Categories
Herbs & Plants (Spices)

Rhus sempervirens

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Botanical Name:Rhus sempervirens
Family:Anacardiaceae
Genus:Sumaker
Division: vascular plants
Class: Dicotyledonous angiosperms
Order:Sapindales

Synonyms: Toxicodendron sempervirens Kuntze, Schmaltzia pachyrrhachis ( Hemsl. ) FA
Habitat :Rhus sempervirens is native to Southern N. America – Texas, New Mexico and Mexico. It grows on dry slopes, rocky hillsides and cliffs, 600 – 2250 metres.
Description:
Rhus sempervirens is an evergreen Shrub growing to 3.5 m (11ft 6in). It is frost tender. It is in leaf 12-Jan. It is in flower from Jul to August, and the seeds ripen from Sep to October. The flowers are dioecious (individual flowers are either male or female, but only one sex is to be found on any one plant so both male and female plants must be grown if seed is required) and are pollinated by Bees.The plant is not self-fertile.
CLICK & SEE THE PICTURES :  
Suitable for: light (sandy), medium (loamy) and heavy (clay) soils and prefers well-drained soil. Suitable pH: acid, neutral and basic (alkaline) soils. It cannot grow in the shade. It prefers dry or moist soil.

Cultivation:
We have very little information on the hardiness of this species and do not know if it will succeed outdoors in Britain. It is unlikely to succeed anywhere outside the mildest areas of the country. The following notes are based on the general needs of the genus. Succeeds in a well-drained fertile soil in full sun. The young growth in spring can be damaged by late frosts. Plants have brittle branches and these can be broken off in strong winds. Plants are also susceptible to coral spot fungus. Plants in this genus are notably resistant to honey fungus. Many of the species in this genus are highly toxic and can also cause severe irritation to the skin of some people, whilst other species such as this one are not poisonous. It is relatively simple to distinguish which is which, the poisonous species have axillary panicles and smooth fruits whilst non-poisonous species have compound terminal panicles and fruits covered with acid crimson hairs. The toxic species are sometimes separated into their own genus, Toxicodendron, by some botanists. Dioecious. Male and female plants must be grown if seed is required.

Propagation :
Seed – best sown in a cold frame as soon as it is ripe. Pre-soak the seed for 24 hours in hot water (starting at a temperature of 80 – 90c and allowing it to cool) prior to sowing in order to leach out any germination inhibitors[200]. This soak water can be drunk and has a delicious lemon-flavour. The stored seed also needs hot water treatment and can be sown in early spring in a cold frame[200]. When they are large enough to handle, prick the seedlings out into individual pots and grow them on in the greenhouse for their first winter. Plant them out into their permanent positions in late spring or early summer, after the last expected frosts. Cuttings of half-ripe wood, 10cm with a heel, July/August in a frame[200]. Root cuttings 4cm long taken in December and potted up vertically in a greenhouse. Good percentage[78, 200]. Suckers in late autumn to winter

Edible Uses:

Fruit – raw or cooked. The fruit is small with very little flesh, but it is produced in fairly large panicles and so is easily harvested. When soaked for 10 – 30 minutes in hot or cold water it makes a very refreshing lemonade-like drink (without any fizz of course). The mixture should not be boiled since this will release tannic acids and make the drink astringent.
Medicinal Uses:
The leaves are used in domestic medicine for relieving asthma. Some caution is advised in the use of the leaves and stems of this plant, see the notes below on toxicity.

Other Uses:
Dye; Mordant; Oil.
An oil is extracted from the seeds. It attains a tallow-like consistency on standing and is used to make candles. These burn brilliantly, though they emit a pungent smoke. The leaves are rich in tannin. They can be collected as they fall in the autumn and used as a brown dye or as a mordant.

