Other Blind Tools

As an interim measure in advance of issuing tactile-enhanced Federal Reserve notes, the BEP is providing currency readers, free of charge, to eligible blind and visually impaired individuals.

Download the application to order a currency reader here.

The BEP announced its distribution plans for the U.S. Currency Reader Program in a press release issued on Thursday, July 3, 2014.

The U.S. Currency Reader Program launched in two phases:

Pilot:  From September 2 to December 31, 2014, in partnership with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, Library of Congress (NLS), the BEP conducted a four-month pilot where NLS patrons could pre-order a currency reader.  The pilot program allowed the government to test its ordering and distribution processes and gauge demand for currency readers. Approximately 12,000 NLS patrons pre-ordered a currency reader during the pilot phase.

National Rollout: Currency readers became widely available to all U.S. citizens, or persons legally residing in the U.S. who are blind or visually impaired, on January 2, 2015.  Individuals interested in receiving a currency reader through the U.S. Currency Reader Program must submit an application, signed by a competent authority who can certify eligibility. Applications, available in English and in Spanish, can be downloaded here.

Additional information about the U.S. Currency Reader Program and about the currency reader device can be found in the links below.  The BEP encourages organizations that support the blind and visually impaired community to distribute these materials, incorporate the information provided into individualized communications, or link to this website.
Find out more here at  U.S. Currency Reader Program


Reading a computer screen in Braille is a cumbersome process today. The visually impaired people who rely on the system of raised dots only have access to one line at a time. Beyond that, current systems don’t translate charts or graphs. A team of researchers from Michigan Engineering and the School of Music, Theater and Dance are working on a solution. Their technology, which has been described as a leader in the field, relies on pneumatic use of liquid or air to shrink the mechanism and expand it so it can display more at once. Their goal is for it to display the equivalent of a page of Kindle text at once. Go to:

Contact: Angela Fichera

Marketing Communications Specialist

Mechanical Engineering

(734) 647-8087

2236 GG Brown

Updated! The Unofficial Guide to Changing Braille Displays and other Adaptive Technology into UEB


As the time has come to begin transitioning to Unified English Braille (UEB) in the US, I thought it would be a good idea to briefly discuss how to change various adaptive technologies to UEB from US English braille. Many pieces of assistive technology already support the UEB code, it s simply a matter of enabling them. Below is a list of the more common devices and how to make these changes. note that stand alone braille displays such as the Focus, Smart Beetle, Brailliant BI, etc, do not have specific settings for UEB, as these devices only receive input/output from the device they are connected to. Also note that these instructions apply to the latest version of the hardware/software listed, your results may vary on older models or versions of software. It is also assumed you know how to navigate and select various options for the hardware/software listed. A comprehensive guide to each device is beyond the scope of an article. Please consult user documentation for further support as needed.

Go to Braille Display to UEB

The stats are in and once again PC leads the way on the must need technology, following right behind with iOS on a mobile device. Though Jaws still leads the way in screen reader access, other talking software is on the rise since these are free and people do like free.

Depending on your job will depend on what type of power you need in a screen reader device: For my students, they need a minimum of 2, some instances 3. It is being prepared for anything that comes one’s way is the key. Combine that with an iOS device and our students have the power they need to do anything.

Find out all the results from this survey at: Screen Reader User Survey #6 Results

Operating System
Response # of Respondents % of Respondents
Windows 2140 85.3%
Apple 171 6.8%
iOS 134 5.3%
Android 33 1.3%
Linux 26 1.0%
Nokia 4 .2%


Which of the following desktop/laptop screen readers do you commonly use?
Screen Reader # of Respondents % of Respondents
JAWS 1098 43.7%
NVDA 1040 41.4%
VoiceOver 778 30.9%
Window-Eyes-no longer used 745 29.6%
ZoomText 691 27.5%
System Access or System Access To Go 173 6.9%
ChromeVox 71 2.8%
Other 163 6.5%


Which of the following is your primary mobile platform?
Mobile Platform # of Respondents % of Respondents
Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch 1443 69.6%
Android 430 20.8%
Nokia 79 3.8%
Other 120 5.8%


Chrome book Accessibility features

Not  recommended for blind students–still too many barriers to total accessibility and speed with Chromevox

