This article is part of the On Tech newspaper. There is a collection here Past Columns.
Do you like audio books? “You have to be grateful for that,” said Katherine Kudlik, director of the Paul K. Longgmore Institute of Disability at San Francisco State University.
The father of the book, read aloud through the headphones of your smartphone, was a book developed in the UK in the 1930s for people with visionary alternatives.
I was discussing the history of audio books with Dr. Cudlick and other experts who call themselves “imperfect blind” because I love listening to books. But it is more than that. Audio books are a great example of technology developed or developed by people with disabilities. They remind us that people with disabilities are key players, not innovators.
“Disability promotes creativity. It’s undeniable, ”said the recently acquired blind adaptation technology designer at the MacArthur Foundation.
“Almost always, when they find something cool for people with disabilities, they get it into the main room in an amazing and life-changing way,” says Dr. Miele.
Back to the Quick History of Audio Books – Robert Irwin, CEO of the American Blind Foundation, led a program in the 1930s to develop a record of narrators who read aloud books, including Mara Mills, a New York University professor of disability studies.
At that time, only 10 percent to 20 percent of blind Americans – including veterans who lost their eyesight in World War I – could read Braille. The US government has provided financial assistance to record players for the blind or visually impaired, and talk books have been distributed through public libraries.
After World War II, commercial audio books began to appear, making it easier for each generation to listen to audio books – cassettes, CDs, and now smartphone applications.
(Side note: Dr. Mills hacked to speed up his players with speech books, and this speed reading has an effect on audio extension technology. If you like listening to your favorite podcast or audio book) Double speed, thanks for that low You have people with views.)
This story will copy the script of how many of us think about product design. We may be familiar with technologies designed for the general public, and then, conveniently or accidentally, they may also be useful to some people with disabilities. Smartphones are like that.
But there are other technologies that are widely used today because of people with disabilities. Silicon Valley creator and future Ray Kurzwell has developed a number of technologies, from the text to speech software, with the National Federation of the Blind.
Now, from fighter jets to refrigerators, there were early commercial certifications for everything from computer chips to hearing aids. And we don’t think this is strict technology, but Dr. Mile said that crossing sidewalks is useful for those who use wheelchairs and many others.
Speech books are still available today. But Dr. Mills says screen readers and audio books and audio books that make digital scripts louder or translate into Braille have made them less popular with blind students.
At first, it seemed appropriate that some technology was designed for the blind.