You are here:

The Tool Box

Editor's Note: Parrot is a French company created in 1994 by Henri Seydoux, CEO, and Jean Pierre Talvard, Marketing and Development Manager which specialises in development and marketing of Voice Recognition Products.

New From Parrot for the Next Millennium!

Voice Mate

Paris, France, November 1999. The Newest Voice Recognition Organiser designed for the blind and vision impaired from the makers of the Parrot Plus V.3-distributed world wide.

Voice Mate is the third generation of Parrot's revolutionary organiser which talks and recognises your voice. Voice Mate uses the latest digital data storage and speech recognition technologies to provide a talking organiser with a wide range of features (phone book, voice note-pad, appointment book, talking alarm clock and calculator). Voice Mate offers simplicity and ease of use in a compact and light assistive device.

New Features

Voice Mate offers more features and capacity than its predecessors:

More Recording Time: 40 minutes

High Voice Recognition Quality

Non-Volatile Flash Memory: data is saved when replacing batteries

Earphone for discrete use

Eight levels of volume control

PC link for storing data and updating software via the Internet

Personal Identification Code: to limit access(Functions are announced verbally.)

10 languages available: English, Chinese, Danish, Dutch, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Spanish, Swedish

Professional Appointment book

Reminder for periodic and repeating items

Talking Calculator with foreign currencies

A voice prompt accompanies every keystroke

Batteries and headset included


Leather case (optional)

PC transfer Link (optional)

Suggested Retail Price

Voice Mate: $259.00

Leather case: $26.00

PC transfer kit : $49.00

Other Characters

Dimensions: 5.4 x 2.7 x 0.6 inches(13.6 x 6.8 x 1.6 cm.)

Weight: 5.3 oz. (150g), (batteries included)

Power: 4 AAA Alkaline batteries 1.5V(R3 or AAA)

Battery Life: Three months (depends upon volume level and frequency of use)

Warranty: One year

Contact Info: Parrot SA, 28 Rue Meslay, 75003 Paris France Toll Free: 1-888-936-0001 (USA) Tel: +33 1 44 78 81 10 Fax: +33 1 48 87 87 34 E-mail: Web site:

TECSO Inc. Technology and Society Inc.

Editor's Note: Here is a company with a product to help blind and vision impaired computer users learn to interact with certain software applications on their own. These products are tutorials specially designed for blind computer users, and when combined with initial training may prove to be very beneficial. The best part is, this is a Canadian Company.

TECSO is a Quebec-based software development and marketing company specialising in the field of New Information and Communication Technologies (NICT) for seniors and people with disabilities. Their mission is to develop technologically advanced solutions for an improved quality of life and increased social integration of persons with special needs.

TECSO conducts research and development in these areas:

Technical aids and tools designed to address the needs of a specific clientele;

Evaluation of products and services on the basis of usability;

Services and aids incorporating technological advances that are aimed at the general public, and which must therefore be avail- able to all.

Technology Innovation's "Technology and Society" Program of Industry Canada.


AuDidact (1996-1998), a research project aimed at developing a computer-based tutorial and complementary training tools for individuals who have vision impairments, in collaboration with the American Printing House for the Blind.


(1995-1997), an applied research project that has determined to what extent and under which conditions home telework can be an effective way of maintaining persons with disabilities in the work force.


(1997), a computerised database of jobs occupied by persons with disabilities. The project leader was the Committee for Adapting the Work Force for Persons with Disabilities.

Listening to Windows(r) 95 is a training kit for users who are blind or vision impaired. This training kit features a computer-based tutorial, which is available on CD-ROM, as well as a series of complementary training tools: a tactile guide illustrating the Windows screens in relief in print and Braille formats, a reference manual in print, Braille, recorded, and electronic formats, and a three-dimensional training board. The tutorial can be used with assistive technology equipment such as screen readers or large print programs.

The Tutorials

Listening to Windows(r) 98

Listening to the Internet

These two training kits are for users who are blind or vision impaired and can be used with assistive technology equipment such as screen readers or large print programs.

AudioWin is a software that reinforces the Windows(r) 98 concepts for persons with a vision impairment, using metaphorical sounds that enhance the visual aspect of objects on the interface while navigating, therefore exploring the screen in a more efficient manner.

