Winter Quarter 2011 Course Announcement

Perspectives in Assistive Technology

David L. Jaffe, MS and Professor Drew Nelson
Tuesdays & Thursdays   4:15pm - 5:30pm
Main Quad, Building 370, Classroom 370


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Thursday, January 27th

photo of Bill Gerrey

Tools and Techniques for Individuals with Visual Impairments
William A. Gerrey, BSEE
Rehabilitation Engineering Center, Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute

Abstract: A good problem statement often leads to simple devices and alternate procedures that require very little adaptations. A set of tools and instruments serving the job-related and daily-living activities of individuals with vision impairments will be displayed and described including techniques for electronic and mechanical measurement.

Biosketch: Bill Gerrey has worked as an electrical engineer at the Rehabilitation Engineering Center of the Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco for over 35 years where he designs vocational assistive devices, including measuring instruments and devices relating to job modification.

Bill was born in Reno, NV in 1947 and has been totally blind since a very early age. His interest in devices for the blind goes back to his early childhood. His father, who was also blind, kindled his passions for radio and early recording machines. His father's collection of The Braille Technical Press which dates back to 1950 became an integral part of Bill's education. With the encouragement of Robert W. Gunderson, the editor of the magazine, the Technical File, a publication of technical information for blind enthusiasts, was born and continues to be supported by Smith-Kettlewell.

He got his amateur radio license (WA6NPC) in 1960 as a teenager and now holds an Extra Class license.

Bill earned a Bachelor's degree in Electronics Engineering from California State Polytechnic College in San Luis Obispo in 1971.

His many activities include:
  • founder and editor of the Smith-Kettlewell Technical File (an international magazine for the blind)
  • lecturer at state rehabilitation technical seminars
  • exhibitor at the annual RESNA conferences and the Lawerence Hall of Science Career Program
  • field instructor for the Sensory Aids Foundation
  • participant on the Handicapped Scientists Panel at the AAAS Annual Conference
  • expert witness before the California State Attorney General's Commission on Disability
  • teacher of classes on electricity and magnetism at the Lawton Elementary School in San Francisco
  • panelist at the Arizona Governor's Committee on Employment of the Blind
  • instructor of Exploring the Mysteries of Creativity workshop sponsored by the San Francisco Unified School District Center for the Advancement and Renewal of Educators
  • member of the NIDRR / GSA Task Force on Accessibility Guideleines for Electronic Equipment
  • member of the Advisory Committee for Computer and Customer Service Training Program of the Lions Blind Center in Oakland

Bill is a member of many professional organizations including IEEE, RESNA, AAAS, and NFB.

Bill's other interests include piano restoration and collecting cylinder and other old recordings. He lives in San Francisco with his wife.

Contact information:
The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center
The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute
2318 Filmore St.
San Francisco, CA  94115
Lecture Material:
Pre-lecture slides - 634 Kb pdf file
Audio - 1:22:55 - 18.7 Mb mp3 file
Independent Living Aids Catalog
The Seven Cycles of Braille
Rehabilitation Engineering - Small Scale with Impact
Support Services and Principles of Adapting to Vision Loss
Infant Patting Device
Development and Evaluation of a Thoracic Pressure Chair For a Student with Autism
Paper discussing a therapeutic thoracic pressure chair (TPC) developed for a 13-year-old male student with autism. The components of the chair consist of a motor that rotates a set of two pulleys. A single length of aircraft wire is connected to the two ends of a pressure platform and pulley. When the motor is activated, the pulley system is rotated. The pressure platform then rises along four guide rods and moves towards the user’s chest. With the aid of a gas spring, the platform is guided away from the user’s chest, and the door opens at its starting position. After a six-month follow up, the teachers reported that the student used the chair at least once a day.
Bill Gerrey
Smith-Kettlewell Technical Files
Leading the Blind
Josh Miele's blog entry about Bill
Talking Signs
Smith-Kettlewell Display Tools
Devices Supportive of Research
LS&S Group

Updated 01/28/2011

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