As the World Becomes More Visual, Technology for the Blind Expands
It may butcher the English language at times, replacing simple words with a series of abbreviations, but for better or for worse the internet and mobile technology have reintroduced literary media to the masses. With talk of Apple’s new iPad perhaps saving print publishing, interacting with your line of sight may have never been more important. But even while technology has changed how we interact with what we see, it has also revolutionized the lives of those without sight.
For some time, any discussion of the blind has eventually dealt with the vital role of music. With a number of schools encouraging the cultivation of that musical ear and even more academics examining the role of music among the blind, the issue of technology hasn’t really been raised. But the new digital revolution has also directly influenced this aural world with Caketalking. The new software bundle, which has already been put to good use by musician Raul Midon, allows blind musicians to record and mix their own songs. With technology revolutionizing this one area of blind culture, what other contributions are being made to a group for whom new media hasn’t always been accessible?
Google has already taken part in bringing the Web to the blind, recently contributing to work at the University of Manchester on a prototype screen reader that would allow the blind to navigate online. This comes on the heels of groundbreaking work from T.V. Raman, a blind Google engineer who has built a number of software applications specifically tailored for blind users.
Another giant of Silicon Valley, Oracle, has partnered with the National Federation of the Blind to encourage blind youth to pursue a future in technology and science. In fact, the past few months alone have seen a number of advancements in media for the blind, ranging from the crass to the innovative.
But what about the development of technologies that can help people regain their sight? It’s here that we may have seen our most-drastic advancements. Since stem cells research has kicked into high gear, scientists have seen major advancements with the blind. Stem cell infusions have even helped some subjects regain considerable levels of vision. Other scientists have also developed bionic retinas that can be implanted into the eye.
It all adds up to a wave of development for the visually impaired. Considering how the world has become increasingly visual and interactive, the timing couldn’t be better.
Antimicrobial resistance is growing worldwide, rendering many "work horse" medicines ineffective. Without intervention, drug-resistant pathogens could lead to millions of deaths by 2050. Thankfully, companies like Pfizer are taking action.
- Antimicrobial-resistant pathogens are one of the largest threats to global health today.
- As we get older, our immune systems age, increasing our risk of life threatening infections. Without reliable antibiotics, life expectancy could decline for the first time in modern history.
- If antibiotics become ineffective, common infections could result in hospitalization or even death. Life-saving interventions like cancer treatments and organ transplantation would become more difficult, more often resulting in death. Routine procedures would become hard to perform.
- Without intervention, resistant pathogens could result in 10 million annual deaths by 2050.
- By taking a multi-faceted approach—inclusive of adherence to good stewardship, surveillance and responsible manufacturing practices, as well as an emphasis on prevention and treatment—companies like Pfizer are fighting to help curb the spread.
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- The War in Syria has dropped off the radar, but it's not over (yet)
- This 1-minute video shows how the fronts have moved – and stabilised – over the past 22 months
- Watching this video may leave you both better informed, and slightly queasy: does war need a generic rock soundtrack?
Entrepreneur and author Andrew Horn shares his rules for becoming an assured conversationalist.
- To avoid basing action on external validation, you need to find your "authentic voice" and use it.
- Finding your voice requires asking the right questions of yourself.
- There are 3-5 questions that you would generally want to ask people you are talking to.
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