Eyes on Success

Wednesday and Sunday at 5 p.m.
  • Hosted by Peter and Nancy Torpey

Eyes On Success presents information, demonstrations and discussion of products, services, and life experiences that help people with vision loss live independently and productively.  Topics range from detailed descriptions of adaptive equipment and programs such as screen readers and portable Braille displays to discussions of various accessible reading materials to personal stories of engaging in extreme sports and other hobbies. There's something for everyone on Eyes On Success.

Eyes On Success is hosted and produced by Peter Torpey and Nancy Goodman Torpey and distributed by WXXI Reachout Radio in Rochester, NY.  Nancy and Pete speak from personal experiences.  As retired physicists, and self-proclaimed "geeks" Pete, who is blind carries the heavy tech load, and Nancy who is sighted provides the warmth and color commentary.

Ways to Connect

This week hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey bring together three leaders in the field of assistive technology: Deane Blazie, Jim Fruchterman, and Ted Henter.  They made pioneering contributions to the development of refreshable Braille displays, OCR, and screen readers, respectively.  Learn what each of them is up to today in this informative round table discussion.


Aira is a service developed to give the blind instant access to information using a smart phone, a video camera, and a remote sighted agent.  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with Erich Manser, a blind distance runner and triathlete, and Jess Jakeway, a sighted distance runner who served as Erich’s remote guide using Aira at the 2017 Boston Marathon.

Mass Audubon

Many outdoor trails have been made so that they can now be enjoyed by people of varying abilities.  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with Jerry Berrier, a blind nature enthusiast, and Lucy Gertz of the Mass Audubon Society about what constitutes an accessible trail, how they are developed, and how they can be enjoyed by the blind.

EOS 1736: Tips for Technology and Daily Living

Aug 28, 2017
The Mercury News

Back by popular demand, this episode is another in the series of useful tips and tricks that you might or might not have known about.  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey share ideas and demos from listeners (as well as from themselves) on topics from using smart phones and computers to dealing with everyday life.  There’s sure to be a gem in here for everyone.

Wikimedia Commons

Jane Kronheim and Roger Cicchese are audio engineers who specialize in restoring old audio recordings.  Recently, they digitized recordings of Helen Keller for the archives of the American Foundation for the Blind.  Listen to this and other recordings as hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with them about their work and share some fun stories.

National Eye Institute - NIH

Retinitis pigmentosa (RP) is a group of rare, genetic disorders that involve a breakdown and loss of cells in the retina—which is the light sensitive tissue that lines the back of the eye.  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with Ruanne Vent-Schmidt, a graduate student with RP whose research is focused on understanding the condition and developing treatments.

EOS 1733: ElBraille, 08/09/17

Aug 7, 2017

ElBraille is a portable mobile computer running on Windows 10 together with JAWS. It also contains a docking station, integrated with Freedom Scientific’s Focus 14 Braille display.  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with Svetlana Vasilyeva and Adi Kushnir of the Elita Group about this device designed for blind and deaf-blind users.

The Elita Group is a leading assistive technology company based in Moscow (Russia). For over 10 years, they've helped those who are blind or have low vision to achieve their personal and professional goals.

American Foundation for the Blind

Getting ready for and attending college can be a daunting process, even if one is fully sighted.  But what if one has a visual impairment?  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with Ellen Trief, a Professor at Hunter College, about her book “College Bound – A Guide for Students with Visual Impairments” which offers practical advice for prospective and current students.

EOS 1731: Moving Experiences, 07/26/17

Jul 24, 2017

Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey finally completed their move cross country from Rochester, New York to Golden, Colorado.  They describe the experience highlighting aspects from the perspective of one who is visually impaired. Join them as they talk about selecting a house, packing and unpacking, making the trip, and even taking time to have a little fun!


As a U.S. Army infantryman in World War II, Don Wedewer lost his vision and both legs at the age of 19.  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with Don’s son, Harry, about how his father overcame institutional and social barriers and went on to have a family and rewarding career in which he worked to improve the lives of other people with vision loss.

Read the story of how infantryman Wedewer overcame seemingly impossible odds to become a state and national leader in helping those with vision loss.


As smart phones become more powerful and numerous, people have developed great apps for them. This week hosts Peter and Nancy Torpey will discuss and demonstrate how you can directly download books onto a smart phone and read them with it. Apps include Read2Go from Bookshare, Overdrive from public libraries, and an app from Learning Ally.

Foundation Fighting Blindness

Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey speak with Leonard Olijar, director of the Bureau of Engraving and Printing about current features to make US currency easier for visually impaired people to identify it, as well as their plans to make it easier still. We’ll also discuss their smart phone app and free hardware device that can identify US currency for you.

Note: Beginning in 2019, the U.S. will introduce new currency that accommodates the visually impaired.


Braille Labeling and Learning Products:  “Wouldn’t it be great if?” was the question that sparked a father to develop a novel way for his autistic son to communicate with others.  Eventually LoganTech was formed and went on to develop assistive devices for the blind.  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with Glen Dobbs, founder of LoganTech, about his journey and products he developed.

Cornell Tech - Cornell University

Advances in computer technologies have opened up opportunities for assisting the visually impaired in new and innovative ways.  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with Shiri Azenkot, Assistant Professor at the Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute at Cornell Tech, about some of her current projects and research in accessibility and human computer interactions.

