Hack Ability ✤ Hands are
important ✤ RSI is hard ✤ People invent stuff to help with that ✤ It’s proprietary and expensive ✤ Or in out of print books and abandoned blogs
Hack Ability Everyone needs a
voice In the last few years, Dynavox bought: Eye Response Technologies Mayer Johnson Enkidu Research Blink Twice AND MORE Assisted and Augmented Communication is big business
Hack Ability ✤ Why care
now? ✤ Until you need it, you don’t care ✤ When you need it, you will be busy, poor, and in pain ✤ Don’t count on magic benevolence or immortality nanobots. Design and code for your future.
Hack Ability Why isn’t there
more free/open source access hacking? * Medical expert model * Charity model: PWD are passive recipients of charity * PWD are often isolated from community * Solutions are individual, and then aren't shared
Hack Ability Your impaired body
is under the control of the MEDICAL INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX Your wheelchair repair manual or voice control hack might get you sued if someone is injured might violate copyright or a patent might ruin someone's PROFIT
Hack Ability YOU will need
assistive technology YOU WILL WANT TO HACK IT. You'll need DIY attitude @ access You'll need open source information structures and communities Vision, speech, gaming making some strides but mobility mods aren't integrated with open source culture
Let’s Get Physical ✤ I
have a sometimes obvious physical impairment ✤ People ask me questions about “web accessibility”! ✤ Disabled = all disability in their minds ✤ So let’s look at the commonalities. How are software, web access, projects handled compared to physical mobility gadgets/inventions?
Easy Hacks ✤ Individual solutions
✤ Easy viral/info spread. People see it in public. ✤ No special skills, tools needed ✤ Crutch pockets and other carrying and gripping gadgets
Easy Hacks ✤ Crutch holders
on a bike ✤ Lesson for inventors ✤ Don’t assume ✤ People’s abilities vary ✤ Sometimes from day to day ✤ Or hour to hour
Software !=easy ✤ Computer and
web access is treated as an easy hack ✤ Bolt on the crutch holders! ✤ Add some alt tags! ✤ Stick hand controls on the gas pedal! (Be sure to patent that!) ✤ That creates many problems. It doesn’t make for a viable DIY or free/open source culture.
Easy Hacks ✤ Information hack
can be simple ✤ Labelling tape has raised letters ✤ Control languages for voice activation (use another human language for a meta language) ✤ Address labels on your crutches ✤ Individual, doesn’t require systemic change
Complex Hacks ✤ Infrastructure changes
✤ Need strength, special tools ✤ Architectural mods ✤ Need maintenance ✤ (This is Miguel Valenzuela’s hydraulic $100 toilet lift) ✤ It’s a good hack: it’s not a viable ongoing project yet ✤ Still no pathway to make it one
Complex Hacks ✤ Ramps. Online
how-to information is rare. ✤ Nonproﬁts, state/county govt. ✤ Detailed blueprints. Disassembly too. ✤ Regulations, how to hire contractors or ﬁnd volunteer group to build it ✤ LOTS of meta information. Good! ✤ But it’s all Web 1.0. Hand coded html pages, no feedback, no path to change. Metropolitan Center for Independent Living, Minnesota
Complex Hacks ✤ Complex open
source access hacks need community ✤ Just as any open source project does ✤ Whether it’s hardware, gadgetry, or software.
Web access ✤ “The power
of the Web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential aspect.” - Tim Berners-Lee ✤ Accessibility is still an afterthought. ✤ Accessibility for developers is important.
AAC and web access ✤
Software and web devs consider access to info and UIs ✤ Speech recognition, Text to speech ✤ Eye control, Switches ✤ Web site accessibility ✤ Software navigation ✤ In practice this often means bolting a crappy handrail onto a decently designed building. That sucks for everyone! Design with access in mind from the beginning.
Contributing to FLOSS “I hope
to be able to read, browse the net, and even participate in conversations by email and messaging. Voice synthesizers allow local communications, and I am making use of a free service for ALS patients which will create a synthetic model of my own natural voice, for future use. I may even still be able to write code, and my dream is to contribute to open source software projects even from within an immobile body. That will be a life very much worth living.” - Hal Finney
Accessibility Projects ✤ GNOME projects
for accessibility in Linux ✤ http://projects.gnome.org/ accessibility/ ✤ Cash for tasks completed. Good idea. Still active? KDE: KMouth, KMagniﬁer ✤ http://live.gnome.org/Orca Adept1 (not free) ✤ http://live.gnome.org/Orca/ Ophoenix (Ubuntu project) HowCanIHelp - Excellent guide to starting work!
