Access for All Click


Access for All

From snowboarding prosthetic feet to a device that helps a blind man run, Click looks at what is being achieved when tech meets disability.


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Transcript


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Now on BBC News,

it's time to Click.

0:00:030:00:05

This week, the latest disability

tech with object recognition, sign

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to text translation and snow seat.

-- seat. -- the. -- seat.

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Over the past few years, some of the

most fascinating technologies we've

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featured on the show have been the

ones that help people with

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disabilities. As the world's burst

bionic games proved, the

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possibilities now emerging offer so

much potential, whether it be in

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disability, sight or hearing, we've

seen how technology is tantalisingly

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close but how long before it really

starts to impact people's lives for

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real? This weekend sees the

international day of people with

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disabilities and that's a great

chance for us to devote a whole

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programme to the latest tech

developments in the area. We start

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in Rochester in upstate New York,

which has the highest number of deaf

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or hard of hearing people per capita

in the US. The unique combination of

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this community and the technical

Institute in the area is really

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starting to drive innovation. Paul

Carter went to investigate.

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Rochester Institute of technology

and its constitute, natch, national

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technical Institute for the deaf,

are now at the forefront of

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developing and testing new

technologies that help deaf people

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to communicate. One technology is

UNI, an innovation that helps to

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live translate signed language into

text and speech. Alex Davies demo

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the prototype... At Inglis

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I do the signed for check.

I want to

check my flight.

Your flight is on

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time. As you noticed it came up on

the screen as I said that. The

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system works by using sensors with

two cameras that detect individual

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points on the joints and fingers and

renders them into the software to

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interpret the individual signs, a

task more, located than it might

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first sound.

Some signs are

naturally doing it over and over

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again, bag or wear.

This bag is a

carry on.

That's part of the

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challenge and the complexity of our

applications because we have to be

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able to filter all of that out, so

how does the software know you're

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not signing bag, bag, bag, just bag.

It's safe to say assistive

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technology for deaf people has come

a long way in a relatively short

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space of time. Here at the Rochester

School of the death, this museum and

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the items within it really highlight

the rate of change of technology

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that aids communication for deaf and

hard of hearing people, from things

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that look fairly primitive to us

now, from ear trumpets to speaking

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tubes, to the cutting edge

technology, such as live translation

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we're seeing today.

The advancement

of technology represents an

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opportunity for the advancement of

deaf people in the workplace.

RIT

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and in t.i.d. Started experiment in

with speech recognition in the

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classroom so deaf and hard of

hearing students who may not know

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sign language can participate fully.

This lecture's sign language is

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being interpreted by a translator.

It is then displayed on the board in

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real time.

It will probably help me

a lot. When the teacher is signing,

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I have an interpreter voicing form

E, if I miss something while taking

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notes I can look at the screen and

see what the teacher said. -- for

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me.

One of the best things I've

found on the laptop, when you can

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project it to your screen, you can

see the closed captioning on your

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laptop. It allows you to save

transcripts so you can use for

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future reference.

Here at RIT we

provide 25,000 hours of captioning

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every year for our deaf and hard of

hearing students who are in classes

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primarily with hearing professor who

is speaking their lecture. We

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thought one way we can cover those

uncovered ours is to use automatic

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speech recognition. Captioning has

been improved a lot in the past few

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months -- uncovered hours. It has

improved last year when the error

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rate was so high. But now ASR has

improved to the point where we feel

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very confident to pilot the

programme to see how well it works.

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And we can also make improvements

with the language model.

One of the

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main challenges of speech

recognition has been finding a way

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for deaf and hearing people to

communicate in situations where

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there isn't an interpreter around.

These students are using a special

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Instant Messenger app developed at

the university. We all know how

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inaccurate speech recognition can

be. -- special speech recognition

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app.

I think automatic speech

recognition is just getting started

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really and it's going to be

improving. I think it opens up a

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whole new avenue that hasn't been

possible before.

We want to become

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the hub for really experimenting and

looking for solutions to reduce the

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communication barriers that separate

deaf and hearing people.