Known Hazards:There are some suggestions that the sap of this species can cause a skin rash in susceptible people, but this has not been substantiated. See also notes in ‘Cultivation Details’.
Disclaimer : The information presented herein is intended for educational purposes only. Individual results may vary, and before using any supplement, it is always advisable to consult with your own health care provider.
Resources:
http://www.pfaf.org/user/Plant.aspx?LatinName=Rhus+sempervirens
https://sv.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhus_virens

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Herbs & Plants

Castor oil plant & Castor Seeds

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Botanical Name : Ricinus cummunis
Family Name: Euphorbiaceae
Subfamily:Acalyphoideae
Tribe:    Acalypheae
Subtribe:    Ricininae
Genus:    Ricinus
Species:    R. communi
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Malpighiales
Kingdom:    Plantae
Order:    Malpighiales
vernacular Name: Sans: Shweteranda; Hind:Eranda Eng: Castor
The name Ricinus is a Latin word for tick; the seed is so named because it has markings and a bump at the end which resemble certain ticks. The common name “castor oil” likely comes from its use as a replacement for castoreum, a perfume base made from the dried perineal glands of the beaver (castor in Latin)

Habitat :
Although castor is probably indigenous to the southeastern Mediterranean region and Eastern Africa, today it is widespread throughout tropical regions. Castor establishes itself easily as an apparently “native” plant and can often be found on wasteland. It is widely
grown as a crop in, for example, Ethiopia. It is also used extensively as a decorative plant
in parks and other public areas, particularly as a “dot plant” in traditional bedding schemes.

Description:
Ricinus communis can vary greatly in its growth habit and appearance. The variability has been increased by breeders who have selected a range of cultivars for leaf and flower colours, and for oil production. It is a fast-growing, suckering perennial shrub that can reach the size of a small tree (around 12 metres or 39 feet), but it is not cold hardy.

The glossy leaves are 15–45 centimetres (5.9–17.7 in) long, long-stalked, alternate and palmate with 5–12 deep lobes with coarsely toothed segments. In some varieties they start off dark reddish purple or bronze when young, gradually changing to a dark green, sometimes with a reddish tinge, as they mature. The leaves of some other varieties are green practically from the start, whereas in yet others a pigment masks the green colour of all the chlorophyll-bearing parts, leaves, stems and young fruit, so that they remain a dramatic purple-to-reddish-brown throughout the life of the plant. Plants with the dark leaves can be found growing next to those with green leaves, so there is most likely only a single gene controlling the production of the pigment in some varieties.   The stems (and the spherical, spiny seed capsules) also vary in pigmentation. The fruit capsules of some varieties are more showy than the flowers.
click to see the pictures......(01).....(1).……..(2).…....(3)..……..(4)...

The green capsule dries and splits into three sections, forcibly ejecting seeds
The flowers are borne in terminal panicle-like inflorescences of green or, in some varieties, shades of red monoecious flowers without petals. The male flowers are yellowish-green with prominent creamy stamens and are carried in ovoid spikes up to 15 centimetres (5.9 in) long; the female flowers, borne at the tips of the spikes, have prominent red stigmas.

The fruit is a spiny, greenish (to reddish-purple) capsule containing large, oval, shiny, bean-like, highly poisonous seeds with variable brownish mottling. Castor seeds have a warty appendage called the caruncle, which is a type of elaiosome. The caruncle promotes the dispersal of the seed by ants (myrmecochory).

Although the highly toxic nature of castor bean
(Ricinus communis) is well recognized, reports of human toxicity in the English medical literature are scarce. The potentially lethal doses reported for children and adults are three beans and eight beans respectively.

Recent experience with two cases provides added insight into the expected course of
toxicity. In both cases, repeated vomiting, diarrhea, and transiently elevated serum
creatine occurred. Dehydration was much more pronounced in the second case. Both patients recovered uneventfully. Other reported manifestations of castor bean toxicity, such as hepatic necrosis, renal failure, erythrocyte hemolysis, convulsions, and shock, did not occur.

Castor seeds have been found in Egyptian tombs dating back to 4000 BC. Herodotus and other Greek travelers have noted the use of castor seed oil for lighting and body anointments.

Global castor seed production is around 1 million tons per year. Leading producing areas are India, China and Brazil. There are several active breeding programmes.

The stems and the spherical, spiny seed pods also vary in pigmentation. The pods are more showy than the flowers (the male flowers are yellowish-green with prominent creamy stamens and are carried in ovoid spikes up to 15 cm long; the female flowers, borne at the tips of the spikes, have prominent red stigmas).

