LOUISVILLE, Ky., Oct. 21, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- The American Printing House for the Blind (APH) has named Texas Instruments, the market leader in STEM (science, technology, engineering, math) educational technology, as the recipient of the 2013 Zickel Award for its partnership with Orbit Research to develop the world's first fully-accessible graphing calculator for visually impaired students, the Orion TI-84 Plus Talking Graphing Calculator (TGC). (Photo: http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20131021/DA00176) Every year, APH bestows the Virgil Zickel Award to a company or individual whose creativity results in the development of innovative products that improve the quality of life for blind and visually impaired students. Based on the popular TI-84 Plus graphing calculator from Texas Instruments, the Orion TI-84 Plus TGC gives visually impaired students access to technology that allows them to interact with math and science without relying on sight to learn complex, abstract concepts. "Texas Instruments is honored to receive this award acknowledging our efforts to make STEM education accessible to all students," said Melendy Lovett, president of TI Education Technology. "The Orion's accessibility features adapted to the TI-84 Plus is leveling the playing field by providing access for the visually impaired to the same technology millions of sighted students are using in the classroom every day to gain a deeper understanding of math and science concepts." The Orion TI-84 Plus TGC consists of a compact accessory (the Orion) that is attached to the top of a TI-84 Plus graphing calculator. The Orion enables visually impaired users to interact with the calculator using speech, audio and haptic (vibration) feedback. All textual and symbolic information on the screen, as well as each key-press, is spoken using high-quality synthesized FonixTalk™ speech from SpeechFX™. Most importantly, graphs can be explored using either spoken announcements or the SonoGraph™ audio and haptic feedback. The Orion TI-84 Plus TGC is fully expandable, supports hardware accessories through a USB port, and can print or emboss graphs when connected to a printer or braille embosser through a computer.