Telesensory Systems

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Telesensory Systems, Inc. (TSI) (later TeleSensory Corporation) was an American corporation that invented, designed, manufactured, and distributed technological aids for blind and low vision persons. TSI's products helped visually impaired people work independently[1] with computers and with ordinary printed materials.


The Optacon,[2] TSI's first product, was conceived by Electrical Engineering Professor John G. Linvill as a means for his blind daughter, Candy, to read ordinary print. The Optacon development, led by James C. Bliss, involved dozens of engineers and scientists at Stanford University and at Stanford Research Institute (now SRI International) starting in 1962. Following the successful demonstration of a functional prototype in 1969, TSI was founded[3] in 1970 in Palo Alto, California, USA. TSI developed a line of products for blind people during the 1970s, and expanded into the low vision field in 1984.

TSI's products for blind people employed either tactile or auditory means of conveying information; its low vision products increased the size and contrast of printed material or computer screen images. Some TSI products consisted of software only, but most also needed custom electronics hardware.

For thirty-five years TSI provided electronic assistive devices to visually impaired persons worldwide.[4][5] Concurrently computer technology improved and computer operating systems began to incorporate accessibility options such as speech screen readers or magnification for no cost. Having changed its name to "TeleSensory", the company shifted its focus to low visions products and stopped manufacturing blindness products in the early 1990s.

In March, 2005, TeleSensory, the former TSI, abruptly declared Chapter 7 bankruptcy and all its employees were escorted from the building.[6]

In August, 2005, InSiPhil (S) Pte Ltd. of Singapore purchased TeleSensory's intellectual property and remaining assets and resumed production of some of the low vision products under the name and logo of TeleSensory. As of early 2010, these products are available in 50 countries.

Selected products for blind people[edit]

The Speech+ talking calculator

Selected products for visually impaired people[edit]

  • Vista[15] (screen enlarger for computer access)
  • Vantage (closed-circuit TV magnifier for print or images)
  • Aladdin[16] (video magnifier)
  • PICO (handheld video magnifier)


  1. ^ "High-Tech Devices That Help in Seeing". New York Times. October 29, 1987. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  2. ^ J.G. Linvill and J.C. Bliss (1966). "A Direct Translation Reading Aid for the Blind". Proceedings of the IEEE. IEEE Press. 54 (1): 40–51. doi:10.1109/PROC.1966.4572.
  3. ^ "Assistive Technology Timeline". American Foundation for the Blind. Archived from the original on 2011-05-25. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  4. ^ "Library Services for the Visually Handicapped (Malaysia)" (PDF). UNESCO. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  5. ^ "Assistive Devices for the Visually Impaired" (PDF). Blind Peoples Association of India. pp. 208–209. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  6. ^ Kendrick, Deborah (July 2005). "From Optacon to Oblivion: The Telesensory Story". AFB Access World. Retrieved 2009-01-20.
  7. ^ Zaitsev, V. V. (1976). "Reading Machines for the Blind". Biomedical Engineering. Springer New York. 10 (5): 296–299. doi:10.1007/BF00558749. ISSN 0006-3398.
  8. ^ Kent Stein, Deborah. "The Optacon: Past, Present, and Future". Blind Service Association of Chicago. Retrieved 2009-01-25.
  9. ^ "Speech+". Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  10. ^ "Development of the TSI Speech+". Retrieved 2015-02-23.
  11. ^ High Tech Center Training Unit of the California Community Colleges, Product Guide to Adaptive Computer Hardware and Software (PDF). pg. A17. Accessed 2007-02-02.
  12. ^ "Versabraille system". Museum of the American Printing House for the Blind. Archived from the original on 2008-11-21. Retrieved 2009-01-24.
  13. ^ "OSCAR". Abledata (National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, USDoE). Archived from the original on June 6, 2011. Retrieved 2009-01-25.CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  14. ^ Brett, Arlene; Eugene F. Provenzo (May 1995). Adaptive Technology for Special Human Needs. SUNY Press. p. 61. ISBN 978-0-7914-2308-0.
  15. ^ Su, Joseph C. (Oct 1998). "A review of Telesensory's Vista PCI screen magnification system". Journal of Visual Impairment and Blindness. 92 (10): 707–710. doi:10.1177/0145482X9809201001.
  16. ^ "Hardware Overview: Aladdin Magnifier". Indiana University. Retrieved 2009-01-20.