Selections have been made by breeders for use as ornamental plants: ‘Gibsonii’ has
red-tinged leaves with reddish veins and pinkish-green seed pods; ‘Carmencita Pink’ is
similar, with pinkish-red stems; ‘Carmencita Bright Red’ has red stems, dark purplish leaves and red seed pods; all grow to around 1.5 m tall as annuals. ‘Impala’ is compact (only 1.2 m tall) with reddish foliage and stems, brightest on the young shoots; ‘Red Spire’ is tall (2–3 m) with red stems and bronze foliage; ‘Zanzibarensis’ is also tall (2–3 m), with large, mid-green leaves (50 cm long) with white midribs. (Heights refer to plants grown as
annuals.)

Castor is used as a food plant by the larvae of some Lepidoptera species including Giant
Leopard Moth, Hypercompe hambletoni and The Nutmeg. It is a favourite food of the Tambourine Dove, Turtur tympanistria.

Uses
The use of castor seed oil in India has been documented since 2000 BC for use in lamps and in local medicine as a laxative, purgative, and cathartic in UNANI,

Ayurvedic and other ethnomedical systems.
Castor seed and its oil have also been used in China for centuries, mainly prescribed in
local medicine for internal use or use in dressingsCastor oil is a vegetable oil obtained from the castor bean (technically castor seed as the castor plant, Ricinus communis, is not a member of the bean family).

Castor oil has an unusual composition and chemistry, which makes it quite valuable. Ninety percent of fatty acids in castor oil are ricinoleic acid. Ricinoleic acid, a
monounsaturated, 18-carbon fatty acid, has a hydroxyl functional group at the twelfth
carbon, a very uncommon property for a biological fatty acid. This functional group causes
ricinoleic acid (and castor oil) to be unusually polar, and also allows chemical derivatization that is not practical with other biological oils. Since it is a polar dielectric with a relatively high dielectric constant (4.7), highly refined and dried Castor oil is sometimes used as a dielectric fluid within high performance high voltage capacitors.

Castor oil also contains 3-4% of both oleic and linoleic acids.Castor oil maintains its fluidity at both extremely high and low temperatures. Sebacic acid is chemically derived from castor oil. Castor oil and its derivatives have applications in the manufacturing of soaps, lubricants, hydraulic and brake fluids, paints, dyes, coatings, inks, cold resistant plastics, waxes and polishes, nylon, pharmaceuticals and perfumes. In internal combustion engines, castor oil is renowned for its ability to lubricate under extreme conditions and temperatures, such as in air-cooled engines.

The lubricants company Castrol takes its name from castor oil. However, castor oil tends to form gums in a short time, and its use is therefore restricted to engines that are regularly rebuilt, such as motorcycle race engines.

Castor oil is vegetable-based oil because it’s made from Castor plant seeds; thus, it naturally biodegrades quickly and comes from a renewable energy resource (plants). The castor seed contains Ricin, a toxic protein removed by cold pressing and filtering.

Medicinal use of Castor oil
Today, the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recognizes Castor oil as
generally safe and effective (GRASE) for over-the-counter use as a laxative , but it is not
a preferred drug to treat constipation. Besides being a laxative, Castor oil is sometimes
used to help women start labor, but in any case with due caution and under medical
supervision. One of Castor oil’s derivatives undecylenic acid is also FDA approved for
over-the-counter use on skin disorders or skin problems. .

Pure cold pressed Castor oil is really tasteless and odorless. When additives are added to
pure cold pressed Castor oil, the oil becomes adulterated and the taste and smell can change according to the additives. Also, pure cold pressed Castor oil is potent and can be an eye irritant similar to pepper spray, so avoid contact with eyes.

Ricinoleic acid is the main component of Castor oil and it exerts anti-inflammatory effects

A study found that castor oil decreased pain more than ultrasound gel or vaseline during
extracorporeal shock wave application.

Therapeutically, modern drugs are rarely given in a pure chemical state, so most active ingredients are combined with excipients or additives.

As per Ayurveda:
It is katu, ushna, beneficial in deranged vata, kapha ,fever, cough and used in the purification of mercury.

Parts Used:
Seeds, leaves and root-bark.

Therapeutic Uses: Seeds:

“Castor oil” derived from the seeds is a well-known purgative ; leaves: anodyne and galactogogue; externally applied to boils and sores in the form of poultice; root-bark: emetic, purgative, beneficial in lumbago and skin diseases.