“There’s something inherent in the
Bloggers, hackers, abundance of a digital world and dawning digital culture that requires, testers, consultants even demands, openness on many fronts.” ✤ Extreme users are excellent product designers and testers ✤ Experts on pushing systems to work in unusual ways, adapting them for new purposes ✤ Lifekludger.net - David N. Problems: Wallace * asking for volunteer work * work/beneﬁts issues ✤ Glenda Watson Hyatt: http:// www.doitmyselfblog.com/
Collect some information ✤ Global
Assistive Technology wiki ✤ OATS (Open Source Assistive Technology Software) ✤ AbilityNet ✤ Disapedia, Wikihow ✤ Instructables ✤ Wikipedia?
BBC Accessible Newsreader ✤ Create
a user ✤ Choose content blocks ✤ Scanning speed ✤ Audio and font size setttings ✤ The site then scans through navigation options. Good for one switch or gaze control.
Build it into FLOSS platforms
✤ BBC scanning idea is good! ✤ Could build similar options into popular platforms like WordPress ✤ Or into operating systems? Rethinking navigation and control.
Tactile Maps ✤ Tactile Maps
✤ Mashup, maps for visually impaired ✤ Lighthouse for the Blind, SF ✤ $15 for businesses ✤ Free for California residents with visual impairment
Text only geography ✤ What
about a mashup of open street map and MUD/ Interactive ﬁction style text descriptions of geographic locations? ✤ You are standing in front of the convention center. To the north there is a stairway and a ramp up to the city center plaza. There is a small mailbox here.
✤ Creating systems that PWD
Antifeatures! can’t contribute to ✤ Information silos ✤ One-off solutions that aren’t put into public domain (student contests, charity, what you might do for relatives) ✤ Exploiting vulnerable populations, insurance, govt. ✤ Freaking out about liability ✤ Selling out to industry ✤ Examples from charities.
Arts for All ✤ Idealistic,
cool, great! ✤ Golf carts, mowers, rotisserie motors, attach to walkers and chairs ✤ Patents + bad online store = limited and local implementation ✤ Could publish the plans as DIY, and still sell this stuff to FLOSS culture emergency! schools and so on.
Free Wheelchairs ✤ Wheelchair Mission
✤ Neat invention ✤ Plastic lawn chairs, bike wheels in a kit, ship 500 to Uganda ✤ Unmaintainable, breakable ✤ Undermines local industry and market ✤ Thanks though...
Whirlwind Wheelchair International ✤ Rugged
$200 chairs ✤ Partnering with local industry in Nicaragua, Guatemala ✤ Manufacturing, training for local repair industry ✤ Focus on sharing information ✤ But not completely free/open source design (yet) for various reasons.
3D Printers? ✤ 3D Printers
as materials get better may provide a pathway for inventors of stuff that will be useful for people with disabilities ✤ Ponoko, Shapeways
Further Thoughts ✤ Medical model
of thinking of assistive devices, liability, greed have limited hardware and gadget development ✤ Spreading FLOSS philosophies and community/ collaboration methods would help invention. ✤ The active FLOSS assistive tech projects out there are unusually vulnerable to loss of individual contributors, coordinators ✤ They’re also vulnerable to the power of the medical- industrial complex. Fight the power! ✤ Improve your software by considering extreme users.
Radicalize! ✤ Cross pollinate ideas
✤ physical inventions, hardware, needs more open sourciness! ✤ open source culture needs physical inventiveness, adaptations driven by necessity, of pwd ✤ Document projects, preserve information
IN THE FUTURE... Will you
be a sad lonely person fumbling to epoxy tennis balls onto the feet of your totally World War II looking hospital walker ?
Or will you be hacking
your burning man jetpack in a vibrant community that supports serendipity and a culture of invention!
A DIY approach to HACKING
ABILITY will help everyone We'll invent cool shit We'll open source our way out of nursing home prisons run by the medical industrial complex and The future will be awesome!!! Date
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