Here’s something to think about the next time you reach out for the TV remote.
The remote control:
Have you operated a TV without one? Many a war has been waged in the modern home to claim access to the remote control. What is a convenience for us today was first invented, in 1955 by American engineer Eugene J. Polley, to help the elderly and people with limited mobility.
Alexander Graham Bell, who invented the telephone, was strongly involved with the deaf community having a wife and a mother that were both deaf. He taught people with a hearing impairment. His work with them gave him the idea of “electronic speech” that turned into the telephone.
The office scanner:
In 1976, American engineer Ray Kurzweil met a blind man who told me he’d like books to tell their stories. This inspired him to invent a reading machine to transcribe written text to blind people after meeting. He conceived a flatbed scanner and a text-to-speech synthesizer, two technologies that were unheard of at the time.
SMS text messages:
In 1984, Finnish engineer Matti Makkonen came up with the idea of SMS as a way to communicate with deaf people.
We owe many of the conveniences we enjoy today to the engineers who built accessible solutions.
We can also be that engineer 🙂
Solve for one. Extend to many.