Yet again, it's been a busy week in the news. Let's check
out which stories made our Top Five list below.
I met Stephan Blendinger at an erotic fair
in Berlin, while we were both taking a guided tour for blind people. I was
there because I wanted to find out how blind people experience an erotic fair,
he was there because he has been severely visually impaired since birth and
wanted to experience an erotic fair. Stephan is 35, has a one-year-old daughter,
and writes and makes podcasts about life with a visual impairment. In the US,
over 7 million people have a visual disability. During the guided tour I
realized that I hardly knew anything about what daily life is like for blind
people. Stephan was so gracious to answer my most banal questions, like how he
uses Facebook (with a voice output or a connectable braille display) and if he
ever goes to the cinema (yes, the app Greta describes to him exactly what's
going on on the screen).
Read the full story here: http://www.vice.com/en_ca/read/10-questions-you-always-wanted-to-ask-a-blind-person-876
Two years ago South African Chris Venter lost his eyesight from a virus he
contracted while travelling. A former chef, he was determined to keep cooking.
To do so, he's had to relearn how to navigate a kitchen and even how to chop
onions. If he wants to pour milk, he has a device that beeps when the glass is
nearly full. But there are still obstacles, like seeing the color of the onion,
or the milk's expiration date. Enter a new app, BeSpecular, which connects
Venter to volunteers around the world who want to lend their eyes to the blind.
"The first time I used it I was about to chop an onion and I was uncertain
if it was a white or red onion that I'd taken, so I snapped a picture,"
the 43-year-old blogger said.
Read the full story here: http://www.cnn.com/2016/11/24/africa/be-specular-app-helps-the-blind/
Digital distribution means that it's no
longer a chore to distribute movies with audio description and closed
captioning. Despite this, some theaters have resisted offering the service,
cutting out people with disabilities from enjoying the full cinema experience.
That's what's prompted Attorney General Loretta Lynch to sign a final rule
affirming that theaters must own, maintain and advertise disability aids for
patrons. The technology to offer such assistance isn't obscure, with Sony
producing a set of "subtitle glasses" that many businesses already
own. The technology displays closed captions across the individual's eyes, and
Regal outfitted almost 6,000 of its locations with the gear. Audio description hardware,
meanwhile, involves a specialized FM radio that plays a secondary audio feed to
people with visual impairment or blindness.
Read the full story here: https://www.engadget.com/2016/11/23/doj-cinemas-must-offer-tech-for-blind-and-deaf-customers/
An enterprising researcher from The
University of Manchester has developed a prototype tool that could help
transform the lives of the blind and visually impaired. Vasileios
Tsormpatzoudis has upgraded the white cane - which has been used as a mobility
tool for centuries – by adding a low-cost embedded computer that functions in a
similar way to a car parking sensor. PhD student Vasileios, from the
University's School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering, was inspired to
develop mySmartCane after witnessing the struggles of his mother who has
retinis pigmentosa, a hereditary eye disorder which affects the retina.
Read the full story here: http://phys.org/news/2016-11-prototype-smart-cane-visually-impaired.html
When fleeing for their lives from war-torn
Syria, the last thing the Dallal family worried about was getting their eyes
checked. Mohamad Dallal started wearing glasses at 5 for strabismus, or crossed
eyes, and should have had surgery years ago to correct the problem. But in his
family’s four years as refugees in Jordan, the best the now 12-year-old boy’s
parents could do before being resettled in Canada in February was to take him
to costly eye exams and get him some glasses. When they learned about a free
eye clinic near their new home in Brampton, they wasted no time registering
Mohamad and everyone else in the family — including his two sisters and two
Read the full story here: https://www.thestar.com/news/immigration/2016/11/23/giving-syrian-refugees-the-gift-of-better-sight.html