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Greg Siskind on Immigration Law and Policy

IMMIGRANT OF THE DAY: T.V. RAMAN - COMPUTER SCIENTIST

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Raman
Today is the 200th anniversary of the birth of Louis Braille, the creator of the Braille reading system used by blind people throughout the world. Most of you learned about the Braille embossed points that have been adapted in languages across the world.

A modern day Louis Braille was profiled this morning in the New York Times. T.V. Raman, a native of India, works at Google in California and, has been creating a variety of innovative technology tools for blind people. Like Louis Braille, Mr. Raman is also blind. He built a version of Google for the blind and is now working on a touch-screen phone geared toward blind customers. According to the Times:

"What Raman does is amazing," said Paul Schroeder, vice president for
programs and policy at the American Foundation for the Blind, which
conducts research on technology that can help visually impaired people.
"He is a leading thinker on accessibility issues, and his capacity to
design and alter technology to meet his needs is unique."

Some
of Mr. Raman's innovations may help make electronic gadgets and Web
services more user-friendly for everyone. Instead of asking how
something should work if a person cannot see, he says he prefers to
ask, "How should something work when the user is not looking at the
screen?"

Such systems could prove useful for drivers or anyone
else who could benefit from eyes-free access to a phone. They could
also appeal to aging baby boomers with fading vision who want to keep
using technology they've come to depend on.

Mr. Raman's approach
reflects a recognition that many innovations designed primarily for
people with disabilities have benefited the broader public, said Larry
Goldberg, who oversees the National Center for Accessible Media at
WGBH, the public broadcasting station in Boston. They include curb cuts
for wheelchairs, captions for television broadcasts and optical
character-recognition technology, which was fine-tuned to create
software that could read printedbooks aloud and is now used in many computer applications, he said.
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