In Memory of James C. Bliss, January 24, 2012 


It is with deep sadness that I announce the passing of Jim Bliss, who lived with multiple myeloma in the last years of his life.  Before founding our company, as JBliss Imaging, Jim was the co-founder and creative leader of Telesensory Systems (TSI) for many years. 


With John Linvill.  (who passed away in February of 2011) Dr. Bliss, co-invented the Optacon, an optical to tactile converter device that converts print to a tactile image, enabling the blind to read print – even on curved surfaces, discover the “layout” of a print page, read charts and graphs, distinguish print from pictures, and with special lens adaptors, read LED and LCD calculator displays, read computer screens (when voice or braille devices fail), or correct typing on conventional manual or IBM electric typewriters.  Under his leadership, Telesensory pioneered many products for the visually impaired:  a “game center” for the blind with “audible pong” and other games; the Speech Plus talking calculator; the Versabraille and PowerBraille devices (using a revolutionary refreshable braille display); the VersaPoint braille printer; the TeleBraille telephone communication device for the deaf-blind; the Vista video card and software that enlarged the screen information; the BrailleMate, a hand-held braille note taker, and a variety  CCTV products.


In 2007 Jim received the Migel Medal Award of the American Foundation for the Blind for “dedication and achievements that have improved the lives of people who are blind or visually impaired”.


Jim was my mentor and friend of 36 years, and greatly loved by his friends, colleagues, and the many visually impaired individuals who benefited from his life’s work.


Some links about Jim’s work:


Stanford link about the development of the Optacon: [note: The You Tube link only shows part 1 of the Optacon Story video.  See  early research leading to the Optacon (c 1964-1965), and part 2 link at:


Article and image about the Optacon II: [Note by Judy Adams: I was honored to be the Product Manager for the Optacon II at Telesensory, and provided instruction on the computerized Optacon II training practice module when it was introduced by Telesensory and Canon, Japan, in Japan in the 80’s)





Last Updated on Jan 31, 2012 by Webmaster

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