ATU463 – InsideONE with Igor Feinberg

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Your weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist people with disabilities and special needs.

Show Notes:
Find out more at: www.insidevision-us.com
Web accessibility webinar info: https://www.eastersealstech.com/a11y/
Accessible Artist Story: http://bit.ly/38WCiMG

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Igor Feinberg:
Hi, my name is Igor Feinberg. I am CEO of a company called insidevision, and we located in Massachusetts. And this is your Assistive Technology Update.

Josh Anderson:
Hello and welcome to your Assistive Technology Update, a weekly dose of information that keeps you up to date on the latest developments in the field of technology designed to assist individuals with disabilities and special needs. I’m your host, Josh Anderson with the INDATA Project at Easterseals Crossroads in beautiful Indianapolis, Indiana. Welcome to episode 463 of Assistive Technology Update. It’s scheduled to be released on April 10th, 2020.

Josh Anderson:
On today’s show, we’re excited to have Igor Feinberg on from insidevision, talking about the insideONE, which is a tablet that features not only a braille display, but also the braille keyboard etched into the glass. So a whole new way to access the device using braille. We also have a fun story out of Madison, Wisconsin, talking about a gentleman who made art with his skills, but then ended up making assistive technology for folks using those same kind of skills.

Josh Anderson:
Remember that here, at Assistive Technology Update, we always love to hear from you. There’s a few different ways to reach us. You can email us at tech@eastersealscrossroads.org. You can call our Listener Line at area code 317-721-7124, or drop us a line on Twitter @indataproject. We would love to hear your questions, your comments, your concerns, or if maybe there’s a piece of technology we should mention on the show, or someone that we should have on for an interview. We’d love for you to drop us that information, as well. Makes it a lot easier to keep up on everything if we all kind of combine our efforts.

Josh Anderson:
Are you’re looking for more podcasts to listen to? Do you have questions about assistive technology, about an accommodation, or maybe how something works? Are you really busy and only have a minute to listen to podcast? Well, guess what? You’re in luck because we have a few other podcasts that you should really check out.

Josh Anderson:
The first one’s Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions, or ATFAQ hosted by Brian Norton, and featuring myself and Belva Smith, and then a bunch of other guests. What we do is we sit around and take questions about assistive technology, either about accommodations, about different things that are out there, or about different ways to use things. We get those questions from Twitter, online, on the phone, and in many other ways.

Josh Anderson:
We’re also trying to build a little bit of a community as sometimes, believe it or not, we don’t have all the answers. So we reach out to you to answer some of those questions, and help us along. You can check that out anywhere that you get your podcast, and wherever you find this podcast.

Josh Anderson:
We also have Accessibility Minute. So Accessibility Minute is hosted by Laura Medcalf. And if you’ve never heard her voice, it is smooth as silk. And you should really listen to that podcast. She’s going to give you just a one minute blurb about some different kinds of assistive technology, kind of wet your whistle a little bit, and just let you know some of the new things that are out there so that you can go out and find out a little bit more about them yourself.

Josh Anderson:
So again, check out our other shows, Assistive Technology Frequently Asked Questions and Accessibility Minute, available wherever you get your podcasts.

Josh Anderson:
We here at INDATA in Easterseals Crossroads are proud to announce our Accessibility for Web Professionals 2020 Webinar.

Josh Anderson:
During this, you can join renowned web accessibility professional, [Dennis Lambri 00:03:47], for a full day of training. This webinar training begins with a background on disability, guidelines, and the law. Many techniques for designing and developing an accessible website are then explained. Basic through advanced levels are covered. The main topics include content structure, images, forms, tables, CSS, and AI/IA. Techniques on writing for accessibility, and testing for accessibility are also covered.

Josh Anderson:
If you are involved in web design or development, don’t miss this wealth of practical knowledge. We’ve been doing this for a few years and Dennis really does a great job. Now, this is a pretty in depth training for web professionals, but if you are a web professional, and you’re interested in making websites more accessible, you should definitely join us. This will be held on May 13th, 2020, from 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. And we will put a link to the website with more information over in our show notes.

Josh Anderson:
Our first story today is out of WPR, which is the NPR affiliate out in Wisconsin. It’s titled Artists with Disabilities Helped by Madison Man’s Technology Creations. It’s by Elizabeth Dohms-Harter. It’s a story about a man named John Lash. Well, it’s really a story about some other individuals, but most of the story kind of centers on Mr. Lash.

Josh Anderson:
And Mr. Lash was a metalworker. It looks like he made different kinds of metal sculptures and stuff out of Madison, Wisconsin. Until one day he was contacted by someone named Jeannie Gross. And Jeannie Gross was a painter. She liked to paint in the style of Jackson Pollock, but she only has a limited use of her left arm. And that’s really it. So if you would think that makes it a little bit harder to paint.