  1. Accessibility features built into Chrome OS on Chromebooks:
    1. Screen Magnification
    2. High Contrast
    3. Spoken feedback/ChromeVox


  1. ChromeVox for Google Chrome – text to speech
  2. Voice Note for Google Chrome – speech to text
  3. Ipad OS 9 features


**** to turn off ChromoVox in Google Chrome – go to paper looking icon – click tools – click extensions – and disable  *****


How to Enable Accessibility Options In Chrome OS

To enable accessibility options in Chrome OS, go to settings and search accessibility. You can also access them by going to Settings > Advanced Options > Accessibility

Chromevox Suit of Accessibility Options for Chrome

ChromeVox is a screen reader for Chrome which brings the speed, versatility, and security of Chrome to visually impaired users. Here is a video explaining the features of this extension.

How Spoken Feedback Works

From the Chrome OS help website:

  • On the sign-in screen, the user name field and password prompts are spoken. Your password is not echoed when you enter it for security reasons.
  • Once you’re signed in, the Chrome OS screenreader, ChromeVox, is activated. With ChromeVox active, you get spoken feedback for all user actions (e.g. browsing menus, opening webpages).
  • ChromeVox provides a set of keyboard commands you can use to navigate Chrome menus and webpages. You can navigate web content in a variety of ways. For example, pressing the arrow keys while holding down the Shift and Search keys moves through the elements on the current page and speaks them intelligently as they are traversed. If you’re using an external keyboard (on a Chromebook or Chromebox), the shortcut keys are Shift and Windows key


ChromeVox User Guide

ChromeVox is a screen reader for Chrome which brings the speed, versatility, and security of Chrome to visually impaired users. The following are a few resources to help you start using ChromeVox or to help you learn new features if you’re an experienced ChromeVox user.

Activating ChromeVox

ChromeVox is available as an extension for Google Chrome on Windows and Mac OS and comes built into Chrome OS to provide out of box accessibility. The information below should help you setup ChromeVox in your environment.

·Installing ChromeVox in Google Chrome on Windows and Mac OS

ChromeVox is an extension for Google Chrome and is available for one-click install via the Chrome Web store.

·Enabling ChromeVox on Chrome OS

Learn how to get up and running with ChromeVox on Chrome OS devices.

Using ChromeVox

·ChromeVox Interactive Tutorial

This tutorial is intended to be used with ChromeVox running. It’s an interactive walkthrough that introduces ChromeVox features one at a time, and enables you to try them out as you read the tutorial.

·Navigating with ChromeVox

A quick-start guide to navigating with ChromeVox.

·ChromeVox Keyboard Shortcuts

This page lists all of the ChromeVox keyboard shortcuts for your reference. ChromeVox also includes an interactive command lookup feature.

·Release Notes

Details about changes in the 1.31 ChromeVox release available on the Chrome Web Store.

ChromeVox Keyboard Shortcuts Reference

This reference a complete list of all the keyboard commands associated with ChromeVox. These commands can be referenced at any time through the command help menu. Press ChromeVox + Period and use the up and down arrow keys to navigate or begin typing the command you are looking for.

If you are using ChromeVox on Chrome OS, the ChromeVox Keys are Search + Shift. On Mac OS X, the ChromeVox keys are Control + Command and on Windows and other platforms, the ChromeVox keys are Control + Alt.

Sticky Mode

  • On Chrome OS, double-tap the Search key to enable/disable sticky mode.
  • On Mac OS, double-tap the left Command key to enable/disable sticky mode.
  • On Windows, double-tap the Insert key to enable/disable sticky mode.

Prefix Key

The Prefix Key is activated by pressing Control + Z. If the prefix is activated, the next key press will behave as if the ChromeVox keys are enabled. After that, the ChromeVox keys will go back to being off unless the Prefix Key is pressed again.

