The eclipse is really a group event, when people come together to watch. Until now, though, the blind have been left out. Thanks to technology, both old and new, that's no longer the case.
“The next solar eclipse in North America will be on Monday, August 21st, 2017.” That’s from Amazon’s Alexa.
Alexa might have the info but can't replicate the experience. Stacy Bassett from the sight center has been blind since birth and she thinks an app will change that.
“Eclipse Soundscapes and it’s going to give a person a complete sort of audio tour of this eclipse,” Bassett said.
It has a verbal tour of space, and get this... something called a rumble map.
“It kind of gets louder the lighter it gets. And the darker it gets, the noise gets quieter,” Bassett said. “Isn't that kind of fancy?
“They're seeing this event, I have to experience it in a different way,” Tim Tegge said.
Tim Tegge has a disorder that causes progressive vision loss and is legally blind. He loves people watching but can no longer see the big "E" on the eye doctor chart. So...
“Even with the eclipse glasses or the pinhole devices, I'd still have to bury my face into it,” Tegge said.
Along with apps, there are also braille maps to explain why the sky turns black.
“It is a raised depiction of different types of eclipses,” Bassett said.
These braille charts are available online. With the internet comes better tech.
“Life has gotten exponentially easier since the dawn of Alexa and apple products,” Bassett said.
“The iPhone in particular, makes it very easy for someone who is blind or visually impaired,” Tegge said.
There is something the sighted world can do to help this Monday. Stacy says when you post photos on Facebook or Instagram of your eclipse pics, include a longer caption. She may not be able to see it, but says there's joy in hearing the text-to-voice.