Purdue Research Park-based Independence Science Inc. will be recognized by the American Foundation for the Blind with its annual Access Award. The company develops products and services to increase access to science education for students with visual impairments. Previous award winners include Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL) and Google Inc. (Nasdaq: GOOG). We featured the company in December's life sciences e-newsletter. You can view that article by clicking here.

February 4, 2014

News Release

West Lafayette, Ind. — A Purdue Research Park-based company that strengthens hands-on experiments in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) courses for students who are blind or visually impaired will be recognized by the American Foundation for the Blind.

Independence Science Inc., founded by Purdue University alumnus Cary Supalo, will receive the American Foundation for the Blind's Access Award at the organization's 2014 Leadership Conference, Feb. 27-March 1 in New York. Previous winners of the American Foundation for the Blind's Access Award include Apple, CBS, Google, IBM, McDonald's and Panasonic.

Supalo, assistant professor of chemical education at Illinois State University, said being recognized with the Access Award is a prominent honor.

“The American Foundation for the Blind is one of the oldest and most prestigious organizations serving persons who are blind in the United States,” he said. “They have been involved with the blind community for over a century.”

Independence Science develops products and services to improve access to STEM curricula, and adapts mainstream technologies to create a more inclusive environment.

Independence Science's offerings include:

* Talking LabQuest, an adapted mainstream data collection device that announces scientific data in real-time audio while recording and reporting on an experiment.

* Logger Pro App, which uses Window-Eyes to access the data analysis software and offers audible or tactile representations of graphs and data tables.

* Adaptation Support Program, a subscription service that helps educators provide a more accessible laboratory environment. Subscribers receive detailed assistance with Individual Education Plans, environmental recommendations and techniques to modify laboratory equipment.

Supalo, who received the National Federation of the Blind's Dr. Jacob Bolotin Award in 2011, said he hopes to create opportunities by making science more accessible to the blind.

“I have been given an opportunity to teach chemistry as a result of hard work not only by me, but many others who helped me get where I am today. This includes those who worked with me in laboratory classes and mentored me in undergraduate and graduate studies,” he said. “Their support has inspired me to achieve what I have, and it motivates me to give others who are blind the same opportunities.”

About Independence Science Inc.

Researchers at Independence Science are making their expertise available to help school districts, colleges, universities and state rehabilitation agencies across the country meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements in the science curriculum. The Sci-Voice Lab Solution includes adapted technologies and methodologies to help make science courses more accessible for students who are blind or have low vision.

About Purdue Research Park

The Purdue Research Park, with four locations across Indiana, has the largest university-affiliated business incubation complex in the country. The park network is home to about 240 companies that employ about 4,500 people and are located in West Lafayette, Indianapolis, Merrillville and New Albany.

Source: Purdue Research Park

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