Newsletter: 2019 February


Independence Science Newsletter

February 2019

Published and distributed by Independence Science



Phone: (866) 862-9665

     Note for Robert Jaquiss, press #4.

Email: [email protected]

Robert Jaquiss, Editor

From The Editor

     Happy February! Please see the announcements:

  • New Talking LabQuest coming soon!
  • Independence Science has a new redesigned web page, please check it out.
  • We are also celebrating our tenth anniversary. Independence Science was founded February 13, 2009. Independence Science is proud to be providing science access solutions for the blind for the last 10 years.

New Sci-Voice Talking LabQuest coming soon!

Independence Science is pleased to announce that we will soon have a new Talking LabQuest. The new Talking LabQuest is an upgrade to our current Talking LabQuest 2.

  • The introductory pricing for upgrading: $295 per unit. Customers will need to ship their units back to us along with payment. We will then return the unit back to them free of charge. We will also check their unit for any hardware issues that may have come up.
  • The introductory price of a new Talking LabQuest 2 package will be $2195. For now the sensors offered are the same, this could change in the future.

We estimate the new upgraded software will be ready by March 2019.

The new TLQ2 will feature:

  • Audio graph sonification.
  • Real-time tone meter.
  • More extended useful resources folder.
  • Easy to use high contrast feature to support low vision users.
  • Support for Bluetooth capable Vernier sensors.
  • New O’haus balances with USB connector kit.
  • Multi-language capability for an additional fee in the following languages: (Spanish, French, German, Italian, and Portuguese)

For more information, please check the Independence Science website.

Consulting Services

Independence Science offers consulting services. We will provide training

on an individual or group basis for faculty teaching STEM classes to students who are blind or visually impaired. For more information, please contact Independence Science.


We are making plans for the ISLAND 2019 conference. This year the conference will be held in Huntsville, AL October 4-5. Please watch this newsletter for more information.


     The following announcements are STEM and education related. Independence Science reprints this information as we receive it. We make no warranty as to the accuracy of these items although we will endeavor to only print legitimate items. We reserve the right to edit for space and clarity. We will also repeat some announcements such as scholarships etc. until the opportunities expire. Please note that scholarship programs have a number of requirements. Do not delay if you intend to apply.

NFB-BELL Programs

     Various affiliates of the National Federation of the Blind will be holding BELL (Braille Enrichment Literacy and Learning) programs next summer. These programs are for children ages 4-12. For more information, see the site:

Application period for NFB EQ is open now

The application period for NFB EQ is open now

Summer opportunity for teens! Explore and connect this summer, June 16-22, 2019. Join the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) at our NFB Engineering Quotient (EQ) program. NFB EQ is a week-long adventure into engineering and problem-solving. No specific level of engineering experience required. Engage in activities designed to strengthen knowledge and grow interests. Connect with the twenty-nine other teen participants while also exploring the local community and participating in various recreational activities. Enriched experiences, new friendships, more independence. Apply for NFB EQ Now!

Have questions? Email

[email protected].

National Federation of the Blind 2019 Scholarship Program

The National Federation of the Blind offers thirty scholarships. The deadline is March 31. For more information, see the link:

Independence Science will be giving a $1500 gift certificate towards the purchase of a new Sci-Voice Talking LabQuest 2 to each of the winners. Independence Science is proud to be a sponsor of the 2019 NFB National Scholarship class.

NASA Internships

NASA is again offering internships to high school and college students. A mailing list is available:

If you would like to subscribe to an announcement-only list about NASA internships for persons with disabilities, please send an E-mail to [email protected]<mailto:[email protected]> with ‘subscribe’ in the Subject field, OR by visiting the list page at

NC STEM Camp for High School Students

with Visual Impairments or Blindness

June 23 – 28, 2019

North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics

Durham, NC


During this one-week residential camp, high school students with VIB will explore

various fields of STEM including the Grand Challenges of Engineering. Through

engaging hands-on activities and interactive tours of area university labs and

industries, students will interact with mentors in STEM fields such as computer

science, robotics, and data analytics. Topics will include an introduction to

engineering and data science. Throughout the week, students will live on the

Durham campus of the North Carolina School of Science and Math, a residential

public high school that focuses on science, math and technology. They will get a

preview of life on a college campus as they live in dorms, interact with

undergraduate advisors, and learn from professional role models with VIB.

Goals of NC STEM Camp for Students with VIB:

• Explore various aspects of STEM and apply knowledge and creativity to

solve problems

• Explore current research at universities and engineering labs

• Develop transition to college skills, strategies, and practice using assistive

technology, including self-advocacy skills

• Have fun!


