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robertogreco : blindness   21

Architect Chris Downey goes blind, says he’s actually gotten better at his job - 60 Minutes - CBS News
"A social worker tried to tell him about "career alternatives" after he lost his sight, but Chris Downey wasn't about to stop being an architect"



"At age 45, Chris Downey had pretty much constructed the life he'd always wanted. An architect with a good job at a small housing firm outside San Francisco, he was happily married, with a 10-year-old son. He was an assistant little league coach and avid cyclist. And then, doctors discovered a tumor in his brain. He had surgery, and the tumor was safely gone, but Downey was left completely blind.

What he has done in the 10 years since losing his sight, as a person, and as an architect, can only be described as a different kind of vision."
architecture  blind  blindness  design  2018  accessibility  chrisdowney  sound  acoustics  via:johnrickford 
january 2019 by robertogreco
Notes on Blindness is one of the most eye-opening documentaries you'll see all year - review
"Directors: James Spinney and Peter Middleton. U cert; 90 mins

John Hull, a professor of religious education at Birmingham University, went blind in 1983, and spent much of that decade compiling detailed thoughts on the experience of sight loss – a condition he grieved at first, before finding in it much of philosophical value.

His book Touching the Rock, considered a masterpiece by no less an authority than the neurologist Oliver Sacks, is a collection of excerpts from the audio-cassette journal that John began to compile as a newly blind person, attempting to map out the strange new world confronting him. Now those same recordings, a treasure trove of frontier thought on the subject, have formed the basis for Notes on Blindness, a fascinating documentary from the first-timer team of James Spinney and Peter Middleton.

The pair have gradually assembled this project through a series of stepping stone short films, including the award-winning Rainfall (2013), which visualises one of Hull’s most powerful passages, about the enhanced geography that heavy rain provides to someone only relying on sound for their perception of a landscape.

“Rain has a way of bringing out the contours of everything,” Hull wrote. “[I]t throws a coloured blanket over previously invisible things; instead of an intermittent and thus fragmented world, the steadily falling rain creates a continuity of acoustic experience.”

The once-familiar surroundings of Hull’s garden in Birmingham are brought vividly back into focus by a downpour. And when he goes a step farther, wishing “if only rain could fall inside a room”, the filmmakers oblige, imagining the textured patter of drops on a beloved armchair and every other surface indoors.

Marvellous in short form, this section remains the standout part of their feature, and could hardly fail to – in the very act of staging this deluge behind closed doors, they’ve created the instructive soundscape of John’s dreams. But they’ve creatively woven this, and all of their other ideas, into a seamless patchwork of reminiscences, tracing John’s voyage into darkness with an astute and sensitive cinematic imagination.

The actor Dan Skinner, playing John behind a thick black beard and with his eyes typically closed, plays John by lip-synching passages of his testimony – an eerie, slightly other-worldly effect. Since this is not actually John, it puts us in mind of a blind person imperfectly imagining the impression they might be making on the world, just as he describes.

Hull’s wife Marilyn, also present on many of the recordings and with her own perspective to contribute, is played just as memorably by Simone Kirby, who does expressive things with thoughtful silence, not just the words she’s given. John’s anxieties about the quality of life any blind person will be made to sacrifice are hugely poignant, needless to say – he never has any visual reference point for his newly born son, for instance, or the physical changes in his children as they grow up.

But his determination grows, over the course of the film, to grasp the specifics of his disability as an opportunity, not just a setback. In lacking one sense, all the others gain value inestimably; and thanks to one person explaining what the loss of sight entails, many others, listening in, are able to appreciate and ponder more fully what seeing means.

The closing title card, about sighted and blind people needing each other, is a citation from John which typifies his achievement as a kind of intellectual explorer; a cartographer of the encroaching night, whose findings tell us just as much about the world we recognise by day.

Notes on Blindness is out now in cinemas, and On Demand from July 1 via Amazon Instant Video, Google Play and Talk Talk TV Store"
blindness  sight  film  documentary  2016  jamesspinney  petermiddleton  johnhull  oliversacks  landscape  audio  sound  via:subtopes 
july 2016 by robertogreco
Please Touch the Art on Vimeo
"cantorfineart.com/story/please-touch-the-art/

One day a blind man discovered a screw painting by Andrew Myers with his hands. The blind man found as much enjoyment out of the tactile elements of the work as any sighted person ever has by just looking at them. Andrew considers this moment as one of the most inspiring of his career. Which led us to a question: Why is touching artwork so taboo?

