Jun 2, 2023
This podcast is about big ideas on how technology is
making life better for people with vision loss.
Navigating the world can be difficult for anyone,
whether or not they have vision loss. Tasks like driving safely
through a city, navigating a busy airport, or finding the right bus
stop all provide unique challenges. Thankfully, advances in
technology are giving people more freedom of movement than ever
before, allowing them to get where they want, when they want,
Smart Cities are putting data collection to work in a
healthy way by providing information to make busy intersections
more secure, sidewalks more accessible, and navigation more
accurate. They’re providing assistance for all aspects of travel,
from the front door to the so-called “last hundred feet,” while
using automated technology to make life easier every step of the
although fully autonomous vehicles are still on the horizon, the
technology being used to develop them is being applied to improve
other aspects of life in incredible ways. These applications are
making the world more accessible, safer, and better for everyone,
including people who are blind or visually impaired.
One example of this is Dan Parker, the “World’s
Fastest Blind Man,” who has developed sophisticated guidance
systems for his racing vehicles, as well as a semi-autonomous
bicycle that could give people with vision loss a new way to
navigate the world safely and independently.
The Big Takeaways:
- Smart Cities. Greg McGuire and his
team at MCity in Ann Arbor, Michigan are working on the concept of
Smart Cities, which focus on using data to improve the everyday
lives of their citizens. That means improving traffic intersection
safety, greater accessibility options, providing detailed “last
hundred feet” guidance, and much more.
In a perfect world, self-driving cars will provide ease of
transportation for everyone, and create safer, less congested
roads. That technology isn’t there yet – but it’s being worked on
by talented researchers like John Dolan, the Principal Systems
Scientist at Carnegie Mellon’s Autonomous Driving Vehicle Research
Center. Sophisticated sensors and advanced robot-human interfaces
are being developed to make self-driving cars possible.
- Application of Technology. Even
though the technologies behind Smart Cities and autonomous vehicles
are still being developed, they can still be applied to everyday
life in exciting ways. Things like miniature delivery robots that
can deliver goods, AI-powered suitcases that can help you navigate
busy airports, or semi-autonomous bicycles are already here – and
there’s more on the way.
The World’s Fastest Blind Man.
When professional race car driver Dan Parker lost his vision in an
accident, he felt lost. But a moment of inspiration led him and his
business partner Patrick Johnson to develop a sophisticated
guidance system that let him continue racing without human
assistance. Thanks to this revolutionary technology, Dan became the
“World’s Fastest Blind Man” when he set a land-speed record of
211.043 miles an hour in his customized Corvette.
- “One of the key pillars of MCity is accessibility.
The four areas we think about are safety, efficiency, equity, and
accessibility. … Accessibility is that we can make transportation
systems available to as many of us as possible.” – Greg
McGuire, Managing Director of MCity
- “I became the first blind man to race Bonneville,
with an average speed of 55.331 mph. And I returned in 2014 and set
my official FIM class record … at 62.05 mph. … I’m the only blind
land speed racer … with no human assistance.”– Dan Parker, the
“World’s Fastest Blind Man”
- “There are chairs, there are tables. ... We know we
don’t want to run into them, but we do want to walk in the walkable
space. … A car wants to drive in the drivable space.” – John
Dolan, Principal Systems Scientist at Carnegie Mellon’s Autonomous
Driving Vehicle Research Center
- “Because we know autonomous technology is
increasing every day and it’s coming, you know, a hundred percent
it’s coming. You know, transportation is freedom and that’s exactly
what that would bring us. Freedom.” – Dan Parker
Contact us at email@example.com with your innovative
new technology ideas for people with vision loss.