Speech Commands

  • Control = Stop speaking the current text
  • ChromeVox + Single quote = Increase pitch of speech
  • ChromeVox + Semicolon = Decrease pitch of speech
  • ChromeVox + Close Bracket = Increase rate of speech
  • ChromeVox + Open Bracket = Decrease rate of speech

Basic Navigation

  • ChromeVox + Down = Navigate Forward
  • ChromeVox + Up = Navigate backward
  • ChromeVox + Right = Navigate forward at a more detailed level
  • ChromeVox + Left = Navigate backward at a more detailed level
  • ChromeVox + Equals = Change navigation level to more detail
  • ChromeVox + Minus = Change navigation level to less detail
  • Enter = Activate current item
  • ChromeVox + Space = Force click on current item
  • ChromeVox + R = Start reading from current location

Jump Commands

ChromeVox allows you navigate through lists of similar items, such as links, headers etc. To move to a specific item on a page, press ChromeVox + either N or P. N stands for Next and P stands for Previous.


To move to the next header on the page, press ChromeVox + N then H. To move to the previous header on the page, press ChromeVox + P then H.

You can also move to a specific heading level by pressing ChromeVox + N or P then the number representing that heading level. For example, to move to the next level 2 header, press ChromeVox + N then 2.

Other items

  • Tab = Jump to next focusable item
  • Shift + Tab = Jump to previous focusable item
  • Press ChromeVox + N or ChromeVox + P and then one of the following commands:
    • A = Anchor
    • Q = Block quote
    • B = Button
    • X = Checkbox
    • C = Combobox
    • G = Graphic
    • H = Heading
    • J = Jump
    • ; = Landmark
    • F = Form Field
    • L = Link
    • O = List
    • I = List item
    • R = Radio button
    • S = Slider
    • T = Table

Table Mode

Table Mode is activated by ChromeVox + Back slash when reading a table. The following are the commands that become available only in table mode.

  • ChromeVox + Back space = Force exit table mode
  • ChromeVox + Down = Go to next table row
  • ChromeVox + Up = Go to previous table row
  • ChromeVox + Right = Go to next table column
  • ChromeVox + Left = Go to previous table column
  • ChromeVox + T then H = Announce headers of the current cell
  • ChromeVox + T then L = Announce coordinates of the current cell
  • ChromeVox + T then Open bracket = Go to beginning of table
  • ChromeVox + T then Close bracket = Go to end of table
  • ChromeVox + T then Semicolon = Go to beginning of the current row
  • ChromeVox + T then Single quote = Go to end of the current row
  • ChromeVox + T then Comma = Go to beginning of the current column
  • ChromeVox + T then Period = Go to end of the current column

Use the command help menu ChromeVox + Period to explore additional table commands.

Getting Help

  • ChromeVox + O then T = Open ChromeVox Tutorial
  • ChromeVox + Period = Show ChromeVox command help
  • Escape = Hide ChromeVox command help
  • ChromeVox + O then O = Open options page
  • ChromeVox + Forward Slash = Enable search within the page.

Browser commands

Address bar

  • Control L = Move to the address bar. From here you can type your search term in the address bar and press Enter to see results. In addition to search terms, you can type in the web address of a site, and press Enter to go to the site.

Working with tabs

  • Control + T = Open a new Tab
  • Control + W = Close a Tab
  • Control + Tab = Move through Tabs

Keyboard explorer

  • ChromeVox + O + K = Open keyboard explorer

Chrome OS Keyboard

Deactivate ChromeVox

  • ChromeVox can be activated / deactivated at any time by pressing ChromeVox + A + A











Accessibility Features on a Chromebook

posted Oct 17, 2012, 8:07 AM by Molly Schroeder

By mistake, one of my teachers found out about the Chromebook Accessibility features.  Here is the information on how to Enable Spoken Feedback.  Thanks to Scott Johnson for this information!

Enable spoken feedback

If you’re on the main sign-in screen, press Ctrl+Alt+Z to enable or disable spoken feedback. You can also adjust this option on the Settings page.

  1. If you haven’t already, sign in to your Chrome device.
  2. Click the status area in the lower-right corner, where your account picture appears.
  3. Select Settings.
  4. Click Show advanced settings at the bottom of the page.
  5. In the “Accessibility” section, select the “Enable spoken feedback” checkbox.