Josh Anderson:
So what she’d been doing is, she’d been using a catapult. She would sit there, and kind of take balls and cover them in paint, and then throw it against the canvas. But it says at the time she really didn’t have much control over the direction, angle, or force of the paint. So she really didn’t have much control over what she was doing.

Josh Anderson:
Yes, it would become abstract art, but not really what she was seeing in her mind’s eye. So she contacted this Mr. Lash. And then it kind of gets into them talking to Mr. Lash. And he just said something that really made me think of kind of what an AT professional does. The quote from here actually says, “I worked with Jeannie, spent a lot of time talking with her, and trying to understand her process and what her goals were.” And that’s really as AT professionals, is what we all do. We try to meet with individuals and it doesn’t really matter so much what the disability is, or anything like that.

Josh Anderson:
What really and truly matters is what are their goals? How do they want to accomplish them? How do they go about accomplishing other things? And then how can assistive technology assist to kind of make that work? So then Mr. Lash was able to build a catapult for her, and now she’s actually able to have much more control over her art.

Josh Anderson:
He actually went back and worked with her again, and made her a tilting table. So she can put the paint on the canvas, and then tilt the table to have the paint move around. So she has a whole another way to paint, as well. And then really, like many of us probably in this field, Mr. Lash got bit by the bug, so to speak, and started a place called Mad DesignWorks. And at Mad DesignWorks, he creates his own kind of assistive technology for individuals who might need it.

Josh Anderson:
Of course, it talks about these two that he made for Ms. Gross. And then it also talks about another one that he made just to assist an individual, Mr. Berkholtz, with his job. And he makes and sells firestarters that are kind of natural ones, made of shredded paper, saw dust, and soy wax in a cup. And I’ve actually made something like this at home, and used it before. Although I always use egg cartons, dryer lint, and just regular wax. But hey, they still kind of work.

Josh Anderson:
And so Mr. Lash was actually able to help this Mr. Berkholtz “by making an assembly line that would cue him by touch and sound to move the cups through the different stages of the production, while keeping it safe and not allowing him to hurt himself with that kind of hot wax. So just these kind of accommodations that are specially made for one person, kind of one-offs, but still it’s assistive technology helping individuals accomplish their goals, and do what it is they want to do through technology.

Josh Anderson:
So I’ll put a link to this story over in the show notes. But really what I liked about it is it’s just a story of someone who probably didn’t even think ever about adaptive technology, about what assistive technology could do for individuals. But the first time he had a chance to use the skills that he had to make something, he suddenly couldn’t get enough of it. So we’ll put a story… link to that over in our show notes, just to maybe remind all of us why we do the work that we do.

Josh Anderson:
Touchscreen tablet devices have really changed the way that we all access technology. In about a decade, they’ve become the main means by which many access to the Internet, email, work and leisure programs, and really just about anything. So when a new tablet for individuals who are blind and visually impaired comes out, we have to learn more. Our guest today is Igor Feinberg, CEO of insidevision. And he’s here to tell us all about the new insideONE. Welcome to the show.

Igor Feinberg:
Thank you very much for having me here. I just wanted to share some information about the insideONE, the Windows 10 tablet with the touch screen and integrated 32-cell refreshable braille display.

Josh Anderson:
Yeah. We’re going to get right into talking all about that. But before we talk about about the insideONE, can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Igor Feinberg:
Right. Sure. Yeah. My name is Igor Feinberg. I have been working in assistive technology industry for the last 10 years. Started my career in this industry with a company called ABIC, the pioneers who created the [inaudible 00:09:42] line of OCR-based devices. And later on, the company was purchased by Freedom [inaudible 00:09:52] at that time. And so I found myself to be a free agent and joined the Perkins School for the Blind and been responsible for the worldwide sales of famous Perkins Braillers.

Igor Feinberg:
And then later on, I created my own company and collaborated with Orbit Research, makers of Orbit Reader point sheets, and scientific calculators, and other products. And now for the last couple of years, I have been running insidevision, a subsidiary of a French manufacturer with the same name, insidevision, the company that actually manufactures insideONE tactile braille tablet.

Josh Anderson:
Excellent. So you’ve had quite a career in assistive technology. Tell us all about the insideONE.

Igor Feinberg:
Well, the insideONE is a totally new concept. Two years ago, I met the company, and I was very impressed with the device. Primarily, I was really blown away by the way it looks. It looks like an iPad, but slightly thicker, and it’s absolutely beautifully manufactured. It has a touch screen. That screen can be used by sighted people. At the same time, that screen is the keyboard, braille keyboard for people who are blind. They will be able to use the very same screen to type on a braille keyboard. The interesting thing is that the keys of the keyboard is actually indented, engraved in a Gorilla Glass surface. So it’s not an overlay. It is part of the device, and it looks absolutely beautiful.