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That was Paul Carter. Now, in the

UK, around 5% of all rail journeys

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are made by those with a disability

or a long-term illness. That equates

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to around 85 million rail journeys

every year. Now, while not all

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disabled people require assistance,

a quarter have reported problems

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with using public transport. The

rail company London Midland is

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hoping to improve accessibility for

its De Zeeuw all passengers with a

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new app, Passenger Persist, and we

asked Emily Yates to try it out for

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us.

I'm Emily Yates and I'm just

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planning my train journey to

Birmingham. It requires a fair bit

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of advanced booking. I'm confident

travelling by myself but I'm not a

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huge fan of the train, which is

actually why I'm making this

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journey. I've heard about an at in

development called Passenger Assist

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which could be a game changer for

disabled travellers. I think anybody

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watching this who's disabled will

probably agree with me that you can

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have some pretty horrific travel

journeys if you're disabled. I've

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been left on the train before, but

persistence and somebody has said,

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yeah, we're going to come and meet

you and I've been left on the train

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unable to get off and I've had to go

four or five stops down the line to

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be able to come back again so I'm

relieved as did to see what this app

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has to offer. -- really excited.

I've got this new app which is

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currently in development and I'm

just about to fill in my own

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profile. What's brilliant about this

app is it says do you need room for

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a guide dog, do you have a hearing

impairment, do you need a ramp, do

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you need help buying a ticket? So,

Roxanne, I've added my profile

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details and now I've just planned a

journey. This is obviously in

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development but this is how it would

work. I've put in my journey and now

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it should come up on your phone any

minute.

Here you are...

You've got

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my picture and everything so you

know exactly what I'll look like.

I

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know what you look like, know what

to expect, I press I'm here to help.

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Brilliant.

I can send you a message

saying I'm here, my name is Roxanne.

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Back on the train for me and now I

have this. Passenger Assist is being

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developed by start-up Transreport

under the guidance of London

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Midlands' lab. Right now the phone

is tracking both the staff member

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and the passenger. We're obviously

in the same place so you can see the

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two dots are quite close together.

Using the technology such as

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beacons, Wi-Fi, four G, GPS, we can

use multiple tools.

You know exactly

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what carriage I'm in even.

Yes, down

to the carriage, we can pinpoint

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less than one metre to your location

and find out which carriage, which

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train and the direction of travel

you're going in as well.

That's all

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well and good for staff stations but

how would it work on unmanned

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stations?

The app is still in

development, it's making good

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progress but we do have a challenge

with unmanned stations. What we

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would want to do is get you to the

Nehra is accessible station to get

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you on your way.

And it's not just

about the app. Transreport is also

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making trackable wristbands and

these key faults, they'll be

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available for those unable to use

phones as easily. Let's face it, in

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a world where we can now track our

pizza by the minute am having to

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book train assistance 24 hours in

advance seems a little old school

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and this way staff will have

information at their fingertips too.

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Transreport hope to roll out the app

across the London Midland service

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early next year and the plan is for

the entire UK rail network to be

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able to access it by June, 2018. If

there's one thing disabled

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travellers need that the current

system doesn't provide its the

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reassurance that someone will be

there to help and not leave them

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stranded when getting home all of

the train. -- on all of the train.

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Hello and welcome to the week in

tech. It was the week where the

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world's largest lithium ion battery

was turned on in Australia.

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Assembled by Tesla and designed to

store energy from a nearby wind

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farm, it can power 30,000 homes for

one hour. An AI robot called Sophia

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started crowd fending for more

brainpower. Instagram confirmed a

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pregnant Beyonce picture was the

most liked 2017 so far and dogs were

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the most liked face filter. Speaking

of selfies, Facebook's new security

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system may be asking for one to

prove you're not a bot while logging

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on and Uber made headlines again,

this time it was accused of using

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ex- CIA agents to spy on rivals also

developing self driving tech. Plus

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it was revealed their data breach

reported last week affected 57

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million users' details. Robots have

been flexing their muscles, lifting

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1000 times their own weight. These

origami inspired bots from MIT mimic

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real muscles, being built with soft

materials to make them a bit more

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human friendly. Universities across

the world are working on these types

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of highly dextrous robots. And

finally, good old-fashioned Lego is

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getting its own augmented reality

app. The Lego AR studio will bring

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to life some of the most popular

sets, so just as you thought the

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kids were sitting happily not having

any screen time, well, out comes the

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app.

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I really began with my own reality.

