Tactile display

August 12, 2010

Tactile display.

Sorry, time constraints limit me from talking much about this. Thinking of applications will have to be an exercise left to the reader.



the Oscar goes to…

March 8, 2010

Music by Prudence


Oscar for best short-subject documentary.


This got a little more attention at the Oscars since one of the producers “pulled a Kanye” on the director as he was giving his acceptance speech. (Also, how funny is it that Kanye is now part of the lexicon for someone who upstages someone accepting an award?)

I’ll come back and edit if I find out when this documentary will be shown on TV in the U.S.

Lady Gaga and her interest in wheelchairs

I didn’t watch the Video Music Awards last September, but afterwards, there was a big to-do about the inclusion of a wheelchair dancer.

Some discussion on the topic:



It was probably a reference to the actual video to the song:


Lady Gaga

She can walk!!!

I’m not entirely sure that my opinion on the social implication of this matters since a) I’m abled, and b) Lady Gaga’s whole schtick is that she’s all vacuous surface and no substance, so any “statement” she makes is instantly made meaningless anyway.

(And this happened last September, which gives you an idea of how far behind I am about blogging this stuff).

Ghost in the Shell &

Ghost in the Shell—Stand Alone Complex

The Japanese manga/animé series Ghost in the Shell actually is (at its deepest levels) mostly about people with super-disabilities—although ostensibly the theme is about humans’ relationship with the machines they build and how that relationship changes us.

What is a “super-disability” you ask? Consider South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius.


Oscar, a double amputee, created a stir in 2007 because he came within 0.75s of qualifying for the South African Olympic Team. Not the Paralympics—the Abled Olympics. There was some debate as to whether he should be permitted to compete because his prosthetic limbs give him an unfair advantage.

We’re not quite there yet, but what happens when the artificial becomes better than the real thing?

This is a key question in Ghost in the Shell and Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex.

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Snow Leopard

August 28, 2009

Snow Leopard, the development nickname for Macintosh OSX version 10.6, is available for sale today.
It has new accessibility features.

PCWorld article on these.

I’m particularly interested in the mirroring the screen with the trackpad feature. The trackpads on the new unibody laptops are huge. And I recall that Apple has patents on some haptic feedback touchscreen ideas. Could a built-in braille reader in the Macbook be possible?

Must remember to do a blog post about Windows 7 when it comes out.

AAC in the news

March 30, 2009

Click me

Click me

Watch this video from the Today Show.


Augie’s system that he was using before the eye-gaze system is Dasher. He can continue to use Dasher with the new Dynavox eye-gaze system. If the current system is working for him, I hope he does.

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March 24, 2009

Let’s repost this with the video.

Does an AAC device have to be a single device? What about an array of devices?

I look at this and think of blocks that are also an AAC device. Embedding communication into the play context is the key to authentic interaction. Dividing attention between the play context and a separate communication device is a barrier.

Walking assist

November 7, 2008

I’m way behind on my posting.

Remember all those walking robots that the Japanese have been so obsessed with all these years? Journalists took pictures and many people just rolled their eyes condescendingly. “Oh, you can make it dance? Cool, I guess.”

Once you’ve gotten the biomechanics of walking figured out, you can build something like this:

Honda walking apperatus

Honda walking apparatus


Honda walking apparatus

While Honda built these to reduce employee injuries at their car factories, this tech may be usable in the future by people with  muscle weakness such as those with spinal injuries or MS.

Link to Honda’s publicity blurb on the device.

Here is an older prototype that was demonstrated earlier this year at the International Trade Fair on Barrier Free Equipments & Rehabilitation for the Elderly & the Disabled.

Random musing. How do cultural factors affect acceptance of assistive technologies and people with disabilities in general?

The Japanese as a society love gadgets more Americans (you should see the phones they’ve got there compared to here), but Americans are generally more accepting of people with disability on an everyday basis than the Japanese.

(edited to add) Wait, there’s more!