Josh Anderson:
So yeah. So everything’s right there in that Gorilla Glass so the tactile… I can actually feel those keys whenever I’m typing in braille, right?

Igor Feinberg:
That’s right. That’s right. And what’s interesting, one of the major premises behind the design was to accomplish a few things. One is to create a device that would be all in one. So there is no need to connect any additional devices. I guess with the exception of a smartphone, the tablet will not need to be connected to any braille displays. So there is no wires to deal with.

Igor Feinberg:
Another premise was that the tablet should be beautiful, and it is. And a third one is that the tablet should be used as a communication tool because whatever a blind person brailled in is instantly available on the screen for sighted people. And vice versa, if a sighted person would like to type something on this device, he can use a virtual QWERTY keyboard. Or if it’s more convenient, he can connect the Bluetooth keyboard, and whatever is typed in will be instantly available for a blind person on a refreshable braille display integrated into the body of the tablet.

Josh Anderson:
Mm.

Josh Anderson:
And just above that refreshable braille display, there are 32 digital cursor routing keys. And above that is sort of a ticker tape, also numerical line that would also display the text, or see braille depending on what braille grade is used. So it’s very, very useful tool for blind people. And especially for students who do know braille and Windows, for professionals, for students in colleges. And also for the deaf-blind community. If you can imagine an interaction between a trainer and a deaf-blind person, that interaction, that communication becomes really very easy and natural.

Josh Anderson:
Oh, I bet it does. And I know that’s a real challenge. We have some folks who work with the deaf-blind population. And sometimes just that back and forth communication can be the biggest challenge. Especially if for some reason your interpreter doesn’t show up on time, or you really just need quick help. So that’s really cool that you can switch back and forth between those keyboards, and be able to have that communication. I know that you said it does work on a Windows operating system. Is it able to work with like Jaws, or NVDA, or other screen readers?

Igor Feinberg:
Right. There are two screen readers available currently in a tablet. The NVDA comes as a default. Jaws is pre-installed with a 90-day starter license. And if a user has his or her own license, all he needs to do is key in the license, and he will have access to the entire Jaws application. So in that particular way, both screen readers are available. The French company is working with Microsoft. We are a partner of Microsoft, and they’re working to expand the screen reading software packages, as well.

Josh Anderson:
I know it works with Windows, but then it also has its own kind of operating system called Home. Is that correct?

Igor Feinberg:
It is. It’s not really an operating system. It’s a application within the Windows environment, and the purpose of that particular Home environment, as we call it, is a collection of specific applications that would enable, for instance, quick note-taking capability.

Josh Anderson:
Hm.

Igor Feinberg:
There are applications that would enable file management. There are applications that would enable print, email capability, right from the very same place. So if one would need to have a quick note, he doesn’t need to go into Windows. He can just go to our Home application, and open the Notes application and quickly type it. Or he can leave that work unfinished, and then later on come right to the place where it was left before. The battery for the tablet would be running up to six hours. So it’s plenty of time to do whatever else needs to be done.

Josh Anderson:
And is it pretty easy to switch back and forth between the Home and Windows? I know you said sometimes you don’t even have to completely open up Windows to get to that Home program. Is it pretty easy to get back and forth?

Igor Feinberg:
Right, right. So I haven’t said that there are four tactile areas in that Windows tablet in addition, of course, to the screen itself. And so there is a left slider, right slider, horizontal slider, which is basically your digital cursor routing keys. And then there is a round indentation in the upper left corner, which we call Home button. So if you double-tap that Home button, you will be able to switch from Home to Windows, and from Windows to Home. It’s basically your tab button.

Igor Feinberg:
So the user will be able to fully navigate the tablet using the swipes and taps, just like one is using with any smartphone. So the learning curve… There is a learning curve to use that tablet. But after a very short period of time, a user will be able to actually type very fast on the screen and navigate the tablet, just like one would navigate their smartphone. So it could be one tap, double tap, triple tap with one finger, two fingers, three fingers. So in our manual, there is a whole section dedicated to the gestures and braille shortcuts. But if one is using braille shortcuts, or keyboard shortcuts on Windows, it’s going to be the very same type of shortcuts with this particular tablet.

Josh Anderson:
And all of those are actually in the Gorilla Glass, as well. Is that correct? The button and the sliders, and everything?

Igor Feinberg:
That’s right. That’s right. So if you teach a 10 inch screen, to the left and to the right of that screen, there are two sliders, as I mentioned. One left slider is responsible for either braille keyboard or QWERTY keyboard. The right slider, the analogy is left, right, up, and down arrow keys on a standard QWERTY keyboard. The horizontal slider and the cursor routing keys can play various functions depending on the swipes or taps.

