ATU160 – Braun Ability Arizona AT Conference Walgreens now offers talking prescriptions

first_img——-transcript follows —— Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadYour 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:Braun Ability | honors American Printing House in Louisville’s Annual Assistive Technology Conference – AzTAP Newsroom: Walgreens Launches Nationwide Program Offering Talking Prescription Devices for Customers with Visual Impairments program at SAP hires autistic adults for specialized skills – CBS News musician at UW-Madison develops 3D sheet music for visually impaired children® We’re reinventing the cable. NomadClip | NomadKey | NomadCard to Use the Mac with VoiceOver Next Dollar Up——————————Listen 24/7 at www.AssistiveTechnologyRadio.comIf you have an AT question, leave us a voice mail at: 317-721-7124 or email [email protected] out our web site: https://www.eastersealstech.comFollow us on Twitter: @INDATAprojectLike us on Facebook: MEGAN WAGNER:  Hi, I’m Megan Wagner, brand manager at Braun Ability, and this is your Assistive Technology Update.[Music]WADE WINGLER:  Hi, this is Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana with 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 people with disabilities and special needs.  Welcome to episode number 160 of Assistive Technology Update.  It’s scheduled to be released on June 20 of 2014.Today we’re going to spend some time talking with Megan at Braun Ability, one of the biggest manufactures of accessible vehicles in the world, happens to be right here in central Indiana, and I spent some time on their location visiting with them.  It was an amazing trip and a really cool interview.Also we talk in this episode about an assistive technology conference coming to Arizona; something that Walgreens is doing to make their medications more accessible to individuals who are blind or visually impaired; why SAP, the software company, is hiring people who have autism; some interesting information about musical notation with 3-D printers for folks were blind or visually impaired; and a clip that will help you charge your cell phone; an app called Next Dollar up; and learning to use a Macintosh computer with voiceover.In addition to the stories, we hope you’ll check us out online.  You can find our website at  You can find us on Twitter at INDATA Project or you can call our listener line, give us some feedback, give us a tip.  You might show up on our show.  Call that number at 317-721-7124.I just wanted to give you heads up that next week, I’m not going to be in the office.  I’m not going to be in the studio and can’t record an episode.  However, the way I’m going to do with that is while I was at the RESNA conference in Indianapolis just several days ago, I recorded a lot of audio while I was there.  So what I’m going to do is put together a half hour episode of recap from the RESNA conference where we’ll have some words from the attendees, some words from the speakers, and just give you guys kind of a feel for what it was like to be at RESNA if you were there or whether you are not.  So next week we will have that special RESNA episode and then we’ll be back with our regular format after that.Congratulations to our neighbors just to the south.  The American Printing House for the Blind was awarded the Advanced Communication Services award by the Federal Communications Commission.  They got this award for the braille +18, which is the world’s first android device specifically designed for folks who are blind or visually impaired.  Check our show notes.  We’ll have more information about that award.Do you live in the Great American West in Arizona or would you just like to visit there?  Well, our counterparts in Arizona, Aztap, which is the Arizona Technology Access Program, is going to have a conference.  It’s called Assistive Technology: Multiple Perspectives, Multiple Solutions.  It’s going to be held on July 20 through the 22nd, 2014, at the Arizona Grand Resort and Spa right there in Phoenix.Now, there is a preconference AT Boot Camp that’s going to be on Sunday, July 20.  You can go to that for $99.  The regular conference earlybird registration fee is the day that this podcast comes out.  So you if you’re listening to this on June 20, hurry up because you can get registration for the conference for $165.  Otherwise it’s going to be $249 for the preconference and the main conference.They’re going to have an exhibit hall with expanded community participation and they’re going to have free Wi-Fi throughout the conference center.  So if Phoenix in July sounds lovely to you, check our show notes.  We’ll put a link where you can go and register for the conference and Arizona.Do you take prescription medication?  Are you blind or visually impaired?  Well, Walgreens is announcing a national rollout of a thing called the talking pill reminder.  It’s a device that attaches to your prescription medication, allows the pharmacist to record the information about the medication on this device, and then it also has a reminder to help you remember to take your medication.  It’s a collaboration between Walgreens and the American Council of the Blind, and ACB president, Kim Carlson, says accessible precession information is critical to people who are blind, and with today’s announcement, Walgreens assumes a significant leadership role in serving its customers with visual impairments.  There’s no cost to have this device attached your medication, and if you do want to buy one, it retails for $9.99.  