The camp is open to rising 10th, 11th, and 12th grade students with VIB who

are independent travelers, performing at or above grade level, and are

potentially interested in careers in STEM. Application is required.

Application and Important Dates:

• To apply: • Application Deadline: March 1, 2019

• Notification of Acceptance: April 1, 2019

• Payments Due: May 1, 2019

• Camp: June 23-28, 2019

• Cost*: $1100

*Students should contact their transition counselor at their state’s division of

services for the blind ASAP. State and Federal funds may be available for

tuition and travel. Additional financial aid may be available upon request.

Questions? Please contact the program’s director, instructor Leyf Starling at

[email protected] with questions about the program, including admissions.

For technical questions about the application, call or email Julia Fiore at 919-

416-2969 or [email protected]

NFB of Michigan presents: Sense-sational Adventures in Summer Science

The National Federation of the Blind of Michigan


Sense-sational Adventures in Summer Science

The Twisty, Turbulent Torrents of Science

Can learning science be fun? Can a musician or poet or graphic artist use science in their art? How about our water?  Is it cleaner or dirtier

than it was when your parents were your age? Is there more or less water now than in the past? Does your lawn care make a difference to a

fish in the Great Lakes?  Does a ship coming from another part of our world change the Great Lakes as it picks up or delivers its freight? 

What is it doing here, anyway? Why is Detroit or Saginaw built where they are?  Is it geology, biology, weather or just random human choice

which causes cities to grow where they are?

The world has divided science into a number of topical studies including chemistry, physics, geology, biology (including medicine), and many

more.  Anyone who has stepped out of their back door will, with a little thought, observe that all of these sciences are always in play. They are

a seamless tapestry of interactivity which result in all kinds of stuff like plants, animals, dirt, air, streams lakes and the list goes on. Humans

have now entered this mix to add our own influences upon this mash-up.

Sense-sational Adventures in Summer Science (SASS) will investigate this tapestry. We will consider how all of these interactions are played

out in the geological feature of the watershed. We will consider the effects of geology, physics, chemistry, biology and how humans can

change the very surface of the planet and the diversity of life itself.

If you love science and if you have a passion for any scientific area of study, you will have a chance to jump in the stream and dive deep into

how your interest relates to the environment when you join us in The Twisty, Turbulent Torrents of Science. 

If you are concerned about the environment and how you may learn to help create a clean, vital and accessible world in the future for you and

your future children, join us for The Twisty, Turbulent Torrents of Science. 

If you, on the other hand, simply want to know more about the various areas of scientific study and whether a blind person can be a

successful scientist, you will also love The Twisty, Turbulent Torrents of Science

If you are blind or have low-vision, are in middle school or high school, don’t hesitate.  There is lots of space for you in a science career or as

a hobby interest.  The National Federation of the Blind of Michigan will present an accessible program, regardless of whether you see nothing,

a little or if sometimes it changes, that will demonstrate how blind folks work in various fields of science and contribute to our understanding of

how our world works and what drives our environment. We will have professional blind scientists and experts in a variety of scientific fields.

We will demonstrate and you will learn to use sophisticated state-of-the-art equipment to measure, record and analyze data to support your

hypothesis. You will learn to be a scientist. You will have a chance to be creative in an artistic way. Most of all, you will have fun with other blind

folks who are interesting and also love to have fun.

Please join us August 4 Through August 11, 2019 as we have fun floating, figuring, paddling, probing, laughing and learning about science and

our environment in The Twisty, Turbulent Torrents of Science. 

For more information, email: [email protected]  

Technical Tips

     The following technical tips are offered in hopes they may be of use. Due to the many possible variations in PCs and equipment, Independence Science cannot be responsible for any undesirable outcomes.

  1. For all iPhone users, now that winter is upon us, remember to keep your iPhone warm. Cold iPhones can shut down.
  2. For many of us, a classic Perkins brailler is still an essential tool. If you need to get yours repaired, here is a link to a list of brailler repair services:
  3. Warning! Independence Science strongly advises all iS current and future customers to not upgrade the operating system on their Sci-Voice Talking LabQuest 2 device without being notified by Independence Science. There are other versions of operating systems that are not compatible with the text-to-speech features of Sci-Voice Talking LabQuest. Therefore, we strongly advise all ISci customers to not upgrade the OS on your device without prior notification. Failure to do so will likely disable the text-to-speech on your device.

     Please send comments and suggestions to me at: [email protected].