At a Consumer Electronics Show conference session on accessibility in technology, our surprise panelist was none other than Grammy Award winning Stevie Wonder. You might imagine that there are many ways to frame the issue of opening the doors of technology to those with disabilities, but Stevie put it simply when he said that what it meant to him was an “even playing field.”
The Consumer Electronic Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Consumer Electronic Association, produced the session How Technology Is Helping People With Disabilities. The panel discussed how technology is and could be used to enhance the lives of people with disabilities. And you won’t believe what entrepreneurs and advocates are envisioning.
Advocates, coders, and hardware makers are finding new ways to adapt technology that already exists in new and innovative ways. As one panelist put it, we probably already have everything we need, we just have to find the resources to put it together. These efforts are critical to an aging demographic straining every resource.
To the disabled, it just means access to the same technology that the rest of us “temporarily-abled” have. An even playing field. And if it happens quickly enough, Stevie Wonder promised to write a song about it.
Panelists, from left to right: Mick Ebeling, Founder and CEO of Not Impossible; Lama Nachman, Principal Engineer & Director of Anticipatory Computing Lab, Intel Corp; Mike May, President and CEO, Sendero Group; Dorrie Rush, Director, Grunwald Technology Center , Lighthouse Guild; Stevie Wonder; Howard A. Rosenblum, CEO, National Association of the Deaf; Stephen Ewell, Executive Director, CEA Foundation. The Consumer Electronics Foundation funds the efforts of these organizations and others that help people with disabilities through technology.