Legends and Pioneers of Blindness Assistive Technology

An Oral History Project


photo of Seth, Caryn Diya, and David on the occasion of Seth's Bar Mitzvah in June 2004

Side One / First Part

Date June 14, 2003

Introduction to interview with David Holladay and Caryn Navy (Tony Candela)

It took some convincing but I finally got the car service to agree to look for a house on a certain street in Westford, Massachusetts, west of Boston, that didn't have a number. The driver was to look for a house entitled, Braille Planet.

David Holladay, indeed, has a sign on the front of his house that says, Braille Planet. It is the last vestige of the business he ran, called Braille Planet, before selling his business interests to Joe Sullivan and Duxbury Systems.

David Holladay developed the first Braille translation software for the small, personal computer, the Apple 2 series. His software, BRAILLE-EDIT, went through various incarnations and still exists, to this day, and is sold and maintained by Duxbury Systems.

David's wife, Caryn Navy, who has her Ph.D. in mathematics from MIT works with David at Duxbury Systems today and was the inspiration for David's invention of the Braille translation software. Caryn needed a way to produce Braille quickly in order to teach her classes at the various colleges she taught at in her early career.

Our interview took place in their living room and occasionally on the tape you will hear the sound of their young, adopted daughter, who sat between me and Caryn on the couch while David sat across from us in a chair during the interview.

You can see that Caryn and David are still a working team today and they enjoyed reminiscing with me about their days at MIT, where they met, and the early years when Caryn was a teacher and David was looking for something useful to do. He certainly found it. He has been a prolific software developer ever since and a small computer user who uses Braille and also Speech which owes David Holladay and Caryn Navy a debt of gratitude.

(Beginning of Interview) [Note: the text of the transcript was modified by David Holladay to "improve" the punctuation, and correct the spelling of some names.]

End of Tape 1, Side A.

Tape One / Side B

Date June 14, 2003

Brief Interruption

End of Tape 1, Side B

Tape Two / Side A

Date June 14, 2003

End of Tape 2, Side A

David Holladay

Tape Two / Side B

Date June 14, 2003


Tape Three / Side A

Date June 14, 2003


End of Interview.