Igor Feinberg:
So if you swipe with one finger from left to right, you would pan a display 32 characters. So if you do it from right to left, you would go back. So if you want to escape, you use two fingers to the right and left. It’s like a zigzag. That would be an escape function. But again, all those functions can be accomplished with the braille keyboard shortcuts. And one would be able to get much more information on our website, insidevision-us.com Again, that’s www.insidevision-us.com.

Josh Anderson:
Very good. I was going to ask you that here in a little while. Igor, where did the idea come from for this tablet?

Igor Feinberg:
Well, the French headquarters have been thinking long and hard about the possibility to simplify the communication between the blind and sighted worlds. And that’s where the idea originally came from. They wanted to create a device that would look like a device for the sighted people. And it would be very easy to communicate between sighted and the blind folks. So that’s where the demand or a need for the design came from. And the idea was to use the very same screen for sighted people and for blind people to type on the surface.

Igor Feinberg:
But unlike other competitors, the idea was to actually enable an easy placement of one’s hands. So you should be able to find the keys much easier. So there are 10 keys on the… Eight braille keys, and then two space keys.

Igor Feinberg:
We call it the left space key is… we call it a nine, and the right space key we call zero. So with the combination of those two keys, left and right space keys, it also plays a role of modifier keys as well. So the combination of braille keys along with the spacebar would enable one to do all kinds of shortcuts.

Igor Feinberg:
To give you an example. For instance, if one want to do Control A, it would be dot one, four, right space bar for C, and then dot one for A. That would be Control A, select all, for instance.

Josh Anderson:
Mm.

Igor Feinberg:
If one would want to have Alt, it would be one, and right space bar. Similarly… So it’s very, very logical. Similarly, if one wants to use functions from F1 to F12, it would be from A to L, and F1 would be A plus left space bar. That would be F1. You’re following me?

Josh Anderson:
Yep. I sure am. It really lets you control that entire Windows environment, just pretty much by using the different controls on there, without having to really dig in too awful hard once you learn those kinds of things. So that’s great. And then getting all the feedback on the refreshable braille display is excellent, too. Just being able to really access it.

Josh Anderson:
But then I do like the way that you guys thought about the communication aspect. Because usually, if I’m blind, I might be using a note taker with refreshable braille display connected or something, and I’m going to have a real hard time with communicating, or having a sighted individual know what I’m really doing with that device since it’s all enclosed. So I like the way that you guys thought about that.

Igor Feinberg:
Right. I have been thinking always about our case scenarios, whereby you have a teacher in a regular class, and you have a blind child. And one would have to communicate with the child without interfering with other students. That would be a very good case scenario for that particular communication. Not to mention that the parent and the child, it would be much easier. Parents are not really learning braille very easily. So that would be a good tool to communicate.

Josh Anderson:
Oh definitely. And even later on in life. I think about teams at work, and things like that. Collaborating and everything, they can use that one device and be able to do it.

Igor Feinberg:
Exactly.

Josh Anderson:
So very cool.

Igor Feinberg:
Exactly. Exactly.

Josh Anderson:
You kind of touched on this a minute ago, but if somebody would want to find out more, or even maybe get their own insideONE, what’s the best way for them to do that?

Igor Feinberg:
To find out information about it, again, it would be insidevision-us.com. And I would welcome anybody to send me an email. And my email address would be I-G-O-R.Feinberg. F-E-I-N as in Nancy, B-E-R-G @insidevision-us.com. Alternatively, one could send an email to contact@insidevision-us.com. But I would welcome anybody to send me an email directly to my email address.

Josh Anderson:
And we’ll make sure to put those email addresses and the website all into our show notes, so that folks can easily get to those. Well, thank you so much for coming on today, and telling us all about the insideONE and everything that it can do. Very cool device. Can’t wait to see it more, and definitely everyone should check it out. But thank you again for coming on.

Igor Feinberg:
Thank you very much for having me.

Josh Anderson:
Do you have a question about assistive technology? Do you have a suggestion for someone we should interview on Assistive Technology Update? If you do, call our Listener Line at 317-721-7124. Shoot us a note on Twitter @indataproject, or check us out on Facebook.

Josh Anderson:
Are you looking for a transcript or show notes? Head on over to our website at www.eastersealstech.com. Assistive Technology Update is a proud member of the Accessibility Channel. For more shows like this, plus so much more, head over to accessibilitychannel.com.

Josh Anderson:
The views expressed by our guest are not necessarily that of this host, or the INDATA Project. This has been your Assistive Technology Update. I’m Josh Anderson with the INDATA Project at Easterseals Crossroads in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Josh Anderson:
Thank you so much for listening, and we’ll see you next time.