The root is sweetish, heating; carminative; useful in inflammations, pains, ascites, fever, glands, asthma, eructations, bronchitis, leprosy, diseases of the rectum, and the head.-

The leaves are useful in “vata” and” kapha “, intestinal worms, strangury, night blindness, earache; increase biliousness.-The flowers are useful in glandular tumours, anal troubles, vaginal pain.-

The fruit is heating and an appetiser; ilseful in tumours, pains, “vata “, piles, diseases of the liver and spleen.-The seed is cathartic and aphrodisiac.-

The oil is sweetish; cathartic, aphrodisiac, anthelmintic, alterative; useful in tumours, diseases of the heart, slow fevers, ascites, inflammations, typhoid, pain in the tack, lumbago, leprosy, elephantiasis, convulsions; increases” kapha”; causes biliousness .
The root bark is purgative, alterative; good in skin diseases.

The leaves are galactagogue; good for burns.-

The seeds and the oil from them have a bad taste; purgative; useful in liver troubles, pains in. the body, lumbago, boils, piles, ringworm, paralysis, inflammations, ascites, asthma, rheumatism, dropsy, amenorrhoea

The leaf is applied to the head to relieve headache, and is common1y used as a poultice for boils. the seeds and the oil from the seeds are used as a purgative

The oil is expressed and used medicinally; and a fomentation is made with the leaves to cure wounds. it is used as an ointment for sores, the leaves; are used

for fomentations; they are bound over boils, and are a good cure, the leaves are boiled and used as a febrifuge.

An infusion of the leaf is remedy for stomach-ache.. some apply a paste of the root in toothache,

The bark is used by natives for stitching up wounds, and as a dressing for wounds and sores..

some apply the powdered roasted seeds to sores, boils, etc., in children.

The foliage is considered emmenagogue, the root-bark purgative, and the leaf useful as a local application in rheumatism.

The local application of the leaf to the mammae is said to produce a powerful galactagogic action.

The bruised leaves are used for caries of the teeth and given with water for colic , the leaves are considered lactagogue and are given in infusion or applied to the breasts. the leaves are applied to the breasts to help the secretion of milk.

Soaked in vinegar they are applied to the foreehead in cases of sunstroke. They act as a powerful sudorific

Castor oil in the form of Cremophor EL (polyethoxylated Castor oil: a mixture of ricinoleic acid, polyglycol ester, glycerol polyglycol esters, and polyglycols) is added to many modern drugs such as: Miconazole, anti-fungal; Paclitaxel, anti-cancer ; Sandimmune (cyclosporine injection, USP) ;

Nelfinavir mesylate, HIV protease inhibitor . Saperconazole has Emulphor EL -719P (a castor oil derivative) ; Prograf has HCO-60 (polyoxyl 60 hydrogenated Castor oil); Balsam Peru – Castor oil – and Trypsin Topical contains Castor oil ; Aci-Jel (acetic acid/oxyquinoline/ricinoleic acid – vaginal); Emla (lidocaine, prilocaine and Castor oil).

Traditional or folk medicines:
Cold pressed Castor oil has been used or time-tested for centuries throughout the world for its anti-microbial and anti-bacterial properties long before any government agency was created to regulate medicines.

Medicinal Castor oil was used for skin problems, burns, sunburns, skin disorders, skin cuts, abrasions, etc.

The oil is also used as a rub or pack for various ailments, including abdominal complaints, headaches, muscle pains, inflammatory conditions, skin eruptions, lesions, and sinusitis. A
castor oil pack is made by soaking a piece of flannel in castor oil, then putting it on the
area of complaint and placing a heat source, such as a hot water bottle, on top of it.

Only the oil of the castor bean plant is non-toxic. Castor bean oil has a number of medicinal uses including laxative, purgative, cathartic and demulcent.The seeds of castor bean plant are very poisonous to people, animals and insects – just one milligram of ricin (one of the main toxic proteins in the plant) can kill an adult. It acts by inhibiting protein synthesis. Its property as a protein synthesis inhibitor is the theory behind its trials in cancer therapy.

