Blind Bargains

Blind Bargains Top 10 Stories of 2010 5. The Sudden Passing of a Pioneer

We're into the second half of our annual look at the most influential, ground-breaking, or otherwise
important stories of 2010. In addition to our own staff, we consulted with some industry
experts including ACB Radio Main Menu's Jamie Pauls, the Blind Geek Zone's Rick Harmon
and Ranger from the Ranger Station Blog to help create our list. We'll present one
item every day until we reach number 1. Number 5 is a sad note on this year's list.

For those who are recent adopters of accessible cell phone technology, it's often easy to forget the complete lack of access which existed just a few years ago. Before Apple, Code Factory, Humanware, or the Eyes-free project, one man had a vision to change this. Torsten Brand took the then high-end Nokia 9290 Communicator and combined it with text-to-speech technology, introducing the first screen reader for a mobile platform. Talks was innovative in many respects, offering access to Email, web browsing, GPS, and many other apps available on a mobile platform. Brand prooved the same access principles used on desktop PCs could be applied to a mobile environment, and was the leader for many of the early accessible phone adopters.

He died suddenly of complications during an operation, just days after the release of Talks version 5. While others at Nuance remain committed to the future development of the software, his insight and ability to adapt access solutions to emerging trends will certainly be missed. Just ask the employees of Humanware about how tragedy can effect the future direction of a company. While other screen readers are overshadowing Talks currently, Torsten's legacy as a pioneer continues to have an effect on the way mobile professionals work and play. A condolence book has been filled with well wishes and memories for Torsten's family. The sudden passing of Torsten Brand is number 5 on this year's list.

Category: Articles

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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.

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