Deborah Gilden Bio

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Deborah Gilden, Ph.D.

Dr. Gilden is Senior Scientist Emerita at The Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute in San Francisco. She has a BS in Speech Therapy from the University of Illinois, an M.Ed in Peripatology (orientation and mobility for the blind [O&M]) from Boston College, and a Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology from Washington University. In early work at Smith-Kettlewell Debby developed multisensory educational toys for blind and deaf-blind children. One was awarded a patent and sold commercially. In the early 1980s she introduced her then-colleague, Dr. Erich Sutter, to the use of the crude e-tran board for people with locked-in syndrome. This was the springboard for his developing an electroencephalographic communication system. Debby spearheaded the development of a robotic fingerspelling hand for deaf-blind people in collaboration with Stanford, California Polytechnical Institute, the VA, and a private company. Working with virtual reality pioneer Dr. Myron Krueger, she conducted research on his non-tactile audio maps for blind people, which she named “KnowWare.” Dr. Gilden has developed and given international seminars on low vision computer access.