and Recreation Division works to dispel that misconception with exciting activities throughout the convention.
On Saturday, July 3, from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m., convention attendees can try their hand at goal ball. And on Sunday, July 4, from 1:00 to 5:00 p.m., attendees are invited to learn how to protect themselves with a self-defense class led by Sports and Recreation Division President Lisamaria Martinez.
NOTE: The entire convention agenda is available at www.nfb.org.