Prior to the mid-1800s, tactile interaction was commonplace for visitors experiencing collections of art, but as museums of art evolved, rules forbidding touch became the norm. In some cases, these were to protect artwork that truly was not meant to be touched, but in large part these norms had nothing do with preservation and everything to do with nineteenth century politics of gender, race and class control.

In light of all this, we decided to create a documentary that elevates the level of tactile arts, and gives back to the visually impaired community. It was at that point that we met George Wurtzel.

George is a blind artisan and teacher working at Enchanted Hills Camp in Napa Ca. This is a 300 acre camp nestled in the red wood forest above Napa Valley. Enchanted Hills is a summer camp for the visually impaired. Here George teaches blind folks, through example, how to use all the equipment necessary to become blind artisans.

Currently, George is converting an old grape crushing barn into a Tactile Art Center. The top floor of the building is his 1900 sq. ft. wood working shop. The bottom floor will be his Tactile Art gallery space where blind people can feel and sell their artwork.

We fell in love with George and his mission and wanted to support his new tactile art gallery. So we worked with Andrew Myers to surprise George with a tactile portrait of himself. The first portrait he will be able to feel and recognize.

Learn more about Enchanted hills here: lighthouse-sf.org/programs/enchanted-hills/

The Academy of Music for the Blind (AMB) were kind enough to create a song for our soundtrack. AMB specifically addresses the educational, social, and physical needs of talented blind music students so that they can fully develop their unique talents and be prepared for integration into the workplace or other educational settings.

To learn more about the AMB visit:ouramb.org/

To learn more about this project, visit cantorfineart.com/story/please-touch-the-art/

Music Credits:

Artist: Tycho, Song: A Walk
Buy it in iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/album/a-walk/id679251532?i=679251628

Artist: Aphex Twin, Song: 14th Avril
Buy it in iTunes: itunes.apple.com/us/album/avril-14th/id50235099?i=50235117 "
video  art  tactile  blind  blindness  music  tactileinteraction  touch  senses  andrewmyers  georgewurtzel  enchantedhillscamp  napa  lagunabeach  tactileartcenter  2016 
june 2016 by robertogreco
the blind man's stick - Text Patterns - The New Atlantis
"How Things Shape the Mind: A Theory of Material Engagement, by Lambros Malafouris, is a maddening but also fascinating book that is seriously helping me to think through some of the issues that concern me. Malafouris wants to argue that the human mind is “embodied, extended, enacted, and distributed” — extensive rather than intensive in its fundamental character.

He starts his exploration wonderfully: by considering a thought-experiment that Maurice Merleau-Ponty first posited in his Phenomenology of Perception. Merleau-Ponty asks us to imagine a blind man navigating a city street with a cane. What is the relationship between that cane and the man’s perceptual apparatus? Or, as Gregory Bateson put it in Steps to an Ecology of Mind,
Consider a blind man with a stick. Where does the blind man's self begin? At the tip of the stick? At the handle of the stick? Or at some point halfway up the stick? These questions are nonsense, because the stick is a pathway along which differences are transmitted under transformation, so that to draw a delimiting line across this pathway is to cut off a part of the systemic circuit which determines the blind man's locomotion.

(Bateson does not mention and probably was not aware of Merleau-Ponty.) For Malafouris the example of the blind man’s cane suggests that “what is outside the head may not necessarily be outside the mind.... I see no compelling reason why the study of the mind should stop at the skin or at the skull. It would, I suggest, be more productive to explore the hypothesis that human intelligence ‘spreads out’ beyond the skin into culture and the material world.” Moreover, things in the material world embody intentions and purposes — Malafouris thinks they actually have intentions and purposes, a view I think is misleading and sloppy — and these come to be part of the mind: they don't just influence it, they help constitute it.
I believe this example provides one of the best diachronic exemplars of what I call the gray zone of material engagement, i.e., the zone in which brains, bodies, and things conflate, mutually catalyzing and constituting one another. Mind, as the anthropologist Gregory Bateson pointed out, “is not limited by the skin,” and that is why Bateson was able to recognize the stick as a “pathway” instead of a boundary. Differentiating between “inside” and “outside” makes no real sense for the blind man. As Bateson notes, “the mental characteristics of the system are immanent, not in some part, but in the system as a whole.”

