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National Federation of The Blind Expands Technology Services For The Blind

The National Federation of the Blind, the United States' leading organization of the blind, has created a new and specialized Technology Department in order to promote the development of new and innovative technology for the blind. This comprehensive department expands an already existing technology center and is located at the organization's headquarters in South Baltimore.

The expanded department brings together many of the country's experts in both blindness and technology, providing a greater depth of knowledge and experience to review all of the technology and related technological issues facing the blind. The goal of the program is to enhance the ability of the blind to live and work in today's technological age.

Directing the new Technology Department is 43-year-old Curtis Chong. Mr. Chong is blind and is a 20-year veteran in the field of advanced computer science. For the past 17 years he has worked as a designer/consultant for American Express Financial Advisors in Minneapolis, Minnesota, providing technological support for main frame mid- range computer systems.

There are formidable challenges facing the blind and as technology advances we could easily fall further behind, said Chong. We need to ensure there is no gap between opportunities for the sighted and opportunities for the blind.

Also joining the staff in the Technology Department will be Dr. Michael Gosse, blind and 33 years old, with 11 years of experience in the electrical engineering field. A former instructor at Lehigh University, Dr. Gosse has spent many years working with contractors for the United States Department of Defense. Most recently he worked with American Electronics Labs as a research and development engineer, focusing primarily on the use of radar systems.

The Technology Department will provide a focal point through which all of the National Federation of the Blind programs dealing with technology can be coordinated. In 1990, the NFB opened The International Braille and Technology Center for the Blind , the world's largest evaluation and demonstration center of all speech and Braille technology for the blind. In 1995, Newsline for the Blind <190>, the first digital talking telephone newspaper service for the blind began operations. The new Technology Department will provide additional research and the design of new technology, as well as determining new ways of implementing existing technology for current and new technology programs for the blind.

Mr. Chong and Dr. Gosse have been leaders in the National Federation of the Blind for many years. Mr. Chong has served since 1984, as the President of the National Federation of the blind in Computer Science, and Dr. Gosse serves as Vice President of the NFB Science and Engineering Division. Both are members of the National Federation of the Blind Research and Development and the Evaluation of Technology Committees.

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