Friday, May 29, 2009

Handicapped Parking Design idea

A constant frustration of mine is people who park in handicapped parking spaces (and fire lanes). It's all too often that I see someone parked in the space and doesn't have a placard, or they're parked in the hash marks which are designed to give space for a ramp or lift to get a wheel chair in and out of a van or car. No, those spaces are not for motorcycles.

As as solution to this, I've thought that incorporating a curb around this area would prevent cars from parking in these spaces. The yellow line in the picture below represents where a curb should go. This would require that a ramp or curb cut at the other end of the space be provided (down where the signs are placed). The major drawback to this would potentially be that it makes it more attractive to motorcycle owners as a protected space, and could make it difficult to clear of snow in the winter as it couldn't be plowed.

image of car parked in handicapped parking space with yellow line edited into the photo

Ultimately, as our population ages, and more baby boomers are losing their mobility, it seems like there's greater awareness of accessibility and universal design. Perhaps this will filter over to better urban design as well.

Thanks to Listener42 for letting me use and modify the picture

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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Link Dump

Because I come across far more information than I'm able to write about or provide commentary on, I'm going to start an occasional link dump. Basically, a list of interesting links with a brief description about it, but not much explanation or commentary. The hope is to continue to give you good posts while also giving you some of the other interesting things I find, and have to frequently pass over.
For a bit, you may see a repetition of the same sources as I clean out my RSS feed reader of all of the links I've saved, but this will improve as I work through them.

Photo modified by me with permission from corrieb

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Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Removing and replacing a prosthetic eye

Interesting video of a woman removing and replacing her prosthetic eye.
You Tube video description:

I show a video of myself removing and replacing my prosthetic eye. After giving birth to my daughter I realized I could not see, (I had a detatched retina, in March and may of 2006 I had surgeries to reattatch the retina which both failed. So I was just left blind in my eye for life.....but January of 2007 I was having horrific pain in my eye and doctors made the decision for me to have my eye removed. After the removal of my eye they found out that I had had cancer in it. I am cancer free, and no telling what actually caused the detatched retina in the first place but I'm fine now, Just wanted to show people what a prosthetic eye looks like :) Enjoy or NOT, but keep your rude and nasty comments to yourself!!! visit my Myspace for pictures of the surgeries... Also now up a full blog of my entire story :) "

Though the video itself is interesting, the comments are quite interesting as well, ranging from questions, ideas to freak people out, and those that found it difficult to look at, to people who find her brave, inspiring, beautiful and want to take her out. (see below the video)

"oh myyy gosh, sorry but that was scary wasnt expectingg itt."
"You should get some badass eyes like an 8 ball or a red LED or something."
"i always thought prosthetic eyes were round "
"Hm, that was surprising. The prosthetic eye looks quite real though. "
"thank u for posting:)
does it make a big difference to see with only one eye? i'm asking with all my respect. "
"Have you ever placed a prosthetic eye of a different color and freaked people out?"
"hey i only have one eye too i had a birth defect called phpv so they took it out and put in a prothstesis... its fun seeing peoples first reactions isnt it.. lol well nice to know somone else enjoys showing people that they can take their eye out...."
"Thanks for posting, I always wondered how that worked! I thought that prosthetic eyes were round, like a marble or something, but I guess not. It looks like putting that in and taking it out might scratch a bit; does it hurt?"
"I appreciate your willingness to share your experience - very educational; very helpful. Thank you. "
"very disgusting "
"what the hell "
The hole where your eye would be is not as gory as my imagination of what it was going to look like. Is there muscle tissue there? I was expecting a deep bony socket. You are very brave for what you've been through. Thank you for sharing. "
"Well, All this time I thought there would be a fairly large bloody hole where someones eye would be "
"wow...that is terrifying. No offence but it's not everyday you see someone remove their eye. Now don't get me wrong here! I'm NOT trying to be mean, I'll actually make it clear that you are very gifted in appearance and I would also like to point out that your prosthetic eye is very well made. At the start of the video I could not tell the difference."

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Saturday, May 23, 2009

Real Cyborgs

man with tongue sticking out and prosthetic eye on his tongue
Interesting article from "Meet the real-life human cyborgs" about individuals who are incorporating technology into their bodies. The most interesting part of the article deals with a film maker who had a camera embedded into his prosthetic eye. It goes on to talk about the research being done to use similar technology to assist individuals who are blind or visually impaired see. It also talks about an individual who has a usb drive built into their finger and use of other robotic prosthetics (see video below).

