Into the Light
Humanity has paused on Jones Street near the summit of Russian Hill in San Francisco. Tourists, businessmen, café workers, the homeless – all seem to have taken a collective breather at this steepest of places, a city peak where stairs are carved into the sidewalks so people don't topple. Only one person keeps climbing, and he's talking, too; he's saying that you can't stop here, that if you just keep pushing, you'll see things no one else will see, that Macondray Lane is just over the hill and that it's the most magical place in all of San Francisco, but you'll never see it if you don't keep pushing, you'll never see Macondray Lane unless you really know how to look.
posted by Joe in Australia
on Jun 10, 2013 -
Accessibility is what allows me to use things like a phone, computer, or an ATM. May 9th is all about this. -Tommy Edison, the Blind Film Critic. (previously)
Global Accessibility Awareness Day
is today. It's a day to consider how people with disabilities experience the web, software, mobile devices, games and so on, targeted towards designers, developers, usability professionals and others without much experience with accessibility. There are public events scheduled
all over the world, as well as other accessibility-related events
. To participate on your own, try one of the suggested activities
: turn off your mouse or trackpad and use only your keyboard to navigate websites, try using a free screen reader, such as NVDA
for Windows or the built in VoiceOver
for Mac and iOS, try watching some streaming videos or movies with captions or add some of your own
to a video you've uploaded. Then relax with a sample of described video
: Katniss, from the Hunger Games, goes hunting. [more inside]
posted by shirobara
on May 9, 2013 -
Six years ago, US Army Captain Ivan Castro was severely wounded in a mortar attack in Iraq that left him permanently and completely blinded. Today, he's one of only three blind active duty Army officers, and the very first to serve in the US Army Special Forces. Thirteen months and 36 surgeries after the attack, Castro ran the 2007 Marine Corps Marathon in 4:14 and the
Army Ten Miler in 1:25. And he's still going: In the last 15 months, he's completed 14 marathons. Why? "Because I still can. Because people need to see what's possible." [more inside]
posted by zarq
on Oct 13, 2012 -
Recent technologies developed at American universities are making communication easier for the sight and hearing impaired. Last summer a Stanford undergrad developed a touchscreen Braille writer
that stands to revolutionize how the blind negotiate an unseen world by replacing devices costing up to 10 times more. Thanks to a group of University of Houston students, the hearing impaired may soon have an easier time communicating with those who do not understand sign language. During the past semester, students in UH’s engineering technology and industrial design programs teamed up to develop the concept and prototype for MyVoice
, a device that reads sign language and translates its motions into audible words, and vice versa.
posted by netbros
on Jul 3, 2012 -
In the world of violins, the names Stradivari and Guarneri are sacred. For three centuries, violin-makers and scientists have studied the instruments made by these Italian craftsmen. So far no one has figured out what makes their sound different. But a new study now suggests maybe they aren't so different after all.
posted by unSane
on Jan 2, 2012 -
"Taking a picture is so easy, you just need a camera, decide at which moment to shoot, press the button and you have your picture. Why can't the blind do this?" (Previously 1, 2)
posted by spock
on Nov 16, 2011 -
is a short film (5:17 - in Japanese w/ English subtitles) set in post-nuclear Tokyo. The film may be viewed at the blind website
, at Vimeo
or at YouTube
. Parents please be advised
: although the film features a young child, viewing by young children is not especially recommended, as they may be frightened.
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Sep 6, 2011 -
More evidence of brain plasticity:
Some blind people are able to use echolocation to perceive space and objects around them in surprising detail, even though the time differences in echoes necessary to do this are two small to be consciously perceived. An fMRI study by Lore Thaler, Stephen Arnott and Melvyn Goodale revealed that people who are especially adept at this use their calcarine cortex (a.k.a. V1 or primary visual cortex) to process spatial information from the echoes.
The original paper. A shorter discussion.
posted by nangar
on Jun 20, 2011 -
Something I found last night that I thought was quite wonderful and appropriate for a lazy Sunday.
I was really impressed with the way they handle sense in this, and it made me warm and fuzzy. I hope this isn't too terrible for a first post.
posted by Han Tzu
on Oct 3, 2010 -
A blind man uses a mobile phone to "see":
I have never experienced this before in my life. I can see some light and color, but just in blurs, and objects don’t really have a color, just light sources...I went outside. I looked at the sky. I heard colors such as “Horizon,” “Outer Space,” and many shades of blue and gray. I used color queues to find my pumpkin plants, by looking for the green among the brown and stone. I spent ten minutes looking at my pumpkin plants, with their leaves of green and lemon-ginger. I then roamed my yard, and saw a blue flower. I then found the brown shed, and returned to the gray house.
posted by nomadicink
on Sep 19, 2010 -
Braille is facing extinction, says Canadian newsweekly Maclean's
, thanks to strained budgets, audiobooks and text-to-speech. "In the 1950s about half of all blind children learned Braille, says the U.S. National Federation of the Blind. Today, that number has fallen to 10 per cent -- and it's about the same in Canada. For some, like NFB director Mark Riccobono, that means we're letting blind children grow up as illiterate as Braille's 19th-century contemporaries. 'If only 10 per cent of sighted children were being taught [to read],' he told Maclean's
, 'that would be considered a crisis.'"
posted by mcwetboy
on May 7, 2010 -
, developer of early color tv
technology, is lesser known for a cooler invention, the Highway Hifi
– the first recorded-music player for an automobile. The under-dash system played records
provided by Columbia Records which played at 16 ⅔ rpm even when the vehicle was in motion. It was first released with Chrysler models in 1956 but lackluster promotion of the option by both Columbia and Chrysler led to the option being discontinued
before the 60s. [more inside]
posted by jessamyn
on Oct 12, 2009 -
Recently, a man's sight was returned to him
after losing it for 12 years. How did he do it? Surgeons drilled a hole through one of his canines, put a lens in it, and implanted the construct in his eye. [more inside]
posted by scrutiny
on Jul 18, 2009 -
is a continually-updated collection of movie reviews based around one very interesting concept -- how accessible they are to the visually impaired. [more inside]
posted by flatluigi
on Nov 22, 2008 -
You'd be forgiven for thinking that the iconic American folk song The Wabash Cannonball
was written as a tribute to an actual train, but in fact, in an interesting case of life-imitates-art, the actual train name was inspired by the song. The Lake Erie, Wabash, and St. Louis Railroad Company was formed in 1852, but there was no train called the “Cannonball” when the song was first sung late in the 19th century. There have
, many wonderful versions
through the years, but I think Roy Acuff
pretty much owns
it, wouldn't you say? [NOTE: See hoverovers for link descriptions] [more inside]
posted by flapjax at midnite
on Jun 7, 2008 -
Porn for the Blind
is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to producing audio descriptions of sample movie clips from adult web sites. This service is provided free of charge. [NSFW]
posted by basicchannel
on Apr 1, 2008 -