If we were to take this model seriously, then we would need to narrate the rise of modernity differently than we’ve been narrating it — proceeding in a wholly different manner than the three major stories I mentioned in my previous post. Among other things, we’d need to be ready to see the Oppenheimer Principle as having a far stronger motive role in history than is typical.

When I talk this way, some people tell me that they think I'm falling into technological determinism. Not so. Rather, it's a matter of taking with proper seriousness the power that some technologies have to shape culture. And that's not because they think or want, nor because we are their slaves. Rather, people make them for certain purposes, and either those makers themselves have socio-political power or the technologies fall into the hands of people who have socio-political power, so that the technologies are put to work in society. We then have the option to accept the defaults or undertake the difficult challenge of hacking the inherited tools — bending them in a direction unanticipated and unwanted by those who deployed them.

To write the technological history of modernity is to investigate how our predecessors have received the technologies handed to them, or used upon them, by the powerful; and also, perhaps, to investigate how countercultural tech has risen up from below to break up the one-way flow of power. These are things worth knowing for anyone who is uncomfortable with the dominant paradigm we live under now."
alanjacobs  2015  technology  modernity  blind  blindness  lambrosmalafouris  mauricemerleau-ponty  gregorybateson  oppenheimerprinciple  culture  assistivetechnology  disability  mind  materiality  bodies  body  disabilities 
july 2015 by robertogreco
Assistive Technologies and Design: An Interview with Sara Hendren | superflux
"SF: You think a lot about the "the future of human bodies in the built environment". What are the most important insights you have gained in your research so far, about how the human body and prosthetics adapt to the built environment, or the other way around? How can we design a more symbiotic relationship, that is inclusive, but also unique to individuals?

SH: Those are questions I think about all the time! I’d say broadly that design researchers need much, much more user interview data than we have now—too often there’s a very small sampling of data that’s used to represent human-centered design research with user-experts. Because aging and sightedness and autism and so many other conditions are wildly various, we need much bigger and more robust data sets for understanding wayfinding and product use. See Boston’s Institute for Human-Centered Design’s new user expert lab as an example. They want to be as large a resource as possible, and one that clients can access and pay for when doing market research.

I also think there’s so much more thinking to be done at the systems level, rather than at the product level—but it should be systems research where designers and artists are key contributors at every stage. I think, for example, in cultures like the US and the UK, there’s a pretty narrow focus on individual independence as the only goal worth seeking out—and that independence is thought to be delivered solely via personal technological devices.

But what about community support programs that would be points of contact throughout a city, for help when a person with developmental disabilities needs help after a bus line has been rerouted, or when an elderly person needs assistance getting groceries in the door/shoveling snow? These kinds of systems would help people get and stay employed and stay in their homes for longer than might otherwise be the case.



"SF: What according to you are the drivers / weak signals / to which inclusive design for cities should be paying attention? From a technological, as well as social and cultural perspective?

SH: I think designers should first try to be more granular in their approach to “canonical” disabilities: blindness, deafness, and so on. I’d think, for example, about the gradations of sightedness that tend to get overlooked in tech for vision impairments: Most people who are technically blind, after all, *do* have some kind of visual field. They see high contrasts or bright lights only, perhaps. But they don’t operate in total darkness and they do use their vision to see.  There’s much more to be done with design accordingly, especially with *editing* cities for enriched use. Like: consider the high-contrast black and yellow markers along stairs and crosswalks and subway platforms and so on. What would users say about making those more tactile environments—even more than they are now? What else would they like to see in structural and architectural forms that could be better imagined or augmented, again with partial and low vision in mind? This would also address aging and the overall slow degeneration in vision as well."
sarahendren  2014  assistivetechnology  technology  design  community  blindness  deafness  impairment  disability  vision  aging  sight  sightedness  autism  difference  disabilities 
may 2015 by robertogreco
Sonic Boom - The Atlantic
"How digital technology is transforming our relationship with sound"



"Sound, at its most basic, is simply a wave of pressure and displacement—a mechanical vibration that bounces around the surfaces of the world until it alights on an obliging eardrum. Some sound waves are audible to us; many are not. Some sound waves are pleasant to us; many are not. There are subtle subjectivities built into the act of listening. As Emily Thompson, a Princeton professor who studies the cultural history of sound, put it to me: “One man’s noise is another man’s music.”

