Ukrainian students design gloves that can turn sign language into speech via a smartphone:
The gloves, which can be used for phone calls or face–to-face conversations, combine sensors on the fingers with a controller that analyzes hand motions in the air, compares them to a library of sign language, and then generates the verbal equivalent of the sign through a smartphone. They use flex sensors, gyroscopes, touch sensors, and accelerometers and can be adjusted to any form of sign language. There are an estimated 360 million people globally who are deaf or hard of hearing, according to the World Health Organization. The goal of the gloves is to allow the estimated 70 million people who use sign language to communicate with people who don’t. Enable Talk won first place in the innovation category, beating 350 students from 75 countries. The prize included US$25,000 to help with development and testing.
“Once we started talking, it all sort of clicked,” said Maxim Osika, a member of Team Quad Squad. “We wanted to create something that could help them in their pursuit to communicate. The hearing-impaired students try really hard to do the best they can, but sometimes it’s really difficult.”
Maxim and the others researched the idea and were surprised to learn that no such devices are available on the market. The team decided it would create a pair of gloves that could translate sign language into spoken word.
That day, Enable Talk was born.
They started building the prototype for the gloves in January 2012 and worked though weekends and nights to finish in time for the Microsoft 2012 Imagine Cup in Sydney, Australia, in July.
Image description: White wheelchair graphic on a black background. Text reads: “Disability demographics by TV genre. Reality TV - 13.8%. Sitcoms - 2.1%. Dramas - 3.2%. Animated - 8.6%.”
Disability demographics by TV genre. Data collected by Dustin Kidd. Image created by Eric Crawford. This image appears in Pop Culture Freaks.
This is so freaking low and it gets even worse when you consider a few things
- Very few of these characters will be main characters
- Most of them will be portrayed by abled actors
- They will often be inaccurately portrayed or the butt of jokes
- A very small range of disabled people will be shown, many of these characters probably have similar disabilities and are white, cishet and/or male
from behaviour vs ability (via imnotevilimjustwrittenthatway)
Medical and mainstream culture descriptions of autism are steeped in option two language. They are very superficial descriptions of things Autistic people do, with the implication that Autistic people do these things simply because they like them, or for no reason at all.
1. “Autistic people stim” not “Autistic people stim BECAUSE” or “Autistic people have motor/sensory stuff going on that causes them to move like this or be soothed by doing this.”
2. “Autistic people avoid eye contact” not “It scares Autistic people to look at other people’s eyes.”
3. “Autistic people avoid touch” not “Some kinds of touch can scare or hurt Autistic people.”
4. “Autistic people have ‘splinter skills’ and strong interests and like to do the same thing over and over” not “Autistic people can learn specific things better than general things, and see number five.”
5. “Autistic people like rituals and are resistant to change” not “Autistic people do better when they are in situations where they know what’s going on and what’s coming next, to the extent that some people can’t handle life at all when it’s not like that.”
#5 has been on my mind a lot lately because the last few months have involved me having to do a lot of unplanned things and make a lot of sudden transitions. This has reduced my quality of life and my ability to do other stuff, which is clearly because I have a disability that makes it hard for me to emotionally and cognitive cope with surprise and change. However some people would say it’s because I want to make out with train schedules.
Let’s talk about disability in media, and about how sensationalizing members of a social class is not the same as representing them decently.
There’s this trend in media which basically tells its audience that disabled people are only worth something if they gain a superpower from it.
- Raymond Babbit from Rainman
- Duddits from Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher
- Professor Charles Xavier in Marvel Comics
- Sherlock Holmes (esp. in BBC Sherlock)
- Sheldon Cooper in “The Big Bang Theory”
- Barbara Gordon in the recently altered DCU
I am over disabled people being made special in order to appear in stories.
I want stories about disabled heroes, mind you, but I don’t want them to have some kind of power that other people don’t. Disability does not mean “give me something to make up for it”. Disability is not something to be made up for and that is exactly what current and past media has told us. It has said we are not worth looking at as humans, because either our problems are so great that our narrative function is to be an inspiration, or our problems don’t matter because we are too smart to talk to people.
And yes, super intelligence is a superpower. It is another way to make disabled people Not Like Everyone Else. Benevolent ableism is still ableism. Stratifying people is the exact opposite of normalizing them.
Disabled people are not all sensational; they are human and alive and they go to school and het drunk and make bad decisions and fall in love and have adventures and we try and we fail all—just like Your Regular Person.
Strange, isn’t it?
I’m gonna say a thing, okay
If you ever tell a disabled person, “you know, you were given these other traits for a reason!!!!” you need to go sit in a corner and think about what you just did.
Disability is not a failing that someone has to recover from; it is not a shortcoming that begets an “at least” or a “well thankfully.”
Being disabled means being human, like everyone else, and disabled people probably never asked you what about them makes them redeemable.
I went to a performance called Not By Bread Alone, which was put on by a cast of all Deaf-Blind actors and their interpreters. @lowereastlife hooked me up with tickets, and I liked the show until I heard the director talk about it in the discussion panel.
Basically (very, very basically), the show was problematic because it perpetuated the PWD pity trope. I didn’t mind so much because I thought that it was entirely generated by the cast, so I wasn’t going to hate on the way PWD choose to represent themselves (plus it was technically really well-done, at least from the able-bodied viewer’s perspective).
But then someone from the audience asked the (sighted, hearing, seemed otherwise able-bodied AND ABLEIST) director a question about why the show focused so much on the supposed isolation of Deaf-Blind people and didn’t represent them in any other way and her response was, DIRECT QUOTE, “This is not a commercial for Deaf-Blind people.”
Okay lady, fuck you. You’re going to put on this show and market it as A Representation of the Deaf-Blind Experience, but you’re going to hide behind the “I write what I know and this is what the people in the cast experienced.” You’re not going to take ANY RESPONSIBILITY for how this representation might reflect on the general Deaf-Blind and PWD community because it’s Your Art and you’re going to do it the way you want to??
…during a training on diversity and inclusion.
Uh-uh, I think you missed the point.
THE R-WORD, IT IS FOLLOWING ME. People keep using it inappropriately around me and it makes me so uncomfortable. I try to (nicely!) call people out but sometimes it’s people who already know they’re doing it or it’s a family member who is older than I am, etc.
FYI, I have a cousin with intellectual and physical disabilities… it hurts to hear people describe things as “retarded,” especially when that leads to her doing it because she hears it so much.
…even if her [Theron’s] inclusion did draw new viewers, it’s unlikely that they stuck around for long. (She was, after all, retarded.)Hey, look! Ableism! Nerve, is it so hard to be sex-positive that you end up being assholes in other ways instead? Really.