If Noel Runyan Can't Find What He Needs, He Builds It Himself

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Noel Runyan polishes rocks for competitions and uses his hands to tell if they look beautiful. (Sam Harnett/KQED)

Many things in our world are not made accessible for the visually impaired, which means they have to find their own workarounds. That requires ingenuity and a fair bit of tinkering — which comes very naturally to Noel Runyan.

Noel Runyan developed a gun sight that vibrates when it's pointed at the target. (Sam Harnett/KQED)

Runyan is an engineer by training and isn't afraid to take on any challenge. After losing his sight, he has built everything from an electric Jacob's ladder to a vibrating gun sight so he can shoot targets at a local shooting range. He has also set up a workshop to polish rocks, and he makes small sculptures in his spare time.

Noel Runyan builds sculptures out of rocks and old computer parts. (Sam Harnett/KQED)

This story comes to us from Chris Hoff and Sam Harnett of The World According to Sound podcast. They’re partnering with the LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired in San Francisco to help us  reimagine California in the rich way blind people experience it every day. The project has additional support from California Humanities.