Authors | Mara Mills

Mara Mills is Associate Professor of Media, Culture, and Communication at New York University, where she co-directs the Center for Disability Studies. Her book On the Phone: Hearing Loss and Communication Engineering (forthcoming from Duke University Press) examines the history of speech and hearing research in the Bell System. She is currently working on the history of optical character recognition and, with Jonathan Sterne, the history of audio time stretching technology.

Articles on Amodern by Mara Mills


This article details the contributions of blind readers to the development, design, and marketing of the optophone, a text-to-tone transcription machine introduced in the early twentieth century. We combine archival research with prototyping to investigate the dimensions involved in past coding and decoding practices. If archives provide testimonial fragments about individual use, 2D to 3D translation helps scholars to more broadly characterize optophone reading and understand technical affordances.