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Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answ

Updated: 2017-09-24T04:40:40.360-04:00


Throwback Thursday Object: G-4 Obstacle Detector


Blind since boyhood, Thomas A. Benham earned his doctorate in electrical engineering from Penn and taught physics and math at Haverford College until he retired in 1976. In 1950, he began working under contract with the Veterans Administration to evaluate the Signal Corps Obstacle Detector, a pioneering electronic travel aid.  In 1953, Haverford subcontracted further investigations to Biophysical Instruments, Inc., whose lead investigator, Malvern Benjamin, worked with Benham to develop three different prototype obstacle detectors based upon the same principles as the Signal Corps model.  All three used reflected light to detect obstacles/objects in the direction ahead of the user.  The G-4 was an early model which apparently never made it past the prototype stage. About half the size of a box of cereal, its brown Bakelite case has two large lenses on the front, a heavy battery in its base, and an angled handle with a crystal knob on the top that would vibrate when an obstacle was detected.  The G-4 is part of the museum’s Warren Bledsoe O&M Archives.
Photo Caption:  Brown Bakelite handheld obstacle detector.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind

Quick Tip: Slapstack Math. Slapstack Math is an action and memory game that uses virtual math flash cards instead of playing cards.


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Throwback Thursday Object: Tactile Poker Chips


Have you ever seen tactile poker chips?  They have been making braille playing cards for more than a hundred years, so I guess it makes sense that you need accessible chips too.  These plastic red, white, and blue chips came in the traditional round, an octagon, and a scalloped round.  We found them on ebay, but I don’t know any other history.  Send us your stories of any tactile chips you have used. Add comments to this post or to the accompanying posts on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, or Instagram.
Micheal A. Hudson
Museum Director
American Printing House for the Blind