pediatric housecalls Robert R. Jarrett M.D. M.B.A. FAAP

How new technology helps blind people explore the world

How can technology help improve our quality of life? How can we navigate the world without using the sense of vision? Inventor and IBM Fellow Chieko Asakawa, who’s been blind since the age of fourteen, is working on answering these questions. In a charming demo, she shows off some new technology that’s helping blind people explore the world ever more independently … because, she suggests, when we design for greater accessibility, everyone benefits.

Cheiko Asakawa
TED: New Tech For the Blind

The quiet yet dynamic, unassuming but persuasive, fully-accomplished TED fellow has accomplished more in her life despite blindness than most sighted people do in their lifetime.
Generating braille texts from books, a braille reader, an audio reader, a braille text editor – all her accomplishments. She and her associates develop oftware and products which help the blind become more educated and independent.

With ease, she describes ‘next generation’ products for the smart phone making its speaker and gps give her detailed directions around a building and its video read bar codes and wrappers to describe articles. The camera even notices the approach of a person, analyzes him to be a friend and tells her that ‘he looks happy.’

Finally, she announces that all this technology has been made OPEN SOURCE so that the world could join in its continued development. The average person doesn’t usually have a clue how significant that decision is! Imagine a world with an alternate Steve Jobs who announced that the iPhone was just made Open Source so everyone in the world could eventually be able to use one freely!

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