Telework and Disabilities is a CD-ROM that presents information, guidelines and concrete advice to employers, technical support staff and employees with a disability who consider telework as an adaptive form of work organisation. This management tool will help them make the most appropriate decision concerning the implementation of telework in their organisation.

New Web site Resources

Metasearch Service Caters To Vision Impaired.

A new metasearch service,, is designed to work well with text-to-speech technology and Braille displays. To access this tool, go to:

Blind-Parents Mailing List

This list discusses issues of parenting pertaining to blindness and to exchange helpful ideas, tips and support. Sighted spouses and other family members are also welcome to participate.

To subscribe to the blind-parents mailing list; send an e-mail to In the body of the message put, subscribe blind-parents and your first and last name.


Newsdesk is a new e-mail list that allows you to read and share news stories about blindness-related issues from all over the world. Blindness issues seldom receive extensive coverage in the main-stream media. However, throughout the world, newspapers and web-based publications feature some interesting stories on blindness issues. This list allows you to share those nuggets with others who want to be kept apprised of articles, media releases and political statements about blindness.

Newsdesk is not a discussion list. All postings must first be approved by the moderator to ensure relevance. You will be unable to comment on articles on the list. To subscribe, please send a blank e-mail message to newsdesk:

New On-Line AMD Resource

The Macular Degeneration Partnership has launched a new on-line resource dedicated to age-related macular degeneration (AMD), a debilitating condition affecting nearly 20 percent of the population age 60 and up to 40 percent of seniors over age 75. This site can be accessed at

Home-Workers List

The Home-Workers list is for those who have, or may be interested in, starting a small business. The focus will be on (but not limited to) the blind and otherwise disabled. Any equipment, resources, business ideas, etc. will be discussed here. The following commands should be sent to: The commands should be in the body of the message, and are as follows: To subscribe: Subscribe home-workers first name last name is an on-line magazine that provides news, resources and commentary on the role of diversity in strengthening the corporate bottom line. More information can be found by visiting

Blindness Technology Discussion E-Group

Have you ever had a technology question but you weren't sure which of the many blindness-related e-mail lists would consider it on-topic? Have you ever wished there was one forum where any technology-related question could be discussed freely? Then wish no longer, and subscribe to Blindtech, the Blindness Technology Discussion E-group.

On Blindtech, any technology used by blind people is on-topic. That means any screen reader, any operating system, any piece of software a blind person is trying to use, any blindness-specific products, any technology where access by blind people may depend on brand selection. Are you wanting a speech friendly e-mail client? Want to install Windows independently? Do you want to hear experiences with different voice organisers? Are you looking for someone to repair your old Perkins? But the brief of this list is even wider than purely blindness-related technology. What is the easiest VCR for a blind person to use? What factors need to be taken into account when a blind person is buying a cell phone? How easy are different digital tuners to set independently as a blind person?

So if you have technology questions or comments, there's no need to worry about whether a message is on-topic. If it's related to any technology, it's on-topic for blindtech. We will also refer people to expertise on more topic-specific lists for people who might want further assistance. The messages will be archived on the web and will gradually serve as a great resource for people searching for knowledge on a wide range of blindness-related issues. And best of all, there is an interactive chat room where you can actually speak with other list members.

The chat room is open 24 hours a day, but we will also be scheduling and announcing special chat forums on specific subjects. Topics to be covered in the near future include high speed Internet access, using Internet Explorer 5, and e-mail clients. We'll have a panel of experts knowledgeable in each of these subjects, and you can ask questions or contribute to the knowledge pool. The list is an open one, but is regularly checked to ensure the environment is pleasant and that exchanges take place in an atmosphere of mutual respect.

Join Blindtech now by sending a blank e-mail to If you haven't done so already, you may also wish to register at so you can be a part of our interactive chat room. Looking forward to seeing you over on Blindtech. Jonathan Mosen Blindtech List Moderator

Braille Formatting

The Braille Authority of North America is please to announce that the rules of Braille Formats: Principles of Print to Braille Transcription 1997 are now available at This version of Braille Formats has been made possible by the generous contribution of the Shodor Education Foundation.

If there are differences between the web edition and the print, the print edition should be considered correct and the difference should be brought to the attention of the BANA chair, Phyllis Campana at and Bob Gotwals at

ZZ - Disregard this link; it is used to trick spammers.