Innovation Hours: Giving the Gift of Podcasting for the Legally Blind

Our Innovation Hours Program gives our employees time to work on their passion projects every week. As part of this series, we are highlighting how individuals are working on themselves, working on their startups, working on their community, and working on the labs. Noah Tatko, Full Stack Developer, has worked at the labs for several years.

Noahs grandfather is legally blind but wants to take up podcasting. As an upcoming Christmas gift, Noah used his 1904labs innovation hours time to make him a set of buttons that should successfully let him use his computer without needing to actually use his computer directly. The goal here wasn’t to eliminate the need for a computer or computer software, merely to remove the need for a screen interface, and move the controls from the mouse to a predefined set of buttons.

After Noah found out it is estimated that only one in ten legally blind people can read Braille – he felt this was a great opportunity to find other ways to bring computers to those who can’t see, like his grandfather! 

Built using a teensy 4.0, which is a beefy microcontroller, like an arduino, that lets software pretend to be a keyboard. Noah liked teensy 4.0 because it has pullup resistors, so he could use common ground for both buttons and LEDs. Also, it has built-in libraries to emulate a keyboard, joystick, midi, whatever you want.

Instead of telling you how it works, it is best to just show you! 

If you are interested in doing something similar, here is Noah’s github repo.


This is one story of how our team is spending their time during Innovation Hours. Read more about the innovative projects our employees dedicate their time to in our Innovation Hours blog series

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