How spoken feedback works

  • On the sign-in screen, the user name field and password prompts are spoken. Your password is not echoed when you enter it for security reasons.
  • Once you’re signed in, the Chrome OS screenreader, ChromeVox, is activated. With ChromeVox active, you get spoken feedback for all user actions (e.g. browsing menus, opening webpages).
  • ChromeVox provides a set of keyboard commands you can use to navigate Chrome menus and webpages. You can navigate web content in a variety of ways. For example, pressing the arrow keys while holding down the Shift and Search keys moves through the elements on the current page and speaks them intelligently as they are traversed. If you’re using an external keyboard (on a Chromebook or Chromebox), the shortcut keys are Shift and Windows key.



Orientation and Mobility made easier

By Julie Adkins

If you are an independent traveler, or you like to have control over planning your route and finding places around you, I just can’t say enough good things about an app called BlindSquare.  Okay, it costs $30.00.  So, you may ask, why would I want to spend $30.00 on an app if my phone has a GPS app built in, and I can just ask Siri to give me directions wherever I want to go?  First of all, it finds many more places than your iPhone does. This is because behind the scenes it uses data that has been input by thousands of users of a very popular app called Four Square.

Secondly, the app makes it extremely easy to find places to go and things to do (these are called “Points of Interest” or POIs in GPS apps).  Everything is broken down into categories, like Food, Arts and Entertainment, Nightlife spots, Outdoors and Recreation, and Shop and Service, and then each category has a list of subcategories of things as specific as Afghan Food, or Falafel Restaurant (in Food), or Shoe Repair or ATMs (in Shop and Service).  You can just read through the list of places in each category to see what is available, or have it announce the places to you as you are walking or riding.

If you need directions, you can ask it to give you directions to your destination through the built in Maps app, Google maps, or several other popular navigation apps, such as Wav, TomTom, and Navigon. You can even order an Uber ride from right within the app.

If you are walking or riding and having BlindSquare announce Points

of Interest to you as you go, you can use a filter to narrow it down

to just the information you want to hear.  The example they give is

that you want to go shopping for clothes, but you don’t know which shops you want to visit.

You would ask BlindSquare to only tell you places in the Shop and

Service category as you are walking through the city (and of course then you could even narrow it down to one of the subcategories if you wish, like clothing store).  Or maybe have it only look for Food if you are looking for restaurants.  And, of course, you could just search for a specific place if you know exactly where you want to go, or have it search within a specific distance.  Easily save places to your Favorites so you can find them again quickly.  You can even

simulate a trip from a certain spot so you can find out in advance what will be around you when you go somewhere, preplan your routes for when you will be there, and so on.

You can ask Blind Square to tell you what points of interest

(including intersections) are around you within a certain radius, and you get to

choose the radius.  It even has a feature called Look Around that allows you to point your phone in a direction and find out what is located in that particular direction (again, you get to choose the distance).  Just shake the phone to exit this Look Around mode.  When you are walking, you can also just shake the phone to find out where you are.  You can even leave your ears open to listen to traffic and

other sounds in the environment by using bone conducting head phones. No, I didn’t realize there was such a thing, either.  Apparently they have been in use by walkers and joggers for quite some time.  There is a link within the BlindSquare app to find them on Amazon.  It appears they range from about $50 to $150, depending on their features, such as battery life and sound quality.  I would imagine you would want to be sure they are wireless (Bluetooth).

If you want to read about all the features Blindsquare has to offer

(yes, there are more!), you can find the help file on the internet at  Also check out this YouTube video of a blind person walking around by herself in a mall to see how it can work indoors with devices called iBeacons that transmit information about the person’s location as he or she walks by:  No, sorry, these iBeacons are not set up in your local mall. But this shows what is possible for independent travel in the future.  The video has dialogue in another language, so if you use a screen reader, be sure it is set to read captions.  There are other videos about BlindSquare on YouTube-just be sure they are in English.

If you want to try BlindSquare out without buying it, they have a demo version called Blindsquare Event that is free. You can’t use it to get around in your environment (it is not going to connect to any GPS apps), but it lets you try out its other features as if you are located in places like Times Square in New York or Big Ben in London. When the app opens, choose the option for Demo, and then choose the simulated location you want to explore.


Julie Adkins

Assistive Technology Trainer, pub-3447701155434117, DIRECT, f08c47fec0942fa0
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