IBM Accessibility tribute to Dr. Jim Thatcher
December 10, 2019 | Written by: Mary Jo Mueller
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News has spread throughout the IBM accessibility community that one of our family, Dr. Jim Thatcher passed away this weekend at the age of 83. Jim worked for IBM for 37 years and left a legacy that to this day works to make technology accessible to persons with disabilities.
He first joined IBM as a research mathematician along with his thesis advisor Dr. Jesse Wright, who was blind. They worked together in IBM Research on several mathematical computer science topics. At that time, the current technology was the 3270 terminal which was inaccessible to Dr. Wright and other blind and visually impaired employees. Talking terminals were available but at a cost of $10,000 per employee.
With the advent of personal computers in the early ’80s, Jim and Jesse believed that a cheaper, more usable solution was possible. So [...]