May 17, 2004 3:12 pm


David Gerstman sent this touching apropos information - Malki Roth was teenager who was killed in Sbarro's. Her parents have been interviewed and have written a lot. Check out this article

According to the VirTouch website Arnold Roth is from Australia. So I'm reasonable certain that it's the same person. Also see specifically and generally.

Then read the following:

Israeli technology does not quite have the ability to restore sight to the blind -- but it comes pretty close.

VirTouch is an Israeli company that specializes in computer technology for the blind. Its CEO, Arnold Roth, explained to Israel21c that although text and numbers are readily accessible to the blind through Braille and software that reads text aloud,"things like images, photographs, maps, charts and tables" are problematic.

Roth said that initially there was no solution for these graphic elements other than printing them out using very expensive embossing equipment, which was"not very conducive to interactivity." But last year, VirTouch launched a patented mouse-like device called the VTPlayer, which opened the door to PC-based entertainment and learning for the blind and visually impaired computer users.

"Our breakthrough is partly engineering and partly psychology," Roth explained."The hardware - the mouse-like VTPlayer - gives blind adults and children a tactile sense of what's happening on the computer screen by stimulating their finger tips. At the same time, smart software we have created for Windows lets their sense of hearing as well as their cognitive abilities fill in the gaps caused by the limits of their vision."

The solution looks and acts like a regular computer mouse, but is also a sensory, multimedia device. It has an optical sensor, four thumb-operated buttons and two embedded tactile pads where the user's fingers rest. Each tactile pad consists of 16 small vibrating pins.

"What our new technology does is allow the blind to see - through their fingertips - elements like pictures, photographs, maps, tables, and flow charts - everyday things that are today off-limits for the blind," said Roth. Among VTPlayer's many highlights is that it allows a blind child to play side-by-side and at the same time on the same PC with another player who is sighted.

"When we displayed the VTPlayer at a show in California," Roth said,"Stevie Wonder came by and sat down. And he wouldn't leave. He was so taken with the product that he ended up buying the display model." Roth estimates that the repackaged VTPlayer with its graphic technology will be available to U.S. consumers by the summer.

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