"Rob Spence is making a point, too. As the Toronto film maker explains: "I am a filmmaker who lost an eye so naturally I decided to modify my prosthetic eye into a video camera. I am not a lifecaster. I will use the eye-cam the same way I use a video camera now - or the same way any filmmaker would use a camera enabled cell phone."
Spence is working on a documentary "about how video and humanity intersect, especially with regards to surveillance."
Rob Spence's eye uses a camera sensor developed by OmniVision, which specialises in high quality cameras for medical devices such as endoscopes. The firm is also working closely with Stanford University's Daniel Palanker on the Retinal Prosthesis project, a hugely complex and ambitious attempt to use sub-retinal implants to restore blind people's sight.
As an OmniVision spokesperson told us, the firm "agreed to participate in the project to jump-start and/or fuel research to provide vision for the blind."
Palanker has published a number of scientific papers detailing the project, and they make fascinating reading. In Design of a high-resolution optoelectronic retinal prosthesis [PDF] he explains how "an image from a video camera is projected by a goggle-mounted collimated infrared LED-LCD display onto the retina, activating an array of powered photodiodes in the retinal implant." Essentially the digital eye enables the blind to see again."

Full Article

Image courtesy of gainesvegas

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Monday, May 18, 2009

Text to Speech Fun: Who's On First

Seems like with all of the issues with the Kindle and the new IPod being equipped with text to speech, there's much more awareness of text to speech engines. I keep seeing different remixes using the technology like the one below. It's Abbot and Costello's "Who's On First" performed by/in synthesized speech using different voices.

Photo courtesy of Matt McGee

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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

JAWS Rap- Web Accessibility Theme Song

I never thought I'd see a theme song about web accessiblilty, but here you go. The Web Accessibility WCAG Theme Song.
My favorite is the speed rap at 1:15 and how his blind friends can understand him.

Song by David McDonald from

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Friday, May 8, 2009

Kindle & IPod perform Wrath of Kahn

A fun demonstration of the Kindle's text to speech and the IPod synthesized speech. The Author's Guild has little to worry about these devices taking over audio books.

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Thursday, May 7, 2009

LD Quarterback

The Sacramento Bee has an article called "New 49ers quarterback undaunted by disability"

"...Ball State's Nate Davis once was considered on par with first-round selections Mark Sanchez and Matthew Stafford. His draft status fell when scouts discovered his learning disability. He told reporters last weekend that reading and writing have been a problem since seventh grade but that it hasn't affected his play. The proof is Ball State's 12-0 start last season. The red flags were flown higher when he scored an 11 (out of 26) on the Wonderlic aptitude test, according to On the field, his strong arm and accuracy were as good as those of any quarterback available."

I just find it a strange spin on this young man's learning disability. It seems to reflect the knee jerk reaction some have to disability in general, despite this athlete's performances on the field.

Photo courtesy of Anderson Mancini

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Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Add Power to Manual Wheelchair

Great attachment for a manual wheelchair making it a power chair. Looks a bit bulky for daily use, though the video (below) shows the user coming out of a van. It seems like its utility would be for occasional use or for amusement parks such as Disney or national parks with paved or hard pack trails. It would allow individuals for whom a manual chair is great for every day use to have greater access to these resources.

"Here is a video demonstration of the "Quadster" wheelchair assist device invented by Franklin Butts and David Gowan of Auburn University. This versatile device easily attaches and detaches to a variety of manual wheelchairs to provide the option of an easily controlled electric assist motor. Contact the Auburn University Office of Technology Transfer ( for technology and licensing information."

Via Wheelie Catholic

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Accessible Geocaching

Geocaching is finding hidden treasures using a GPS, or global positioning system. The caches are hidden by other geocachers and range in size from the size of a pencil eraser to 5 gallon buckets. Some caches aren't a cache at all, but a location or geographic feature such as a fjord or rock formation.
In the larger caches are trinkets that people leave to trade such as golf balls, pencils, toys, stickers etc. There are also trackable items, such as coins,and path tags which have unique numbers and the finder logs on line. The person who sent it out may give it a mission to complete, such as travel around the world or visit a friend in another state or country.
Ultimately, Geocaching is a great way to get out side, visit places you probably wouldn't find otherwise, and it's great for kids. I found this coin for sale while checking out geocaching items on line.

Visit for more information on the sport

Coin found at

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Friday, May 1, 2009

Freud Fun

I always enjoy a bit of psychoanalytic humor, and Archie's has it all. One of my favorites pictured here is the Dr. Freud's Therapy Ball

"Dr. Freud's Therapy Ball responds to your heartfelt confessions with the stony objectivity of Dr. Freud himself. Just shake this 3-3/4" black plastic ball and turn it over for one of twenty different responses such as "How did that make you feel?" and "Talk about your mother."

Of course if that's not your need, then how about a Freud Lolipop or Bobble Head.

File under "Unsolicited Plugs for things I like"

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