EOS 1725: Low Vision Optometry, 06/14/17

Jun 12, 2017

There is no question that people with vision problems should be seen by an ophthalmologist to evaluate their condition.  Low vision specialists, on the other hand, aim to provide solutions to help in daily living.  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with Dr. George Kornfeld, a low vision optometrist, about aids and services that you might find beneficial.

Check out these resources for low vision aids:

Reachout Radio recognized by IAAIS Awards

Jun 5, 2017

On Saturday, June 3, the IAAIS presented the C. Stanley Potter Lifetime Achievement Award to WXXI Program Director Ruth Phinney.  The Potter Award is the highest honor give by IAAIS, the International Association of Audio Information Services, recognizing lifetime commitment of providing accessibility to print and other visual arts in an audio format for people who may have print or visual limitations.


Jim Fruchterman is the founder and CEO of Benetech, which operates Bookshare, an accessible online library of e-books in audio, Braille, large font and other formats for people with print disabilities.  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with him about how he became interested in OCR, the founding of Arkenstone, and the inspiration behind Bookshare.


If you use the JAWS screen reader, chances are you've heard of Ted Henter who founded Henter-Joyce and later sold the company to Freedom Scientific. This week, Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with Ted about his contributions to assistive technologies and other projects. If you think you know where the "Joyce" came from in Henter-Joyce, be prepared for a surprise!

National Braille Press

In the course of his career, Deane Blazie developed and produced the Braille ‘n Speak, the Braille Lite, the Braille Blazer and other innovations in accessibility technology. Join hosts Peter and Nancy Torpey as they speak with him about those, other of his products and some more recent projects he’s worked on.


The Cisco Academy for the Visually Impaired, or CAVI, is a technology school for the blind and visually impaired that offers remote classes covering many topics from music production to computer systems administration.  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with Brian Shaw, one of CAVI’s teachers, about their programs and how they work.

EOS 1720: NVDA Conference 2017, 05/10/17

May 8, 2017

NVDA is a free screen reader for Windows.  For the past several years, the annual NVDACon has provided a forum for developers, users, and others to share what’s new, suggestions for future improvements, and much more.  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with Derek Riemer and Bhavya Shah, co-chairs of this year’s annual international web-based conference.

EOS 1719: Accessible Linux, 05/03/17

May 1, 2017

Linux is a free alternative operating system for your computer.  However, of the many versions of Linux that exist, only Vinux and Sonar GNU have been accessible to the visually impaired out of the box.  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with several contributors to these projects about plans to merge both versions and what to expect in the future.

COMMENTS:  Rob Whyte, Kyle Brouhard, Kendell Clark, Luke Yelavich

American Foundation for the Blind

Helen Selsdon is the archivist for the American Foundation for the Blind.  She joined the AFB in 2002 to organize and preserve the Helen Keller Archives.  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with her about her work and about this rich source of information on the history of visual impairment, women's history, literary history, and American culture.

Read more about the archive project.


Much adaptive technology relies on speech synthesis, which has evolved from humble beginnings to nearly human sounding speech. Hosts Nancy Goodman Torpey and Peter Torpey talk with Andrew Breen, director of innovation for text to speech at Nuance Communications, about the history, current technology and future goals of speech synthesis.


Even as a child, Jo Elizabeth Pinto enjoyed writing.  Now, what started as a few chapters in high school, has grown into her debut novel, “The Bright Side of Darkness.”  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with her about the experiences that led her to write this book about a brave young blind girl and her unlikely friend, and also about getting it published.

Jo Elizabeth Pinto lives in Colorado. She works as a freelance Braille proofreader and writer. The Bright Side of Darkness, her first novel, is available in Kindle, audio, and paperback formats. Read more about her in her NFB article, Learning to Raise My Hand - And Find My Voice.

EOS 1715: Audio Book Narrator, 04/05/17

Apr 3, 2017

You’ve probably heard her voice on a Talking Book from the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.  Martha Harmon Pardee has narrated over 3,000 books for the NLS.  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with her about the process of recording audio books, notable moments in her career, and what else she does as a professional voice artist.

EOS 1714: Blind Software Engineer, 03/29/17

Mar 27, 2017

Computers are very accessible to the visually impaired these days.  There are also many attractive employment opportunities for those with computer-related skills, particularly if they know how to program.  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with Tom Shults, a blind engineer, about his career and how he uses these skills in developing new hardware devices.

EOS 1713: Ultra Sports Challenges, 03/22/17

Mar 20, 2017

Erik Weihenmayer, the first blind person to summit Mt. Everest, has released a new book called “No Barriers: A Blind Man’s Journey to Kayak the Grand Canyon”.  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with him about his adventures and about “No Barriers”, an organization he co-founded whose mission is to help people with challenges face barriers head on.

National Technical Assistance Center - Mississippi State University

The SAS Graphics Accelerator makes graphical data accessible to the visually impaired by dynamically producing alternative presentations in the form of verbal description, sonification, and tabular data.  Ed Summers, a blind engineer and head of the accessibility team at SAS, demos the tools and discusses their use with hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey.

EOS 1711: Teaching Blind Children, 03/08/17

Mar 6, 2017
Horticultural Therapy Institute

Carol Puchalski has worked for over 30 years as a developmental psychology consultant at the Anchor School for Blind Children in Colorado.  She recently returned from a trip to Uganda where she volunteered to assist a school for the blind.  Hosts Nancy and Peter Torpey talk with Carol about her experiences helping blind children both in the U.S. and abroad.