BARUCH STAFFER AWARDED U.S. PATENT: INNOVATIVE TEACHING DEVICE FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED

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New York, NY – November 21, 2006--Karen Gourgey, director of Baruch’s Computer Center for Visually Impaired People (CCVIP), always knew that the Talking Tactile Tablet was breakthrough technology, but it was a triumph to have it confirmed by the U.S. Government Patent Office.

“The patent adds value to your device and protects your innovation,” Gourgey stated.  The patent process took five “arduous” years, but on Sept. 12, 2006, she and Steve Landau of Touch Graphics were jointly awarded a patent for the TTT, an interactive computer peripheral device that visually impaired people can use to learn the geography of African countries, the geometry of Euclid and much, much more.

The TTT features standard controls, conceptually analogous to the toolbar on Microsoft Windows. This makes it versatile and simple to use.  Moreover, its “touch-and-talk” technology is easily learned--no knowledge of Braille is required and nor prior computer knowledge. The device is priced at a modest $699, and the hope is that it will be widely used by schools for the visually handicapped and, potentially, by others, such as ESL students, who could benefit from its audio-tactile teaching methods.

Most importantly, the TTT’s applications as a teaching tool can be almost infinitely expanded through the use of an “authoring device” that permits teachers to create their own diagrams and add their own audio narratives.  Gourgey reports that the TTT with this customizing feature is already in use in Norway, Spain, England, Germany, France, and Japan as well as locally—for instance, in the Smithsonian and New York’s Lower East Side Tenement Museum.

Karen Gourgey was interviewed by New York Times technology reporter Jude Biersdorfer for a November 2, 2006 segment on the nytimes.com podcast series called, “Tech Talk.”  The podcast is also available on iTunes.com and Yahoo.com

To celebrate the patent, President Kathleen Waldron hosted a reception for the CCVIP and its supporters, among others, the CUNY Research Foundation and the former director of the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities.  It was, Gourgey says, a proud and happy moment, the culmination of years of hard work and persistence.

 

Contact: Zane Berzins, News Director, (646) 660-6105