Industrial Castor oil
Castor oil has over 1000 patented industrial applications and is used in the following   industries: automobile, aviation, cosmetics, electrical, electronics, manufacturing,  pharmaceutical, plastics, and telecommunications. The following is a brief list of Castor oil uses in the above industries: adhesives, brake fluids, caulks, dyes, electrical liquid  dielectrics, humectants, hydraulic fluids, inks, lacquers, leather treatments, lubricating  greases, machining oils, paints, pigments, refrigeration lubricants, rubbers, sealants,  textiles, washing powders, and waxes.

Castor oil’s high lubricity
(reduces friction) is superior to petroleum-based lubricants; for instance, it really clings to metal, especially hot metal, and is used in racing and jet (turbine) engines. In addition, Castor oil is non-toxic and quickly biodegrades; whereas,
petroleum-based oils are potential health hazards, and take a very long time to biodegrade, thus can damage the environment when concentrated .

Castor oil is non-drying oil (slow to oxidize); thus, it remains liquid for a long time. As
a result, it’s naturally a good lubricant, and was a fuel for lamps before alternating
current electricity (AC) was invented.

Castor oil’s value was recognized by the United States Congress in the Agricultural
Materials Act of 1984, and classified as a strategic material.

Lamp fuel
It is said to be the best lamp oil in use in India, giving an excellent white light, vying  in brilliancy with electricity, far superior to petroleum, rape seed, and all other oils,  whether vegetable, animal or mineral.

In Bangladesh, some villagers use castor oil instead of kerosene to fuel lamps.

You may click to learn more about Castor Beans & Castor Oil

Resources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ricinus

http://www.ayurvedakalamandiram.com/herbs.htm#eranda

http://www.piam.com/mms_garden/plants.html

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Living with Vision Loss > Getting Around

Not all people considered blind use a long white cane or dog guide. People who are visually impaired and do not use long canes or dog guides often rely on their remaining sight and auditory and tactile cues in their surroundings for orientation and travel.

How Can You Make It Easier To Move Around Your Home?..

1. Replace worn carpeting, and remove area rugs. Move electrical cords away from walkways.

2. Use nonskid products to clean and polish floors.

3. Use contrasting colors to make doors and stairs easier to see.

4.Move furniture out of the main traffic areas in your home, and keep desk chairs and table chairs pushed in.

5.Keep cabinet, closet, and room doors fully open or fully closed—not half open.
Make sure that lighting in hallways and stairwells is bright and even.

6.Use railings when climbing stairs.
7.Make it easy to locate electrical outlets and light switches, oven dials, hot pads, and doorknobs by using color contrasts.
Are You Concerned About Traveling Safely Outside Of Your Home?

Wear comfortable and supportive shoes.
Plan your route before you go. Identify landmarks that are easy for you to detect and use them as reference points.
Cross streets only at crosswalks. If you are uncertain about when it is safe to cross, don’t hesitate to ask for help.
When walking with another person, it may be helpful to hold onto his or her arm slightly above the elbow and walk about a half step behind. This will allow the person to guide you comfortably.

Dog Guides:……..CLICK & SEE

Dog guides are carefully trained service animals used as travel tools by people who are blind.

Dog guides and their masters undergo rigorous training to work safely and effectively as a team.
People who are blind are responsible for the health and well being of their dog guides at all times.
Dog guides should always be kept under control by their masters.
Dog guide users are trained to relieve their dogs regularly and to clean up after their dogs.
Dog guides work most effectively with persons who have very little vision. It is likely that most of the dog guide users you will meet are totally blind.
Dog guides move only in response to directions from their masters. They disobey commands only to avoid danger.
Concentration is essential when a person travels with a dog guide. Petting, feeding, or distracting a dog guide disrupts concentration and can cause serious danger.
Public and private organizations are required to admit dog guides and all service animals into their facilities.

Long Canes..…...CLICK & SEE

Some long canes are made of a single piece of metal, fiberglass, or similar lightweight conductive material. Other canes can fold or collapse like a telescope. Not all long canes are white; some are silver-grey.
People who are blind learn how to use and store their canes safely. It is their responsibility to do so at all times.
To assist a person using a long cane, always announce your presence and ask if your assistance is needed before reaching to help.
When guiding a person who uses a long cane, do not interfere with the arm used to hold the cane.
Always inform a person who is blind where you have stored his or her cane if it is necessary for you to take it for even a brief period of time.

