At the Consumer Electronics Show in January, Vision Free presented awards to 19 companies and organizations for making products that blind people can use. Vision Free is led by blind musician Stevie Wonder and several organizations that promote equality for visually impaired people. Among the awards this year were National Public Radio for their accessible digital radio broadcast services initiative; Apple for adding speech capabilities to its its iPod Nano and iTunes music library; and Audible.com for providing a good web interface and enabling Audible books on several devices for the blind. In an Popular Science magazine interview, Wonder says huge advances in technology have made life easier for people with physical disabilities, but there’s still much more work to be done. “I hear manufacturers say, ‘Oh, we forgot about that,’ or ‘Oh, that’s interesting.’ Well, think! Make your products a convenience for everyone. Be an all-inclusive company,” Wonder said. At the top of the Grammy award winner’s list of favorites at CES is the new Apple iPod that lets the iTunes music library “talk” to him and also has more accessible controls. On his wish list? A car that he can use to get around, though he realizes this invention could be a long way off.
Stevie Wonder on High-Tech for the Blind
January 21 2009 | by Suzanne Robitaille