The arc of technology has positive and problematic impacts on society at large. But specifically in regards to accessibility it can be revolutionary. I love a good story about people getting to experience the world in fresh, improved ways and here are two innovations, both supporting folks that experience vision impairment.
(1)Be My Eyes is an app that connects a blind/low vision person’s rear-facing phone and voice with a sighted volunteer . From the Be My Eyes website: “As a sighted volunteer you can help just by installing the Be My Eyes app. A blind or a low-vision user may need help with anything from checking expiry dates, distinguishing colors, reading instructions or navigating new surroundings.” I haven’t volunteered yet, so I can’t vouch for the service, and one review claims there might be issues with privacy and the vouching of volunteers (can nothing in the world be purely good?). But I’m interested in volunteering and I’ll let you know how it goes.
(2) For blind/low vision people, visiting fine art galleries and museums with no-touch policies can be oppressive and dull. The Unseen Art Project intends to challenge this premise by allowing users to upload various angles of two-dimensional fine art which can then be 3D printed for display in both public and private settings. Vision impaired people and the rest of us will be able to feel the slight smile of Mona Lisa or Picasso’s cubism style. We’ll get to experience art in a new, sensual way. They are in Indigogo funding mode, if you are interested in supporting or learning more.