I’m going to pop a link in the show notes over to Walgreens’ press release where you can learn more about this pretty cool new service.  Check it out.CBS news recently did a story about SAP, the software company, and why they are hiring people with autism to help.  There’s a great interview with 28-year-old Patrick Viesti, who is a person with Asperger’s syndrome and a successful computer engineer but wasn’t hired before due to his social skills and some of the challenges he had during a job interview.  Welcome SAP is now proactively hiring people with autism because of some of those unique traits they bring to the job:  pattern recognition, problem solving, and those kinds of things. Thorkil Sonne is a professional at SAP who has a son, Lars, with autism and he realized that there might be an opportunity there in hiring programmers and other technical folks with autism.  It’s a great article.  Check it out and we’ll have a link in the show notes where you can learn more about what SAP is doing to hire individuals with autism to work in the more technical jobs.Yeaji Kim is now Dr. Yeaji Kim and lost her vision when she was growing up in South Korea.  She’s a musician, and here’s where all the stuff comes together.  She has relied on braille music notation for much of her life.  She was recently awarded her doctorate from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, School of Music, and she has developed a musical notation that is a 3-D elevated staff with notes printed on it.  The idea behind that is that both sighted and blind musicians can relate to the same musical notation, and this notation, according to Dr. Kim, is a little less complicated than the traditional braille kind of stuff.  It seems that there are some organizations who do 3-D printing who are very interested in this model and how they might use a pretty printer to more easily replicate this kind of musical notation.  I used to be musician myself and haven’t played in a long time, but I’m excited about what’s happening here to make musical notation a little bit easier for folks were blind or visually impaired.  Check out the show notes.  You can read the article here and decide for yourself whether this is a better way to do musical notation or whether the old way works just fine.  Check our show notes.  You’ll find the link.The headline for MarketWatch which is part of the Wall Street Journal reads, “Smartphone App Could Replace Seeing-Eye Dog for the Visually Impaired, Predicts London-Based Technology Company.”  Well, I’m not sure that an app is going to replace a service animal anytime soon, but there is a pretty cool app called iBridge coming out of London that works like this.  But so you’re somebody who’s blind or visually impaired or otherwise need some sighted assistance.  You fire up the iBridge app and within 30 seconds, a live operator can look through your rear facing camera and answer questions about navigation, identification of objects, device operations, all kinds of things.  This is set up so it’s going to cost around $30 a month for an entry-level package which will give you 60 minutes a month of remote visual assistance.  It’s supposed to work at some point with Google Glass and the author of this article does acknowledge that it doesn’t necessarily replace what a service animal does, but it may really provide some sighted assistance in a pretty impressive way.  They are also testing sighted with a firm of attorneys who want to help their visually impaired clients with free, remote video connections to provide them legal services.  A lot going on with this iBridge app and I’m going to pop a link in the show notes over to MarketWatch where you can check it out and read it on your own.Are you like me and sometimes you wonder where did my charger for my phone go?  Or where is the charger for my tablet?  Or where is the charger in general?  Well, there is a company called Nomad Goods that’s come out with something pretty clever.  In fact, it’s a carabiner with a built in charger.  So whether you need micro USB or lightning to charge your device, these little rubberized carabiners have the cords built right in.  So you probably have a carabiner hanging on your backpack or at least one around somewhere that you clip and you never use it or you certainly don’t lose it.  Will now you can buy these carabiners.  The cost $29, and this carabiner will clip your backpack or your laptop back and all you do is open up the backside of it, the cables come out come and you can charge your device.  I’ll pop a link in the show notes and you can learn more about these carabiners from Nomad Goods that will help you charge and you won’t lose your cable.Are you somebody who’s used a Windows computer of your life but you just think it might be kind of cool to learn how to use a Mac?  Are you a screen reader user in that same situation?  Well, our friend Andrew Liebs at has an article about learning to use the Mac with voice over.  In fact, he talks about a tutorial from the National Braille Press that costs $20 and was written by Janet Ingber.  It goes step-by-step through how to use the Mac with your screen reader if you’re a Windows user.  It talks about introducing voiceover and how it works, dealing with the dock, email, quick nav, how to deal with the trackpad, how to deal with Safari and iTunes, word processing, apps, voiceover, utility and more.  