Self-Driving Cars Should Be Designed For People with Disabilities

Self-driving cars should be designed at the outset for people with disabilities. “Transportation is probably one of the top three barriers that people who are blind face—being able to get anywhere and do it independently,” said Kim Charlson, who usually uses ridesharing services when she needs to get around. “We think that when [autonomous vehicles] […]

Disability vs. Impairment

Most people aren’t aware of the term “ablism” and don’t realize what life is like from the perspective of someone who has a physical impairment. Patty Berne and Stacey Milbern have an interesting conversation about the difference between having an “impairment” (physical) and a disability (societal). When provided with accessibility (universal design, adaptive devices, elimination […]

Equal Access to Information: Facebook

Meet the Blind Engineer who is Helping the Visually Impaired “See” Photos on Facebook. I’ve written before about Facebook’s attention to accessibility for people with disabilities. Here, once again, I’d like to give them a shout out for their work in creating technology that will audibly describe photos for people with visual impairments. This initiative […]

Nonprofits Should Help Get Out the Vote!

Many nonprofits have social missions of education, service, and social uplift. Encouraging voting and other forms of participation should be a natural part of every nonprofit’s mission. According to the National Center for Charitable Statistics, there are more than one million registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations that employ over 13.5 million people, rely on 61 million […]

Re-Framing Disability

People see disability always as a diminished form of normalcy or a form of normalcy that has to have this pathos around it. But a disabled person’s experience is as complicated as any given life. It’s got heartbreak, sadness, joy, and frustration, and every possibility and experience in it. If you see that, then you […]

The Soft Exoskeleton of the Future

One of the biggest problems for people with disabilities is the cost of producing specialized devices for a small market: such as clunky, heavy motorized wheelchairs. But when there are multiple uses for something (a wider market), there’s a better possibility it will be produced at a lower price and higher quality. Researchers are working […]

She’s Taking a Stand

The photo above is of Mia Ives-Rublee as she competes in the Working Wounded Games. She’s taking a stand for disability rights. “I’m 37, my whole life I’ve benefited from disability rights,”she said. “Only forty years ago they didn’t exist like they do now. I know there’s the risk of turning back the tides to when we […]

Pushing the Boundaries of What’s Possible

How can assistive technology be improved? As we continue to merge with machines, bionic competitions are sparking interest and opportunities. The Cybathlon will bring together people with disabilities or physical weaknesses, researchers and developers, governments and other agencies that fund services and research. It will also showcase the importance of this work to the general […]

Virtual Reality is Changing Reality

While I am bemused as to why perfectly healthy people would want to walk around staring at their cell phones chasing Pikachu, I am hopeful. Virtual reality is showing promise in revolutionizing health care. Through visualization, paraplegics are teaching their brains new communication pathways to connect with paralyzed limbs. Imagine the possibilities! In the meantime, there […]

I Give Them an A+!

Creative and inclusive app developers are solving problems for people with disabilities. Math problems. Well, they’re not actually solving them, but… well, let me explain. They’re making math accessible, tying it to relevant information about the world, and making it self-paced. Progress is trackable, so there’s less need for a separate test. Now, was that […]

Reason for Hope

Do you ever wonder if we’re actually making progress? Sometimes a little creative data visualization can bring inspiration. Take a look at Hans Rosling’s amazing 2010 video showing us how much progress we’ve made and how far we need to go.

Facebook Practices Universal Design

No matter how you feel about Facebook, (and I have friends who range from proudly proclaiming “I have NEVER used it!” to “Yea, I’m addicted!”), you have to hand it to them for not leaving out a significant segment of the population — people with disabilities. When products and platforms are designed with ALL potential […]

Use It or Lose It

Ruth McCambridge, editor-in-chief of the Nonprofit Quarterly, writes about how today’s nonprofits need to develop an attitude of co-creation with those they serve — or miss out on a crucial resource and get left in the dust… The investment is in the faith placed in those with whom you are in common cause. The integrity […]

Live with Intent, by Design

What does a poorly designed car or article of clothing mean to the purchaser? What does the design of a counter or the entrance of a building mean to someone using a wheelchair? How do people’s perceptions of someone with a disability change when the person is involved in designing their own environment? In 2015, […]

Mind+Machine

How will technology augment our capabilities in the future? John Hockenberry hosts an intriguing panel discussion with Luciano Floridi, John Donoghue, Gary Small and Rosalind Picard at the 2015 World Science Festival.

Seeing the Light

Seattle leaders recognized that significantly more street lights were out in poorer parts of the city, and this situation offered more opportunities for crime. The “process” for getting them fixed was through citizens’ complaints — a low-priority for the city, with barriers from citizens that include: lack of trust/hope in government, language/cultural barriers, etc. By […]