Blind World Magazine

Washington Lions see blindness innovations.

News Reporter, Georgia USA.
Thursday, May 11, 2006.

There is no miraculous cure for blindness, but modern technology is increasingly providing the next best thing. Demonstrations of a variety of newly developed electronic marvels, designed to aid blind and visually impaired users, wowed the audience Monday evening, May 8, at the regular weekly meeting of the Washington Lions Club.

For instance, a "talking tape" which will provide precise measurements audibly was a perfect illustration for Lion Bobby West. A blind veteran of the Vietnam War, West makes frequent use of such a tape and other incredible aids as he operates his own woodworking business in Washington. He regularly produces attractive items of furniture and is well-known for his beautiful and reliable clocks.

As program chairman for the Lions Club, West arranged Monday's program. He aided Scott Meehan of Augusta, who presented the demonstrations as he explained the latest developments in help for the visually impaired.

Among other instruments shown by Meehan were:

A color identifier, which will call out the color of whatever object it reads.

A money identifier, which reports the denomination of all U.S. currency bills, including the newest variations.

A product label reader, which identifies most nationally-known consumer items. The label reader does not read special or localized labels, but it easily announced Jello, Campbell's soup, and Pam spray as they were randomly supplied from the Lions' kitchen.

The label reader also read a container of prescription drugs, giving all dosage and other information as it appeared on the container. Amazingly, it read the label flawlessly even though the round vial was simply placed upright on the instrument.

Meehan is president of the Augusta Hills Lions Club. He teaches mobility for handicapped persons and operates his own business devoted to helping persons with limited or no sight.

Also present as a visitor was Laura Sweeney of Washington, whom Meehan is helping to alleviate the effects of macular degeneration. Some time ago, the Washington Lions Club sponsored Sweeney for a summer visit to the Georgia Lions Camp for the Blind near Waycross.

End of article.

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