The problem with this otherwise delightful diversity is that sound, whatever a single mind makes of it, is generally shared. (“Blindness separates people from things," Helen Keller once remarked, while "deafness separates people from people.”) Long before homes were built around Bourbon Street, human dwellings were designed around shared auditory experiences. The Huns arranged their pop-up towns in ways that would ensure human voices could be heard in a kind of relay: empire by way of earshot. Plato limited the size of his model Republic to 5,040—the number of people that could have been addressed, at the time, by a single orator."



"Which brings us back to noise’s pesky subjectivity. “If you can measure it, you can make it be quieter than some regulations say,” Berens says. “But that doesn't necessarily correlate well with whether people are annoyed by it."

We’re sitting in Acentech’s offices in Cambridge, Massachusetts, in the middle of a reverberant room—a small chamber, about 20 feet long by 15 feet wide by 15 feet high, that exists for no other purpose than to encourage echoes. The chamber’s walls and ceiling are composed of concrete blocks; those blocks have been coated multiple times with thick white paint to seal their pores. This means, says Berens, that “there’s no place for the sound to go—nothing to suck it up.”"
megangarber  sound  digital  2014  history  humans  hellenkeller  blindness  deafness  blind  deaf  music  cities  urban  urbanism  stress  noisepollution  noise 
may 2014 by robertogreco
Pretty Ramp Machine — Weird Future — Medium
"Unlike its siblings, which must rotate or be used as an active tool to perform work, the plane lies still. It barely seems like a machine at all. “I’ve been calling it a ‘sleeping machine’ for that reason,” says Hendren, who focuses her work on disability studies. It’s “a static object, deceptive in its simple geometry.”

Hendren calls herself a public amateur. Her research and practice, documented on her website, is a riot of associations that cross the lines between high-end design, architecture, medical theory, prosthetics, and cybernetics. Spend some time with Hendren and you’ll find yourself in a conversation that veers wildly between fashionable hearing aids, Braille tattoos, the design of space suits, the relation of curb cuts to gentrification, and the origins of the smooth curves of the Eames Chair in the lacquered wooden leg splint that Charles and Ray designed for the US Navy.

Her own projects tend toward the informal and the temporary. She seeks out what she calls the margins of design: work that’s happening away from the spotlight of the mainstream tech and design press, “either because they’re made of low-cost materials, or in informally organized settings, or because they happen in the context of, say, special education.” Her low-tech approach allows her to intervene and launch discussions in graphic design, architecture, and prosthetics.

“All of these fields are professionalized for good reasons — standardization of practice and form,” she says. “But you can easily get some calcification around the ‘proper channels’ for the way things are done.”

“Defining what counts as health, as normative experience, as quality of life — these are easily as much cultural questions as they are about statistics and data,” she says. “I want the latitude, as an amateur, to also ask those questions in public, to engage with specialties as much as possible as an outsider.”



"She explains that in disability studies, there is a growing distinction between the medical model of disability and the social model. In the medical model, people with atypical bodies are seen as being impaired. In the social model, the problem isn’t with the bodies, but with the environment that was built around them.

After all, the environment we live in didn’t just leap out of the ground from whole cloth. Cities were designed and then built a certain way; they could have been built differently. In the social model, “people are disabled, but by the built environment, schools, transportation, economic structures having evolved to offer only the rather narrow goods that a late capitalist culture presumes,” says Hendren. “So we nurture some bodies, and we tolerate others.” If stairs were 5' tall, just about everyone on earth would be disabled."



"In the social model, disability is a matter of circumstances rather than a fundamental diagnosis about any particular body. It’s a state that we pass into and out of depending on what’s going on with us and the environment we’re in. If you are in possession of a relatively typical body and have found yourself blocked by a door because your arms were full, you’ll have a sense of what it means to be temporarily disabled.

If, laden by packages, you’ve ever hip-checked one of those buttons adorned by a wheelchair logo, you’ll have a sense of the degree to which the environment plays a role in enabling or disabling you. The automatic door is not an accommodation for special cases but a useful feature for everyone."



