Monday, July 23, 2007

What technological access and personal ability can accomplish

I’ve always thought that I am pretty keen on seeing the assistive technology applications of various advances in electronic devices. However, I must admit to being humbled when I read about the incorporation of technologies in the following Baltimore Sun article.

Steering Clear of Limits

is a most apt title for this insightful news article about the convergence of the technology John Hudson uses, but also about his approach to life. When reading it, I couldn’t help but marvel at Hudson and his upbeat and "can do" attitude.

For example, despite the fact that he has no arms and only one leg, which is shorter than normal and has only four toes, Hudson types 42 words per minute and bowls with a 138 average score. Oh yes, he also drives his modified van.

This article highlights both the advances in technology and the achievements one can accomplish when his abilities outweigh his disabilities. It is inspiring to see both of these.

For those seeking some statistical data, about 400,000 vehicles which have been modified with adaptive equipment were on the roads of the U.S. in 2005, according to the article. Additionally, this number has grown by 10-15% annually over the last few years. The reason for this growth in demand for modified vehicles is multi-fold: better informed consumers with disabilities; advances in technology; and growing numbers of seniors, people with disabilities, and wounded veterans.

However, more than the technological advances, the article highlights the most important evolution that is occurring—independence. That is in large part due to individual attitudes, such as Hudson’s, and augmentation by electronic devices that make possible the desires of people with disabilities to have their lives be as normal as possible.

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