Accessible Mass Transit.……..CLICK & SEE

Why Is Access to Mass Transit Important for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired?

Public transportation is a major key to independence, productivity, and community participation for people who are blind or severely visually impaired–most of whom are not able to drive a motor vehicle because of their visual impairment. Mass transit services such as buses, trains, or special paratransit vans are frequently the only options blind or visually impaired people have for traveling independently to school, work, health care facilities, shopping centers, and a host of other places in the community.
What Do People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired Need to Access and Use Mass Transit?
People who are blind or visually impaired need to gather information about their physical surroundings and about the visible information that appears at transit stops, terminals, on transit vehicles, schedules, maps, and directories in order to use mass transit safely and effectively. Because of the visual nature of most transit information, people who are blind, severely visually impaired, or who have poor sight cannot use readily the wealth of information provided in mass transit environments for general information, wayfinding, and safety. For people who are blind or visually impaired, this visible information can be a barrier to using mass transit   barrier that can be addressed by providing information in ways that blind or visually impaired people can use.
What Kinds of Transit Information Present Barriers to People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired?
*Route, timetable, fare, and customer service brochures available only in print formats.
* Print or graphic messages on signs, monitors, or maps displayed in transit terminals, on transit vehicles, and inside transit vehicles.
*Bus stop locations that are not clearly marked, and bus stops whose placement varies within a transit system, that is, some bus stops are placed just before the corner, some are mid-block, and others are just beyond the corner.
*Ticket vending machines that have only visible or touch screen operation controls.
Safety or hazard signs and warnings that are only visibly displayed.

What Is Being Done to Improve Transit Accessibility for People Who Are Blind or Visually Impaired?
In 1990 the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) became law. This broad civil rights act bans discrimination on the basis of disability in employment, transportation, public services, public accommodations, and telecommunications in the public and private sectors. The U.S. Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of Justice have issued regulations implementing the ADA’s requirements for public and private transportation vehicles, facilities, and services. The ADA transit regulations are complex, addressing a wide range of areas including the design of transportation vehicles and facilities, paratransit services, training of transit staff, compliance requirements and timeframes, and a host of broad reaching issues.

It is important to note that transit agencies have unique obligations under the ADA as well as concurrent obligations under state and local statutes and codes. Transit agencies are advised to consult legal counsel for meeting Federal, state, and local requirements. The information contained in this fact sheet is not intended to address in whole or in part the obligations of transit agencies with regard to the ADA and other Federal, state, and local requirements. The Department of Transportation regulations for publicly operated mass transit are found in the Code of Federal Regulations (49 CFR Parts 27, 37, 38).

In general terms, the ADA requires transportation systems to remove barriers to mass transit for persons who are blind or visually impaired, primarily by making visible information accessible and usable. The following list illustrates some of the ways that transit systems have begun to do so:

Providing large-print, high-contrast, and non-glare informational signs in terminals, at bus stops, and on transit vehicles.
Placing braille and tactile information regarding available service at consistent locations near the entrances to and within transit stations.
Installing a tactile domed high-contrast warning surface along platform edges.
Making stop announcements inside transit vehicles at main points along a bus or train route.
Providing external speakers that announce vehicle identification information.
Providing ticket vending machines with braille and large-print markings, or audible output devices.
Training transit personnel to meet the specific needs of persons with visual impairments who use public transportation.

What Does Innovation and Technology Hold in Store for Transit Accessibility?
In the years since the passage of the ADA, rapidly evolving technology has led to innovations that promise to enhance transit accessibility for people who are blind or visually impaired. Computer screen interfaces are being developed that read aloud information displayed on video screen monitors, information kiosks with tactile maps that “talk” to those who seek information about the location of key places in transit stations, multimedia interactive software allows users to query a map to plan routes, and global positioning satellite (GPS) technology enables people to use a portable computer to monitor their progress as they travel from place to place.

This same GPS technology can be used to drive automatic digitized stop announcements and can be linked to external bus speakers that will announce vehicle identification information to those waiting at vehicle stops. And, infra-red signals and radio transmitters can be programmed to broadcast the visual messages displayed on print signs so signs can then be “heard” by people who use special voice output receivers.

Source   :/www.afb.org