“What I want is much more energy and imagination given to questions of access and use — not tiresome and medicalized ‘accommodations,’ but edited cities where alternate bodies are assumed to be part of the landscape, and where the use of structures and tools might be less scripted,” she says.

Hendren reads a passage from Susan Wendell’s The Rejected Body.
Not only do physically disabled people have experiences which are not available to the able-bodied, they are in a better position to transcend cultural mythologies about the body, because they cannot do things the able-bodied feel they must do in order to be happy, “normal,” and sane…
If disabled people were truly heard, an explosion of knowledge of the human body and psyche would take place.

“I would take out ‘physically’ from the first sentence and add cognition/development to this idea as well,” Hendren says.

In the medical model of disability, this attitude is almost impossible to understand and feels pretty patronizing. After all, aren’t people with disabilities missing out? In the medical model, resistance in the deaf community to cochlear implants seems incomprehensible.

The point, says Hendren, is that we all get the same number of hours per day. “It’s as simple as: some experiences you’re having, and some you’re not,” she says. “You are not having rather more or rather less, unless you arrange your metrics in a lazy way.”

Hendren thinks designers and architects can do better. “It’s possible to have a very ‘correct’ idea about accommodations, provisions for schooling and such, and still presume a medical model,” says Hendren. “You can carry around the notion that a democratic society is one in which everyone thrives — regardless of productivity, regardless of capacity — and want to provide for those ‘needs.’”

“But it’s a much more radical notion to start to think about the ways structures have been un-imagined or preemptively imagined without much variation in body or mind. What would it mean to really profoundly undo our sense of which bodies count?”
sarahendren  timmaly  disability  disabilities  design  amateurs  amateurism  professionals  professionalization  imagination  access  cities  health  society  education  art  democracy  architecture  ada  capacity  productivity  davidedgerton  chrisdowney  bodies  diversity  assistivetechnology  susanwendell  galileo  ramps  inclinedplanes  standardization  brianglenny  blind  blindness  urban  urbandesign  urbanism  body 
december 2013 by robertogreco
My City: Life as a blind architect in San Francisco | TED Blog
"Downey became intrigued with architecture when he was 6 years old, when his parents worked with an architect to design a brand-new house in his hometown of Nashville, Tennessee. He realized that buildings and structures could be creative and fun. “I got to explore the house being constructed, which was great. It was like a playground — you could walk onto the roof from the tall side of the house, and it was built around big trees, creating a courtyard. It was a modern space that tied into the landscape.”

Now, as one of the few blind architects in the world, Downey has taken a keen interest in multisensory design, which is important for visually impaired people who rely on touch, sound or smell to navigate. “Think about architectural environments that are [visually] monotonous, like hospitals or big convention centers,” he says. “Try that blind, when it all feels the same and sounds the same.”

When he first returned to work in Oakland, for example, he found that he couldn’t get to the bathroom on his own. “I returned to the office before I started orientation and mobility training,” he recalls. “The bathrooms were out of the office and down a few hallways. I typically had the office manager guide me there.”

These days, he says, he designs with a tactile palette, not just a color palette, in mind. “Blind people rely on acoustics to get around. I test materials with my cane to see how they feel. Instead of doing a ‘walk-through,’ we create a ‘tap-through,’ so you hear what it’s like when you tap your cane throughout the building.” He uses an embossing printer to print out drawings of the spaces he works on. (Recent projects include eye centers in California and at Duke University, and innovative transportation hubs in the Bay Area.)

“The San Francisco Bay Area really does have a vibrant and empowering blind community,” he says. “I’ve always been quite intentional about networking. I wanted to meet the most effective, aggressive and accomplished blind people that I could. It seemed important to have great mentors while also keeping the bar high relative to expectations and goals. The blind crowd had it down, with all sorts of pragmatic and philosophical advice. Besides, it seemed like I kept meeting all sorts of really cool and interesting people — I was miffed that I had to lose my sight to meet them!” Today, Downey is himself a key member of the city’s blind network, and also serves on the board of directors for LightHouse, an organization promoting independence and self-reliance for those who are blind or visually impaired.

“The blind crowd tends to be pretty resilient and great problem-solvers,” he continues. For Downey, that resilience includes a newfound appreciation for life’s everyday sounds.

