George's Open Road

  • INTERVIEWED BY:

    Being You

  • INTERVIEW LOCATION:

    San Rafael, CA

GEORGE KERSCHER

Secretary General
DAISY Consortium

“You can’t build a life around hoping for something to come and cure you; you have to figure out ways to make things work.”

INTERESTS:

Education Technology

THEMES DISCUSSED:

Acceptance Exploration Determination Education

FOUNDATION:

Helping People

TAGS:

acceptance, accessibility, blindness, books, change, digital books, disability, education, helping others, innovation, internet, perseverance, problem solver, programming, publishing, technology, travel

BIOGRAPHY:

  • Has retinitis pigmentosa, which causes a very gradual degeneration of the retina.
  • His vision started declining at age 21 and he became totally blind at age 77.
  • Says “if you like puzzles, having a disability is great; you’re constantly trying to find new ways to make things work for you.”
  • Because he had so much time to cope with his slowly degenerating eyesight, he was able to think of and implement solutions for other blind people.
  • After he finished his undergraduate studies, he went back to school to pursue a master’s degree in computer science.
  • However, all of his materials were in print, and as his eyesight was starting to fail, he had trouble reading his books for class.
  • He wrote to the textbook companies and requested the floppy disks that contained the material in his textbooks.
  • From those disks, he wrote software that allowed his computer to read his books aloud to him, essentially developing the first audiobook.

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