blind_html Fwd: [Nfbnet-members-list] Blind Man to Take to the Road at Daytona International Speedway

  • From: Nimer Jaber <nimerjaber1@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: blind_html <blind_html@xxxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2011 20:24:09 -0600

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: David Andrews <dandrews@xxxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 28 Jan 2011 16:14:24 -0600
Subject: [Nfbnet-members-list] Blind Man to Take to the Road at
Daytona International Speedway
To: nfbnet-members-list@xxxxxxxxxx

Chris Danielsen
Director of Public Relations
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)
Blind Man to Take to the Road
at Daytona International Speedway
Baltimore, Maryland (January 28, 2011):

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB), the oldest and largest
organization of blind people in the nation, announced
today that Mark Anthony Riccobono, a blind executive who directs
technology, research, and education programs for the organization,
will be the first blind
individual to drive a street vehicle in public.  Mr. Riccobono will
be behind the wheel of a Ford Escape hybrid equipped with nonvisual
technology allowing
a blind person to drive it independently as part of a historic
demonstration scheduled during pre-race activities leading up to the
Rolex 24 at the Daytona
International Speedway.  The demonstration is set to take place at
11:30 a.m. EST on January 29.
Mr. Riccobono said: "I have been blind since the age of five, so I
never got to try for a driver's license or drive a car without
another person telling
me which way to steer.  The NFB's leadership in the Blind Driver
Challenge(tm) has taken something almost everyone believed was an
impossible dream and
turned it into reality.  I am looking forward to getting behind the
wheel and demonstrating to the world that being blind does not
prevent me from engaging
in any activity I choose as long as I am able to get the information
I need.  This will be a truly historic occasion for my blind brothers
and sisters
and for America, and I am humbled and proud to be part of it."
Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind,
said: "The sight of a blind individual driving a vehicle without
assistance from a sighted
person will shake the foundation of public misconceptions about
blindness and blind people by showing that even tasks that are
thought to require vision
are possible if a blind person has access to information in a
nonvisual way.  Vision is not a requirement for success.  Capacity,
imagination, and determination
are all that is needed, and blind people have all of these qualities."
Mr. Riccobono was the first director of the Wisconsin Center for the
Blind and Visually Impaired, a state agency that serves Wisconsin's
blind children.
Since coming to the headquarters of the National Federation of the
Blind in 2003, he has spearheaded many initiatives, including
educational programs designed
to engage blind youth in the fields of science, technology,
engineering, and mathematics.  He currently serves as executive
director of the NFB Jernigan
Institute.  He and his wife Melissa, who has worked as a school
counselor and serves as president of the Maryland affiliate of the
NFB, live in Baltimore
with their two small children, Austin and Oriana.
The NFB Blind Driver Challenge(tm) is a research project of the
National Federation of the Blind Jernigan Institute-the only research
and training facility
on blindness operated by the blind.  The Jernigan Institute
challenged universities, technology developers, and other interested
innovators to establish
NFB Blind Driver Challenge(tm) (BDC) teams, in collaboration with the
NFB, to build interface technologies that will empower blind people
to drive a car
independently.  The purpose of the NFB Blind Driver Challenge(tm) is
to stimulate the development of nonvisual interface technology.  The
Virginia Tech/TORC
NFB BDC team, under the direction of Dr. Dennis Hong, Director of the
Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory at Virginia Tech., is the only
team that has accepted
the challenge.  The team uses the ByWire XGV(tm) developed by TORC
technologies as the research platform for the development and testing
of the nonvisual
interface technologies that allow a blind person to drive.
For more information about the NFB, please visit
  For our digital news release about the Blind Driver Challenge(tm)
and the debut of the BDC car at the Rolex 24, including audio and
video clips for television
and radio, please visit


About the National Federation of the Blind
With more than 50,000 members, the National Federation of the Blind
is the largest and most influential membership organization of blind
people in the United
States.  The NFB improves blind people's lives through advocacy,
education, research, technology, and programs encouraging
independence and self-confidence.
It is the leading force in the blindness field today and the voice of
the nation's blind.  In January 2004 the NFB opened the National
Federation of the
Blind Jernigan Institute, the first research and training center in
the United States for the blind led by the blind.

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