“I love sitting on our front porch,” he muses. “It’s something I didn’t think that much of before I lost my sight. I’ll be sitting there, early in the morning, just listening to the birds coming out and the breezes blowing through. It’s an incredible sensory experience. I’m hearing leaves falling off the branches and bouncing off other branches and hitting the sidewalk. It’s not that I hear any better, it’s just that I never would have noticed that before. It’s incredibly beautiful to think about.” 

["See a gallery of photographs of Downey’s favorite places in San Francisco" http://blog.ted.com/2013/12/04/san-francisco-in-pictures-chris-downey-on-the-experience-of-a-city/ ]

[via: http://studiox-nyc.tumblr.com/post/69085416482/in-2008-architect-chris-downey-had-successful ]

[See also: http://99percentinvisible.org/episode/episode-10-99-sound-and-feel/
http://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2010/10/design-within-reach/308220/
https://web.archive.org/web/20151230021453/http://archpaper.com:80/news/articles.asp?id=4814 ]
chrisdowney  sanfrancisco  2013  architects  architecture  blind  blindness  acoustics  design 
december 2013 by robertogreco
BlindSide: A Game for Players Who Can't See : The New Yorker
[Sara followed up on this one: http://ablersite.org/2013/12/09/a-video-game-with-nothing-to-see/ ]

"Built to entertain blind players as well as those who can see, the audio-only game’s accommodation of disabled gamers is a pleasant anomaly in the gaming industry, even though the number of gamers with disabilities is significant. The latest Americans with Disabilities report, which draws on 2010 census data, estimates that nearly fifty-seven million Americans, or roughly nineteen per cent of the population, have a disability, with over thirty-eight million suffering from what the report considers to be a “severe disability” of a physical, mental, or communicative nature. While nearly twenty million Americans “had difficulty with physical tasks relating to upper body function,” more than eight million over the age of fifteen have difficulty seeing and seven and a half million reported difficulty hearing. There is certainly overlap with the fifty-eight per cent of Americans who, according to the Electronic Software Association, play video games; the Able Gamers Foundation, a charity organization for disabled gamers, estimates that there are thirty-three million gamers with some kind of disability.

In the nineteen-eighties, gamers like John Dutton, a quadriplegic who learned to use the Atari 2600 joystick with his mouth and chin, drew attention to the need for hardware that disabled gamers could use. In 1988, Nintendo released the NES Hands Free, a video-game controller designed explicitly for disabled gamers, which was worn like a vest. It had a chin stick for movement and a tube that players breathed in and out of to control the “A” and “B” buttons. In the nineties, attention shifted to making in-game control schemes more accessible, leading to releases like Shades of Doom, a first-person shooter for visually impaired gamers. More recently, the Call of Duty franchise, inspired by the quadriplegic professional gamer Randy Fitzgerald, introduced a special button layout for disabled gamers which makes it easier to aim, while the Able Gamers Foundation has published a guide that shows developers how to design more accessible products."



"“There are gamers out there who are anxious for more accessible content, and very little, if any, of it is coming from established publishers,” Astolfi said. “People with disabilities are a group that has, in general, not been targeted by major video-game releases. But as the indie game movement continues to grow, I think we’ll see more games designed specifically for this audience.”

Yet a large part of BlindSide’s success seems tied to the fact that it doesn’t feel like a game that’s been designed for disabled players. A game with no visual stimulus can be just as engrossing for players who can see as for those who cannot, it seems. “Our favorite feedback on the game was actually a negative comment,” Astolfi said. “It was a three-star review from a sighted player who said he found the game too scary.”"
blind  blindness  papasangre  games  gaming  videogames  blindside  2013  accessibility  play  disability  disabilities  sensors  audio  johndutton  randyfitzgerald  kinecy  ios  aaronrasmussen  michaelastolfi  thenightjar  sarahendren  ablerism 
december 2013 by robertogreco
TapTapSee - Blind & Visually Impaired Camera for iPhone 3GS, iPhone 4, iPhone 4S, iPhone 5, iPod touch (3rd generation), iPod touch (4th generation), iPod touch (5th generation) and iPad on the iTunes App Store
"TapTapSee is designed to help the blind and visually impaired identify objects they encounter in their daily lives.