Someone using a wheelchair to get

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around and consistently frustrated

when I show up at bases and I don't

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know which they are accessible or

not until I get there. Countless

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times I show up and there are steps

or other barriers that prevent me

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from doing the things that I want.

And so I was really motivated to try

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and solve this problem and the way

that we've gone about doing that is

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by creating a mobile app that can

simply allow people who experienced

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express it -- accessibility needs to

share information about what is

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accessible on their own communities

and around the world. It starts by

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selecting a place and then breaking

a place as accessible or not

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accessible. You can go one step

further and and a description, you

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can say things like, I showed up at

this place, the customer service was

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fantastic. So this cafe looks like

it's not accessible. There are two

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steps at the entrance. But when I

look at app my, I can see there's an

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alternative entrance through the

building here, that will let me into

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the cafe. Let's check it out. For me

the main magic, the most exciting

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part about Access, is the

information is all crowd sourced

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from people who have experienced

accessibility needs in there own

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life, or are just motivated to get

wheelchair information. We started

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in Toronto with a couple of 100 pins

and now we've reached over 20,000

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throughout the world. What we really

want to make this a global movement.

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Before Access, I think people each

had their own internal maps in their

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ahead of what places are accessible,

what works for them in their own

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communities. But the second you step

outside of your comfort zone of

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where you live in your

neighbourhood, accessibility can

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become challenging. There are many

times when people who have mobility

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needs are isolated in many ways and

it simply because, you know, from

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the way I see it it's not people who

are disabled but it's our

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environment that are disabling. So

if we can remove the barriers that

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restrict people from engaging with

their communities, with their

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workplaces, with their lifestyles, I

think we can come to a much more

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inclusive world for everyone.

That

was from Toronto. Now, running a

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marathon, fancy it? No, me neither.

But for Simon is a regular

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occurrence. We first met him a

couple of years ago when he just ran

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and ultramarathon in Namibia. That's

150 miles. I should at this point

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say that Simon is blind, so knowing

where to run is as much of a problem

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as the running itself. In Namibia he

used audio from a smartphone to bite

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him. Since then, as a programmer and

inventor, he's invented his own

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track to guide him while he runs.

And the technology allowing

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navigation and visualisation of the

world, with outside and in, is

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hopefully about to become a bit

easier. We asked Simon to

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investigate.

My name is Simon and I

am a huge fan of technology. For the

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past few years I've really been

using technology to push the

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boundaries of possibility. Recently

I became the first blind person to

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attempt a marathon solo. A few weeks

ago in New York I used technology to

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run a needed for 15 miles, until

unfortunately the prototype didn't

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quite make it. For a blind person,

mobility is always a key issue. Even

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things around the house, it is as

simple as identifying different

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products in the kitchen or even

identifying different articles of

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clothing, being able to identify

objects is a constant problem. So

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one of the interesting breakthroughs

has been a product from Microsoft

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which is and app that runs on an

iPhone. Seeing Eye uses barcodes to

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recognise objects. You point the

camera at the object. One of the

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really powerful things that it can

do is simple text recognition.

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Vitamin D, wholegrain, serial, rice,

sugar, salt flavouring...

One thing

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is really nice is you can recognise

people, so you can point your phone

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at somebody.

In case you didn't

catch that, that was Big Neil, seven

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feet away.

One of the main issues is

that AI algorithms usually identify

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objects in groups. What I really

need is something to identify

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objects in detail, so don't just say

a cup, identify it specifically and

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that's exactly what I've been able

to work out. IBM are using their AI

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platform Watson to distinguish

between similar objects. The

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prototype Big -- prototype app will

be exciting if it works. First I had

0:17:520:18:01

to do the training to get to grips

with it.

OK, when you are ready and

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you have your table lined with some

objects, we can do some training.

I

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had to take at least ten good

pictures of an object against a

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solid background. Now with the model

trains we are able to identify

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similar objects?

Flower market.

In

the prototype stage I found the

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prototype really tricky. -- mug. I

like that it was a voice guided so I

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could do it independently. I've got

that connection with physical

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objects again. Photos and mugs and

T-shirts. It got to the point where

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there was no distinctly --

distinction between them. Now if I

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train it and tag it I can get to

know that individualisation again.