I’ll pop a link in the show notes over to Andrew’s article where you can learn more about this tutorial and maybe I’ll start using a Mac.Each week, one of our partners tells us what’s happening in the ever-changing world of apps, so here’s an App Worth Mentioning.AMY BARRY:  This is Amy Barry with BridgingApps, and this is an App Worth Mentioning.  Today I’m going to tell you about the app called Next Dollar Up.  It is an app that teaches money-management skills.  The Next Dollar Up concept is an alternative tragedy to help develop independence in money-management by using the hotel or concept.  It’s useful for all ages, but especially helpful for those with special needs.  We have used this app with teens and young adults who have autism and learning disabilities.Gameplay replicates real-world experience and involves looking at an item price and rounding up to the next dollar to make a purchase.  To play the game, the user clicks the play button to hear the cashier’s prompt for the dollar amount needed to purchase the item on the game card display.  The user drags the correct amount of bills from the money stack to the payment area, then clicks the checkmark button to accept the amount.  Settings allow the user the option of practicing with varying bill amounts up to $50 and include alternative forms of currency and coins.  The format makes it very easy to learn and play.This strategy works well for individuals who struggle with the ability to make change, and knowing this concept will give them the confidence and freedom to shop independently.  This app was developed by Limited Q, LLC, and it’s $7.99 in the iTunes store.  The app can be played on both an iPad or an iPhone.  For more information on this app and others like it, visit WINGLER:  So I’m an Indiana farm boy.  I was born and raised in Indiana, and for me to drive through a place where there are lots of cornfields are not a lot of people is not an unusual thing.  But today I have driven to Winamac, Indiana, which is a couple of hours north of Indianapolis where I spend most of my time.  It’s fairly rural Indiana.  When I pulled into this small town, I saw minivans.  I saw lots of minivans.  Because I am today at Braun Ability with Megan Wagner who is the brand manager here today.  Megan, how are you?MEGAN WAGNER:  I’m great.  Great to have you here.WADE WINGLER:  Thank you so much for hospitality and for allowing me to come in, because I’ve had an excitement morning this morning.  I have been in your facility, your production facility here where you are converting Dodge and Toyota vans to be accessible to people who have mobility challenges and use wheelchairs and things like that.  Now, I want to set this up a little bit because this is not a couple of guys in a garage modifying a van to make it work with a wheelchair.  This is a world-class production facility that has all kinds of quality assurance and barcodes and everything that helps us understand that this is an operation that does a lot of adaptive mobility for folks with disabilities.  I’m excited to be with you today.  I’m excited to hear the story about Braun.  Can you tell me a little bit about your role here at Braun and how this company came to be this thing that is today?MEGAN WAGNER:  Sure.  As a brand manager, I’m basically responsible for telling our story.  That’s what I love to do.  Our story starts with our founder, Ralph Braun.  Obviously, he’s the Braun in Braun Ability.  Ralph was diagnosed with muscular dystrophy at about age 6.  This was back in the 40s when technology like this just did not exist.  So his parents were told that it probably would be best that they institutionalized Ralph and he could be studied, and he probably wouldn’t live to be a teenager.  Obviously his parents disagreed with that, and they took him home.  They were farmers in Winamac, Indiana, and they said, “You’re going to have a great life and we’re going to make sure of it.”  So they really instilled in him a spirit of determination and worked hard to make sure that he was like any other kid at school in the community.One of the first things that Ralph always talks about is getting piggyback rides from his dad.  His dad would give him piggyback rides to church and to school.  When his father’s back had sort of outgrown that, he had to use a manual wheelchair.  Ralph didn’t like the idea being pushed wherever he needed to go so he worked with his dad to develop what was the first battery-powered scooter.  It wasn’t pretty.  It was basically an office chair bolted to the frame of a lawnmower, but it allowed Ralph to control where he went, when he went there come and gave him a level of independence that he just loved.They called that first mention a Frankenstein because it was so huge and bulky, but they refined that to what they called the tri-wheeler.  For several decades, Ralph continue to build tri-wheeler.  What happened is that a few people so Ralph out and about with his tri-wheeler and they said, “I know someone who could use that.”  They got more and more visibility, and from there he started to produce them from his family’s shop.  That built to eventually wheelchair lifts in the consumer vehicles and now today, Braun Ability has been in business for 42 years and has impacted millions of lives around the world.WADE WINGLER:  One of the things that struck me this morning when we went on a tour around is one of the original tri-wheelers is down there.  It certainly looked like something that was put together out of necessity but probably functional.  Comparing and contrasting that with this sophisticated operation see here today really did make an impact on me.  