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University of Connecticut Assistive Technology Oral History Project

Dean Blazie

Date: January 28-30, 2010

Dean Blazie started out as a Ham radio operator at the age of 12 and met a blind man, Tim Cranmer, who at the time was Director of Services for the Blind in Kentucky. A friendship that lasted until Tim died five years ago.

Tim would come up with electronic devices that would be helpful for people who were blind and Dean would build them. In 1987 Dean and another friend came out with the Braille and Speak. They hoped to sell a hundred of them, but they ended up selling more than 50,000.

After he sold his company, he enjoyed a lot of fishing and boating, surfing, bicycle riding, running, and mountain climbing. But then a year or so ago Brian MacDonald from National Braille Press wanted him to help out with their Center for Braille Innovation. So now Dean is working on something he has talked about for 25 or 30 years – a full-page Braille display.

If you download the transcript you will see that he is also involved in other projects like Braille for Everyone. Dean Blazie has certainly been a powerful force in producing technology products for individuals who are blind.

Snippet 1: "It sounds like AT is lucky you met Tim Cranmer."

Snippet 2: "How did Maryland Computer Services get into the blindness business?"


Download: Full Transcript