As much as we can complain about how technology can complicate our lives, we really are lucky to be living in a time when technology can make things that once seemed impossible become quite achievable. We’re thinking in particular of technologies that improve the quality of life for people with disabilities, such as cochlear implants, eye-controlled wheelchairs, 3D-printed prosthetics and even driverless cars.
While these technologies represent tremendous advancements in science, others can seem rather low-fi by comparison. But they are no less impactful. WBUR recently reported on a new app called Be My Eyes that connects visually impaired individuals with sighted person for help via video call. Video calling, popularized by Skype and Apple’s FaceTime, is widely used around the world, and it took just a little creative thinking to figure out how to make it a useful tool for people with visual disabilities.
What other popular technologies could be applied in new and creative ways to help those with disabilities? In our ongoing case, Magee v. McDonald’s, we have argued that McDonald’s after-hours drive-thru policy is illegal because it discriminates against those who cannot drive, in this case, because of visual impairment. With all the other technologies McDonald’s utilizes, surely it could develop a way to accommodate those customers who are otherwise denied access because of their disability.
We look forward to further technological advancements that help to give people with disabilities what they truly desire – independence, autonomy and equal access.
To listen to the complete WBUR story, please follow this link: http://www.wbur.org/hereandnow/2018/04/26/blind-people-apps-technology