In 42 years, the organization has come a long way.MEGAN WAGNER:  Yeah.WADE WINGLER:  I have originally known Braun as Braun Corporation, but now I’m seeing Braun Ability even on the back of fans as they are coming off the line.  Can you tell me a little bit about that branding change?MEGAN WAGNER:  Sure.  We were known on the Braun Corporation for most of our 40 years.  We introduced the Braun Ability name as the brand of our consumer division in 2007.  That was merging both our founder’s name with the word ability.  We decided we wanted to make sure our users, our customers, had the same brand expense the matter where they encounter our products, so they know that if their child is using public transposition on a school bus and they see Braun Ability, then they know that that’s the name that because when they go to buy a consumer vehicle.  We’re just extending that across all of our markets.  We feel that Braun Ability really represents who we are and both experience and the empowerment that we offer our customers.WADE WINGLER:  Yeah.  You and I have kind of sad a few things that allude to this already with different divisions that you have an adult and children with disabilities.  Give me a few words about why mobility is important for people with disabilities.MEGAN WAGNER:  It’s critical.  It’s freedom.  It’s independence.  We saw this with our founder.  I have a personal connection with this.  My father is a quadriplegic and even though he had no movement below his shoulders, he was able to participate in my life like any other father.  There was never a basketball game, never an awards ceremony that he would miss because of the transportation that we provide.  It’s awesome to know that we are impacting people’s lives on a very personal level every day.WADE WINGLER:  I think that’s really important.  One of the focuses of our show is about increasing independence with folks with disabilities.  You guys are certainly doing that here.  You mentioned a commercial division.  I know that the US isn’t the only place that we have podcast listeners, nor is the only place that Braun does business.  Tell me a little bit about the products you guys are offering in your divisions and what that looks like, kind of from an industry perspective.MEGAN WAGNER:  We’ve got three markets that we focus in.  That’s consumer which is primarily our wheelchair vans.  So Dodge Chrysler, Toyota, and Honda, accessible minivans at this point.  Our commercial division, and that’s wheelchair lifts that are used on buses, motor coaches, other larger transportation.  They have some consumer application but commercial is the focus there so public transportation.  That extends to our international division.  And internationally, accessibility is starting to pick up speed.  It’s something that we’ve taken for granted probably in the United States.  We’re not perfect here and we’ve got a ways to go, but compared to overseas it’s great to see that that’s picking up speed.WADE WINGLER:  I wasn’t aware of the commercial aspect.  It kind of makes sense that you guys would be into that.  That was a bit of a surprise to me.  I think that might be one of the things that differentiates you in the industry.  Tell me a little bit about where Braun is positioned in industry.  What makes Braun unique and how do you guys work with manufacturers?  To me about your quality process a little bit.MEGAN WAGNER:  As a leader in the industry, what sets us apart is first of all that we offer not just a consumer vehicle but wheelchair lifts for consumer and commercial.  We just have more diversified offering than anyone else in the industry.  We’ve always been known for our quality.  Quality and reliable product.  This is something that Ralph really instilled in us from the early years, because we all knew that any given day he could come down to do someand asked to drive one of our vehicles and take it for a test drive or have it over the weekend.  Every vehicle, every lift we build was built for Ralph and that’s something that he make sure that when you.  Not just that was built for him but it could be both for anyone of our family members and to keep that in mind.  That sets us apart.The fit and finish.  It’s not uncommon for us to be told I didn’t realize that Toyota or Chrysler made a wheelchair accessible vehicle because what we do blends so seamlessly with the original automotive design and the interior and exterior.  That’s something that we feel strongly about.  Just because you’re in an accessible vehicle, it doesn’t need to scream that.  We make sure it’s as mainstream as possible.WADE WINGLER:  And on the tour you mentioned that one of the highest compliments can be paid it’s that somebody mistakes your product for something that was made by Toyota or Honda or Chrysler.  That’s important.  You’ve mentioned Ralph Braun in the past tense.  We lost him not too long ago, right?MEGAN WAGNER:  He passed away in February at the age of 72 so he long outlived the doctor’s original prognosis.  He left such an impact on us.  He was very instrumental in orchestrating the leadership team that would follow and fulfill his vision for the company.  We’re in good hands and that’s thanks to Ralph.WADE WINGLER:  That’s really important.  It seems to me that he was probably somebody who cared a lot about his employees and I’ve only been here for an hour or so and feel a family feel about the organization here.  Tell me a little bit about the folks who work here.MEGAN WAGNER:  Ralph always that there is no place in the world to find employees than small-town America.  