As Braille Literacy Month comes to a close, we want to share a story about the integral role braille plays at home, in school, and in the workplace. Marco Midon serves as Project Manager for NASA’s Space Weather Follow-On (SWFO) Antenna Network (SAN). This spacecraft, which is set to launch in 2025, is designed to monitor the weather in space.
Midon, who is blind, regularly uses braille to perform high-level math and other work-related tasks. Before losing his vision, he needed a way to solve math equations quickly and efficiently to work in the field of engineering.
Rather than using Nemeth Braille, Midon created his own system that corresponded with the visual formatting of equations he was accustomed to in print. This enabled him to work faster and be more competitive in the workplace.
Midon also uses a refreshable braille display when giving PowerPoint presentations. This enables him to read slide content and notes rather than listening to speech through an earpiece while he presents.
Midon used a combination of braille and other tactile devices in school, and also utilizes braille at home. As he explains, braille literacy goes beyond math and PowerPoint. It can be used to label items, write notes, read books, and keep track of important information. “Speech is great, and it is a way to get information very quickly at a comparable speed, but there are some things that you can’t do any other way. You can’t substitute braille.”
Want to learn more about the importance of braille literacy? Check out Ron Miller’s interview to hear Marco Midon’s full story, and listen to the latest episode of FSCast for interviews with braille transcriber Matthew Horspool and Duxbury creator Joe Sullivan.