A Quest for Machinery: Adrian D.C. Chan and Beth A. Robertson’s Trip to Montreal

In December 2018, CUDRG co-founder Adrian D.C. Chan and co-PI Beth A. Robertson ventured on a road trip to Montreal. The objective of the trip was to collect several machines developed by and for people who are blind, including a computer punch-card reader equipped with an early speech synthesis software called Spellex, a reading machine, as well as “talking typewriter” that was developed by Dr. Michael Beddoes and Dr. Ching Suen, then at UBC.

Both Dr. Beddoes and Dr. Suen were collaborators of James Swail, who initially designed the punched-card reader. Swail’s work is presented in one of the CUDRG exhibits. For more information, head to this link: https://envisioningtechnologies.omeka.net/exhibits/show/the-legacy-of-james-swail-and-/james-swail-and-the-nrc-1947-1

Dr. Suen, now the Director of the Centre for Pattern Recognition and Machine Intelligence (CENPARMI) at Concordia University, graciously donated the machines to Archives and Research Collections, Carleton University, where they are now being processed for conservation.




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