William Gerrey

Photo of Bill Gerrey
Emeritus – Senior Engineer
BSEE, California Polytechnic State University

Starting in the early 1970's as a blind research participant for the Tactile Vision Substitution (TVSS) project led by Carter Collins and Paul Bach-y-Rita, Bill spent his career at SKERI, soon becaming a permanent member of the research team.

Bill founded a vocational engineering lab at Smith-Kettlewell and developed innumerable blind-accessible instruments, tools and useful gadgets with audio and tactile outputs. These were published, including instructions on how to build them, in the Smith-Kettlewell Technical File -- a technical magazine for blind people. Many of these devices were built by others who were blind, as well as their friends and family, providing expanded access to jobs, hobbies, and other activities for people who would otherwise be excluded from such activities. Bill also developed accessible methods of soldering and electronic circuit building for blind technicians and hobbyists, encouraging blind people to become involved in developing their own technical solutions. A logical outgrowth of this work was the later establishment by Josh Miele of the "Blind Arduino Project" facilitating the involvement of blind people in the emerging Maker Movement.