Simply double tap the screen to take a photo of anything and hear the app speak the identification back to you."
via:straup  cameras  iphone  ios  blindness  objectrecognition  sensors  assistivetechnology  roboteyes 
june 2013 by robertogreco
'Seeing' Through Touch - a set on Flickr
“To them, their fingers are eyes”

From 1913, John Alfred Charlton Deas, a former curator at Sunderland Museum, organised several handling sessions for the blind, first offering an invitation to the children from the Sunderland Council Blind School, to handle a few of the collections at Sunderland Museum, which was ‘eagerly accepted’.

They were so successful that Deas went on to develop and arrange a course of regular handling sessions, extending the invitations to blind adults.

The work that J. A. Charlton Deas carried out whilst at Sunderland Museum is much to be admired. His interest in the education of the blind and his determination to assist in their development, had a great impact on how they viewed the world."

[See specifically: http://www.flickr.com/photos/twm_news/5863459522/ ]
via:anne  perception  feeling  senses  sunderlandmuseum  johnalfredcharltondeas  1913  blindness  blind 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Technology - Liat Kornowski - How the Blind Are Reinventing the iPhone - The Atlantic
"At first many blind people thought that the iPhone would never be accessible to them, with its flat glass screen. But the opposite has proved true."
2012  accessibility  blindness  blind  technology  iphone 
june 2012 by robertogreco
‘This Stuff Doesn’t Change the World’: Disability and Steve Jobs’ Legacy | Epicenter | Wired.com
"My son is on the autism spectrum and has a severe receptive and expressive language delay. He’s 4 years old, and can read and spell words, and sing entire songs, but is more like an 18-month- or 2-year-old in normal conversation. He cannot use a telephone and has a hard time sitting still for video telephony. He has a thoroughly well-loved iPod Touch, filled with videos and apps that have helped him learn to speak and augment his ability to communicate."

"Apple never had a perfect record when it came to user accessibility. No technology company does. But I bought my first iPhone when I broke my arm, because it let me use a computer with one hand. And on Tuesday, when I saw Apple’s demo video for Siri, its new voice-command AI assistant — which ends with a blind woman using Siri to send and receive text messages — knowing that blindness has been the disability least well-served by the touchscreen revolution — I wept. I’m weeping again now."
disability  timcarmody  accessibility  ipodtouch  itouch  stevejobs  2011  communication  autism  blind  blindness  design  disabilities 
october 2011 by robertogreco
habits make us blind
"spanish architecture studio espai MGR's 'habits make us blind' is a photographic series of work which addresses the vacant lots in downtown valencia, which they pass everyday.

'...like an invisible metastasis generated in heart of the city & extending to all its arteries. neighborhoods that, although having huge potential, lay unused, not promoting a good means of sustainable development. we recognize this as a typical theme in central neighborhoods in valencia. sometimes, the tourists are the city's inhabitants pay attention to the issue at hand for a moment because secondary problems stemming from those spaces implied affect us directly. however, in most cases, they are only a part of daily way of life. this photographic body of work aims to call people's attention to these neglected spaces…demands the recreational use of these vacant lots as seen through the eyes of a child, by filling them w/ impossible constructions, surrealistic installations in line w/ the problem…'"
architecture  design  lego  spain  españa  photography  noticing  infilling  neglect  neglectedspaces  sustainability  development  espaiMGR  valencia  2011  classideas  observation  habits  blindness  blindspots 
august 2011 by robertogreco
"To Hell with Good Intentions" by Ivan Illich
"Next to money and guns, the third largest North American export is the U.S. idealist, who turns up in every theater of the world: the teacher, the volunteer, the missionary, the community organizer, the economic developer, and the vacationing do-gooders. Ideally, these people define their role as service. Actually, they frequently wind up alleviating the damage done by money and weapons, or "seducing" the "underdeveloped" to the benefits of the world of affluence and achievement. Perhaps this is the moment to instead bring home to the people of the U.S. the knowledge that the way of life they have chosen simply is not alive enough to be shared."

"I am here to entreat you to use your money, your status and your education to travel in Latin America. Come to look, come to climb our mountains, to enjoy our flowers. Come to study. But do not come to help."