He loved his hometown of Winamac, Indiana, so much.  It’s a small town, so 2500 people.  Right now we have just a round 900 employees.  So that gives you an idea of how the board Braun Ability is within our community.  Just a fantastic place to work, great culture, great family atmosphere.  That was all by Ralph’s design.WADE WINGLER:  You can certainly feel that when you’re here.  Let’s say that somebody in my audience today, this is the first time they’ve thought about wheelchair vans and accessibility.  What’s a good place for them to start learning about this process?  If they just want to figure out the one on one about adaptive wheelchair vans and those kinds of things, where would you draw them?  What a great place to start?MEGAN WAGNER:  I’d start with our website,  It is overwhelming.  You’ve got so many options in front of you and so many questions to ask.  Start with the website.  It’s a good place to get educated.  From there we have a network of dealers.  200+ dealers across the country.  These aren’t dealers, more mobility specialist, so they know the questions to ask.  They know what vehicles are out there that would better fit your lifestyle or your height or the number of people in your family.  They are trained to ask these questions and find the right mobility increment for you.  It’s an investment that you’re making.  It’s something that’s not inexpensive and you want to make sure you’re making the right decision.  So we really recommend that you take that next step at a local dealer.WADE WINGLER:  And I know that it’s not just you guys here at the corporate manufacture facility putting them out.  It’s the dealer network.  Also there’s the role of driving specialist and people in the rehab field who are involved in that.  Can you tell me a little bit about their role?MEGAN WAGNER:  Sure.  Our local dealers will work very closely with the driver specialist in their community.  It’s essential to have a close partnership.  That’s another benefit of working with a local dealer.  I’ve gone to consumer shows in the past where someone will see our vehicle and not ever have considered that they could actually drive.  Just assumed that they would be a passenger in a vehicle for their entire lives.  Having the right conversations with the right people that open those doors.  That’s what’s so great about what you do with your podcast and getting the word out there.  We just want to break down those barriers and make sure that people realize what’s out there as far as technology and where they can go.WADE WINGLER:  Absolutely.  It’s about independence and getting the word out.  That’s the first step.  Let’s look a little bit into the past and a little bit into the future.  When I took the tour, I saw pictures of a mail truck and some full-size vans and some minivans.  Tell me a little bit about how the technology here has changed over the years and what you see happening in the future.MEGAN WAGNER:  As far as what’s changed, we just continue to refine what we do so well, and that’s built a quality, reliable mobility product.  We’re making advancements, making our vehicles quieter, improving the technology features.  We recently launched a new Chrysler in floor, showing that you can either have a foldout or in floor technology.  Something we are really excited about is we’re looking into the SUV market and realizing that not everyone wants to drive a minivan.  So there’s a market out there for SUVs as well.  That’s something that you can look for to in the future from us.WADE WINGLER:  Excellent.  Megan, folks are going to want to follow up and learn more about Braun and how to connect with you and continue the conversation.  Tell me again the contact information you’d like to offer for folks who want to continue talking with you or learn more about what’s going here at Braun.MEGAN WAGNER:  Certainly our website,  We would love to see you on Facebook as well.  We have a very active following on Facebook and Twitter.  Please visit us on YouTube and getting our products that way too.WADE WINGLER:  It’s not every day that I get to spend more time wearing safety glasses and a factory environment.  I certainly enjoyed my time here today learning about Braun Ability and the products that they do.  Megan Wagner is a brand manager for Braun Ability.  Megan, thank you so much for your hospitality and being on our show today.MEGAN WAGNER:  Pleasure to have you.  Thank you.WADE WINGLER:  Do you have a question about assistive technology? Do you have a suggestion for someone we should interview on Assistive Technology Update? Call our listener line at 317-721-7124. Looking for show notes from today’s show? Head on over to Shoot us a note on Twitter @INDATAProject, or check us out on Facebook. That was your Assistance Technology Update. I’m Wade Wingler with the INDATA Project at Easter Seals Crossroads in Indiana.Share this…TwitterFacebookPinterestLinkedInEmailPrint RelatedATU188 – Wheel Life & The Bally Foundation, Look at Me app for Autism, Applevis’ Golden Apple Awards, Birdhouse for AutismJanuary 2, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU182 – Roger Voice, KNFB Reader, RESNA’s new Singapore Conference, Legislative Update From Audrey Busch, Drive About Number Neighborhood AppNovember 21, 2014In “Assistive Technology Update”ATU228 – iOS 9 and Its Impact on People with Disabilities | Luis Perez | Free AT Webinars, Insulin and Blood Sugar Monitoring on Your Smart Phone, Robots and AutismOctober 9, 2015In “Assistive Technology Update”last_img read more