Of Note


Camera Prototype Produces Description, Not Image


An amazing technological innovation produces a text description of a camera shot rather than capturing an actual image.

The concept, termed Descriptive Camera, is a relatively simple process: The user takes a picture with a web-enabled camera, which is instantly sent to a real, live human being who then writes a short text description of what is seen. The information is then returned and printed on a small slip of paper.

The prototype uses a system entitled "Amazon Mechanical Turk" in which users can sign up to process various types of data for a small fee. For just over a dollar, each photo is returned in a matter of minutes. A system is in place to ensure that the person processing the photo does a quality job.

Matt Richardson, Descriptive Camera's Creator, envisions a future in which digital photos contain not just location data but also text descriptions of what the images contain. With such a system in place, it would be possible to locate and identify a single photo among thousands, even if the individual searching were totally blind. Rather than browsing endless thumbnails, one would simply type something like "gentleman with white cane holding birthday cake."

Caregiver Support Line Hits One-Year Mark


Having helped more than 25,000 veterans, family members, and caregivers connect to resources and receive access to services they have earned, VA's toll-free National Caregiver Support Line recognized its first anniversary February 1.

"VA recognizes the importance of caregivers to our veterans' health and well-being, and the sacrifices that the daily care of their beloved veteran requires," said Secretary Shinseki. 

Responders serve as a resource for caregivers by providing guidance, education on VA programs and benefits, information on community resources, and emotional support through brief supportive counseling. They can also connect callers to VA's other support lines such as the VA Veteran Crisis Line and Coaching Into Care Line when these lines better meet the callers' needs.

Veterans and caregivers can reach the VA Caregiver Support Line toll-free at 855-260-3274. Operating hours are Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., Eastern Time, and 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Eastern Time, on Saturdays. VA also features a webpage, www.caregiver.va.gov, with general information on other caregiver support programs available through VA and the community.

USABA State Games to Host "Operation Mission Vision"


Veterans and active duty service members who are blind or visually impaired from throughout the United States are eligible to compete in the United States Association of Blind Athletes' Rocky Mountain State Games July 23-29.

The event, consisting of at least 31 different sports, is part of USABA's Summer Sports Festival program held annually in Colorado Springs, Colorado. It provides athletes with the opportunity to train, learn, and refine their athletic skills and empower them to elevate their sport to a higher level, thereby helping them take their improved game back to their local community-based programs.

The games are organized and managed by the Colorado Springs Sports Corporation and recognized by the National Congress of State Games. For more information, contact Rich Cardillo or Lacey Markle at 719-866-3221.

NRD Links Veterans to Vital Services


The National Resource Directory (NRD) is a federally funded resource website that connects wounded warriors, service members, veterans, and the families of all of the aforementioned to programs and services that support them.

The site is a collaborative effort between VA, the Department of Labor, and DoD.

Learn more about NRD by visiting www.nationalresourcedirectory.gov.