“Maybe the reason why most people always say love is blind was because sometimes the ones who are the source of our strength were also the ones who will stab us endlessly. We were so fixated by the purest definition of love that it sometimes makes us blind. It wasn’t that we are not aware, we are aware. We just refuse to believe that it is really happening. And sometimes, it is the reason why we crash because we always try to keep it in and deny its existence until we can no longer deny it.”
Technology For the Blind and Deaf is Getting Pretty Cool
That picture above is a Blitap – an iPad for the blind. It uses a liquid-based technology to create raised Braille images to be read by the visually impaired. Pretty cool stuff.
It’s just one of many emerging technologies that can be used by people with sensory disabilities. For the deaf, researchers at the National Science Foundation Science of Learning Center, Visual Language and Visual Learning at Gallaudet University, are using 3D motion sensors on a person’s body to help translate American Sign Language motions into nursery rhymes.
Most kids learn their ABC’s through the classic song, but English nursery rhymes don’t translate well to ASL. The sign language grammar structure is much different from that of English…
To translate rhymes to a non-sound based language, she adds, the team keeps repetitive rhythms available through the use of common handshapes.
Motion capture tracks these “temporal rhythms” of hand gestures and reflects the data on a dual monitor like a polygraph, which acts as a blueprint for the 3-D signing avatar. (In ASL, signage and facial expressions work to translate what might be compared to vocal intonations in English.)
Technology has long been cited as a key resource for students with disabilities who are getting special education services. Some technology can be really simple – placing a three-paneled barrier along the edge of a desk can help kids with ADD stay focused.
Other technology is a little more complicated, like the Blitap or this 3D motion capture. Obviously there’s a cost here. Special education is already costly and difficult to manage, especially for poor school districts.
But these kinds of technology are worthy of exploring in an educational setting.
The Museo del Prado, in Madrid, Spain, has a new exhibit focused on making art accessible to the visually impaired. The key part of the exhibit is several of the museum’s masterpieces, which have been scanned and then 3-D printed, so that visitors can touch and feel the textures of the works, and the differences in strokes. The accompanying labels also feature braille text.
In addition, the museum has a new audio guide to 53 works specifically aimed at the visually impaired, describing the pieces in detail rather than simply teaching about them. The physical exhibit is open through October 18, 2015; the audio guide is available indefinitely. [via / learn more]
Edited photographer note: Thu, born on a rainy day in Vietnam 10 years ago, never had eyes. Prematurity is a cause of vision malfunction in children. Thu has been living in a boarding school in Hanoi, the capital city of Vietnam, for two years since her family cannot afford to provide care. Being far away from family is her worst nightmare and once she cries, who knows where the teardrops could go.
Photo by Binh Duong (Hanoi, Vietnam); Hanoi, Vietnam