Heartland Chapter of the American Council of the Blind of Indiana
Meeting minutes submitted by Sandy Adams, Secretary
Virtual meeting via Zoom on August 15, 2022
Present: Ted Boardman, Bill Fierman, Mary Stores, Sandy Adams, Mike Adams, Elli Kollbaum, Marilyn Kittredge, Barbara Salisbury, Rhett Salisbury, Kathy Tappero, Paul Tappero, and Sherry Wells.
Meeting began at 7:04 PM on Zoom and also streaming on Facebook page for Heartland chapter. This evening Ocular Visual Aids and Technology Advances will be discussed by Dr. Elli Kolbaum. Elli mentioned that the Conference Room at the IU Optometry School may be used for future meetings. The Conference Room is large with a large table and can provide seating for 15 people socially distanced. This is on the second floor in the Clinic Building. Capacity is 30 if not social distancing. Could do Zoom as well for hybrid experience.
Ted reached out to the IU Art Museum to see if they have live described tours of the museum. This program is not fully up yet but we may tour with docents to give them feedback on their descriptions. Hours available are 1 pm, 2 pm, 3 pm on Sept 7 (Wednesday), 14 (Wednesday), 22 (Thursday) and 29 (Thursday).
Another social opportunity is the First Thursday Arts Festival which is outdoors and sometimes indoors depending on the weather. The road between the IU Auditorium and IU Memorial Student Union on the campus is closed for this event. Booths, bands, singers, instrumentalists and food trucks are part of this event. It runs from mid afternoon to early evening.
Dates of our future meetings in October and December were in the email sent to all chapter members. There is also the state convention in November. Ted is working on getting a speaker for the next chapter meeting regarding employment opportunities locally and remotely for the blind.
Dr. Elli Kollbaum of the IU School of Optometry is over the Low Vision Center. She has been with the IU School of Optometry for 22 years. The Low Vision Center helps people find resources to aid their low vision and blindness.
Visual devices available include lamps with LEDs to provide better lighting. CCTV or video Magnifiers. Range from cell phone size to mid size such as tablet size on a stand, some are foldable.
Tablet video Magnifier can switch over to visual apps.
CCTV Large flat screen with high definition and text to speech, or head mounted types of video magnifiers may cost up to $4000. Midsize range is $3000, about 10 inch diagonal screen and OCR (optical character recognition) capability or 12 inch screen without OCR.
Two head mounted video amplifiers are IRIS Vision and Patriot Viewpoint. These are giant goggles similar to those used for virtual reality and are heavy, about one pound on the front of the face, straps go around head and on top of head. Cost is around $3000.
Onyx 2 by Ox Site is about $1800. Similar to virtual reality goggles. Cannot walk around with it. Has a neck strap like binoculars so it can be put in front of your eyes when you need it. It is set up for stationary situations. Camera has lower resolution so may not work for text.
Virtual Reality out of cardboard boxes which are 3 x 5 and 2 inches deep. Can be purchased through Amazon for $20. Holes cut in the box with lenses focused to back of box. You lay your phone in the box and close the flaps with velcro to hold phone in place. Can watch You tube on your phone using this device. Requires an app called Super Vision to convert this box to a head mounted CCTV. Good for distant viewing.
For nonvisual individuals there is OR Cam My Eye Pro which can convert text to speech and is about $4500. Size of cigarette lighter. Magnets in it attach to magnets that can be tied with cable ties to the side of glasses, then the camera will capture text and do conversion to speech. Recognizes bar codes, can identify currency, tracks time for you.
OR Cam Read is a product that is pen sized and not worn by the user. It is about $1990. It can scan a page, bar codes and identify currency.
There are apps for visual impairment such as Seeing Eye AI (Microsoft), IRA, Super Vision and Be My Eyes. These apps are very useful and underutilized.
Question – How can you try out products?
Answer – Individuals can go to Elli’s office for an office visit to get direction on appropriate devices for your specific vision loss. Some products are available for you to try. Also there are vendors in the Indianapolis area which are the Low Vision Store in Greenwood and Eye Can See in Carmel who will come to your home with products. Eye Can See will be at the Indiana-Ohio ACB Convention in November.
INDATA through Crossroads has assistive technology to loan but devices are getting out of date.
Blind Shell Phone has tactile buttons which are raised and separated, and screen. There is a flashlight on the end. Also SOS button on the back so can be connected to the individual whom you have identified for that purpose.
Pen Friend has a new competitor called Way Around. This has 26 tags for $25 which are reusable. Can get magnets for front and back of clothing for identification. Also sew on tags available. Can get a sampler pack for $13.
Accessible Pharmacy.Com includes script talk and braille labels. Way Around clients do their own labeling.
Programs in the community called Stepping On provides education on fall prevention including foot wear, balance, exercise, vision and lighting. This is done through IU Health Bloomington Hospital community outreach programs.
Barbara gave an update for the State ACB convention in November which will be in Bloomington on November 11-13, 2022. It will be at the Hilton Garden on the square. Dr. Elli Kolbaum will be one of the speakers, as well as Dr. Sharon Hansen from IU School of Optometry to talk about autonomous vehicles. Dr. Georgia Fry from IU will talk about exercise and wellness for people with disabilities. Her students will do activities with attendees including a walk around the square to get moving and also provide orientation to the square and businesses/restaurants there. A session will be provided on Able Accounts to explain working and ability to keep disability benefits. Two certified instructors from the Institute on Disability and Community will also present a session. Another session will be an ADA Update by Amanda Bagwell a blind attorney of FSSA with Indiana.
Vendors will be there and those providing sponsorships will have 30-minute mini sessions for one-on-one in a quiet atmosphere.
The anchor/keynote speaker is Kathy Neimer, the 2015 teacher of the year for Indiana. She will talk about her activities since that time. The banquet speaker will be Lonnie Bedwell who does adventures such as mountain climbing, fishing expeditions and white water rafting.
Registration is on the ACB Indiana website next week at ACB-Indiana.org. The $80 registration covers 4 meals as well as all sessions.
Live entertainment for Friday evening after the opening session will be Sharlee Davis and Will Devitt. Sharlee is a member of the Heartland chapter.
There may be some sessions on Zoom which will require registration.
A silent auction online the week before the convention. Live auction on Saturday evening.
Meeting was adjourned.