Blind Bargains

More on Access News from 2014 from a Non-Blind or Low Vision Perspective

Those who have been reading our Top Ten lists over the years know that we like to get an idea of what other stories are making news in the general field of Assistive Technology. And who better to ask than a former panelist Mr. Wade Wingler of the INDATA podcast and social media feeds. Take it away Wade!

Happy New Year. This is Wade Wingler from the INDATA project at Easter Seals Crossroads.

Several interesting things in the world of assistive technology not related to blindness or visual impairment happened in 2014. Some of them include: the ALS ice bucket challenge, the fact that the Department of Justice reached a settlement with Peapod grocery to ensure that their website and services are more accessible to people with all kinds of disabilities, Matt Ficara, a paraplegic man from New York used a robotic exoskeleton to walk down the wedding aisle, and a new partnership between Stephen Hawking and Intel emerged for an open source augmentative communication system.

We are all still waiting to see if the Apple watch solves a lot of access problems for people with memory and intellectual disabilities. The Wemo line of products from Belkin and other smart appliances that help make up the Internet of things all started to emerge and made a dramatic impact on people with physical disabilities access to their smart homes. In other firsts this year: IBM named Frances West as their first ever chief accessibility officer, and President Obama signed the ABLE to act into law which will allow the creation of savings accounts for people to cover some of the cost of disability and associated expenses.

Google's self driving car is still only a fantasy for most, but promises to usher in an era of accessible transportation for people of all kinds of disabilities. Meanwhile IndyCar legend Sam Schmidt was the first person ever to drive a Corvette at over 100 miles an hour using only head controlled assistive technology systems.

2014 saw several mergers of large assistive technology companies, and the further increasing prevalence of apps which are changing the face of assistive technology.

To stay on top of what's happening in the world of assistive technology in 2015, make sure you tune into Assistive Technology Update, a weekly podcast dedicated to all kinds of technology designed to help increase the independence of people with disabilities. Happy New Year and best wishes for a technologically advanced 2015!

Category: Articles

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Joe Steinkamp is no stranger to the world of technology, having been a user of video magnification and blindness related electronic devices since 1979. Joe has worked in radio, retail management and Vocational Rehabilitation for blind and low vision individuals in Texas. He has been writing about the A.T. Industry for 15 years and podcasting about it for almost a decade.

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