[via: http://twitter.com/johnthackara/status/88500793115815936 ]

[Update 6 May 2013: An article came up today that brought me back to Illich's lecture: http://www.pioneerspost.com/news/20130410/letter-young-social-entrepreneur-the-poor-are-not-the-raw-material-your-salvation ]

[Update 27 July 2013: new URL for "Letter to a Young Social Entrepreneur: the poor are not the raw material for your salvation" http://www.pioneerspost.com/comment/20130410/letter-young-social-entrepreneur-the-poor-are-not-the-raw-material-your-salvation

and a pointer to Robert Reich's "What Are Foundations For? Philanthropic institutions are plutocratic by nature. Can they be justified in a democracy?" http://www.bostonreview.net/forum/foundations-philanthropy-democracy? ]

[Also available here: http://schoolingtheworld.org/resources/essays/to-hell-with-good-intentions/ ]

[Update 6 April 2016: referenced again http://www.laphamsquarterly.org/roundtable/missionary-go-home
and an alternate link http://ciasp.ca/CIASPhistory/IllichCIASPspeech.htm ]
education  culture  politics  travel  activism  ivanillich  1968  humanitariandesign  designimperialism  mexico  do-gooders  goodintentions  middleclass  us  latinamerica  poverty  hypocrisy  blindness  self-importance  deschooling  charitableindustrialcomplex  liamblack  robertreich  gatesfoundation  plutocracy  democracy  robberbarons  power  control  warrenbuffet  billgates  georgesoros  foundations  philanthropicindustrialcomplex  capitalism 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Guernica / Forgotten but Not Gone
"There was at least one place, I would discover, where that “instant” of Borges persisted, a land where Borges lived on as both Borges and “I,” legend and life. That place is Texas. Starting in 1961, Borges made five visits to the state—first, to teach for a semester in Austin as a visiting professor; then to lecture on Cervantes and Whitman as a literary celebrity. When Borges died on June 14, 1986, the University of Texas’s main campus lowered its flags to half-mast, a rare tribute for a writer and a perplexing honor for one without deep Texas roots. Why had Texas so embraced Borges? And why had Borges continued to return there throughout the final twenty-five years of his life?

In early January, I began to investigate what seemed a long-forgotten romance."
borges  texas  history  ut  literature  childhood  reading  writing  aging  age  meaning  2011  kafka  kierkegaard  blindness  utaustin  carterwheelcock  ercibenson  argentina  waltwhitman  cervantes  ficciones 
july 2011 by robertogreco
Modcult: Spiral Path of a Blindfolded Man
"Schaeffer, an American zoologist, observed that an amoeba placed on a cylindrical surface always moved in a spiral path around the cylinder. To further study spiral movement, Schaeffer blindfolded a right-handed friend and instructed him to walk a straight line across a country field. Schaeffer plotted his friend’s track, which described a clockwise spiral form until the blindfolded man happened to stumble on a tree stump."
blind  blindness  spirals  nature  zoology  amoebas 
december 2010 by robertogreco
Immaterials: the ghost in the field
"we hope that this work goes some way towards building better spatial and gestural models of RFID, as material for designers to build better products and to take full advantage of the various ways in which spatial proximity can be used. And with this better understanding we hope to be able to discuss and design for privacy and the ‘leakage’ of data in a more rigorous way."
berg  berglondon  timoarnall  jackschulze  visualization  rfid  sensors  visualisation  touch  nfc  nearfield  video  aesthetics  design  data  blindness 
october 2009 by robertogreco
mirá! » ExpoManagement: Atletas mentales
"Hay muchas maneras de conocer gente inteligente para aprender de ellos. Una maneras es asistir a conferencias, que suceden -las conferencias- con mucho mayor frecuencia en las grandes ciudades que en los pueblos. Entre las conferencias asombrosas de la historia se pueden destacar, por ejemplo, las “Siete Noches” en las que Borges habló en 1977 desde el Teatro Coliseo, en Buenos Aires. Borges dedicó cada noche a un tema: “La Divina Comedia”, “La pesadilla”, “Las mil y una noches”, “El budismo”, La poesía”, “La cábala” y “La ceguera”. En Youtube -que rescata joyas del mundo- hay fragmentos de esas conferencias publicadas. La que sigue es sobre “La ceguera”.(Recuérdese todo el tiempo que se está viendo a un hombre que no lee y que no es asistido por ninguna otra cosa que no sea su propia mente):"
borges  blindness  conferences 
october 2008 by robertogreco

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