In the summer of 2017 Christopher Mutch met a man who has been blind from birth. Over the next few months circumstances provided the opportunity for him explore the world of the blind. Seeing first-hand the high-cost and limited technology available, it didn't take long for Christopher to conclude that, "There has to be a better way."
It took a year of getting up at 3:00 a.m. to work on the project for five hours before going to his regular job. Those early-morning hours started with learning all he could about the current technology and the challenges the blind and visually impaired face every day trying to function in a digital world, particularly in a work environment. The next step was visualizing a solution for each challenge. That step led to teaching himself how to write code and then pull it all together into one program.
Two years later, the result of all his hard work is Speak ACCESS, a voice-activated program that enables users to write in a variety of applications, browse the Internet, and get answers to basic questions like, "What time is it?" with just a headset and microphone. It’s still a work in progress but we’re almost there!!
Christopher's partner in this enterprise is his mom, Norah LeClare (link opens in a new window or tab). In addition to providing financial support, she has put to good use the skills gained from over 40 years of being in business. After considerable research, Norah designed this website specifically for people who are blind or visually impaired so it can be read easily with a screen reader. She also designed the logo, created the Facebook page and looks after financial matters.
Christopher and Norah talk daily about the program; what’s been learned and what still needs to be done. The hope, but not necessarily the expectation, is that the program will be ready for testing at the end of the summer. To keep up with the progress being made follow us on Facebook and/or the Speak ACCESS Blog.