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It's great when you are doing things

in the kitchen. But with certain

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objects which mean a loss to you

it's not the same. To be able to tag

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them and find them it gives me that

memory. That is really giving me

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something back that I lost many

years ago. It leaves me really

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hopeful for the future.

Simon...

That was Simon and from his running

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guide to full on robotic limbs, we

are seeing more and more tech

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advances that promise to help

disabled athletes to compete in

0:19:280:19:31

sports that were previously

inaccessible to them. Our reporter

0:19:310:19:35

had her legs amputated ten years ago

and she's been trying out some new

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feet which could help amputees to

carve up the slopes this winter.

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I've come to Dorset Orthopaedic a

private company fits amputees with

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prosthetic legs, from running blades

to hyperrealistic limbs. One sport

0:19:520:19:57

that's always been very hard for me

is snowboarding, because my normal

0:19:570:20:01

feet designed specifically for

walking. But here, they've got feet

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that would make that easier.

Requirements of the full-time

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different with skiing compared to

walking. With normal walking you

0:20:090:20:12

need a foot that has a fairly small

range of movement that gives you

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energy back, as you roll over the 40

get some push off at the end to help

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your walking. With skiing you need

more movement in the foot to

0:20:210:20:25

compensate for the uneven surface.

You also need some shock absorption,

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so when you go over a bump or you

land on the ski unique some that

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shock taken out and that's what this

does.

While I'm left to my own

0:20:340:20:39

devices, Kevin agrees to fit my legs

with some of these feet so I can

0:20:390:20:43

give them a go. This requires a lot

of honing and alignment to make sure

0:20:430:20:47

I am not pushed too far forwards or

backwards. Ta-da! My legs. I'm quite

0:20:470:20:53

intrigued as to how this will feel.

I have no idea.

Oh, wow. If you push

0:20:530:20:59

a weight forwards you should be able

to feel the movement in the ankle.

0:20:590:21:03

Oh, wow. That sensation I've not

felt in the ten years since being an

0:21:030:21:07

amputee. These feet work by putting

your leg into an adjustable

0:21:070:21:12

cylinder, which controls the

resistance in the foot. More air and

0:21:120:21:16

more resistance, as well as giving

this movement, shock absorption in

0:21:160:21:19

the foot means going over rocks or

bumps is easier, they are not cheap.

0:21:190:21:24

With the price of £2500 each, it

means only some people can get

0:21:240:21:28

access to them. It is clear that

bear not for walking. They are very

0:21:280:21:34

rigid, very square and very hard.

But if I let my mind go and imagine

0:21:340:21:39

myself snowboarding, which I've done

badly in the past, I can feel that

0:21:390:21:44

and then move and that's weird,

because I have not felt my feet move

0:21:440:21:50

in that way before. -- for ten

years. There's only one thing left

0:21:500:21:56

to do and it is to try defeat out on

some proper snow. I've come to an

0:21:560:22:01

indoor slope, but I've got to admit

I'm feeling very nervous. This is

0:22:010:22:05

Emma Gillespie. She has agreed to

come with me to fit the feet and

0:22:050:22:11

help the try them out. You've done

it before.

How was it? Hard.

But you

0:22:110:22:18

did it. So?

One leg.

This is what

you don't see about being an

0:22:180:22:26

amputee.

0:22:260:22:28

When I've snowboarding previously on

my normal walking feet, it's been

0:22:330:22:37

really difficult. But these offer

much more and the way they are set

0:22:370:22:41

up office and natural bent on my

knees, stands that almost impossible

0:22:410:22:45

on neutral legs.

Here we go. Think

about your posture of it. -- a bit.

0:22:450:22:58

And a turn!

So it's been awhile

since I boarded and expecting an

0:22:580:23:05

instant result is probably asking a

too much, but the best thing for it

0:23:050:23:10

is to keep throwing myself down the

slope and see what happens. Despite

0:23:100:23:14

the technology of these feet, there

is only so much they can do when it

0:23:140:23:18

comes to hitting the slopes. The

real work is definitely still coming

0:23:180:23:22

from the person. And if you're not

very good, bear not going to stop

0:23:220:23:26

you from falling. -- they're. I'm

soaking wet, that fall has drenched

0:23:260:23:36

me. But it's amazing when you merge

technology and disability, to give

0:23:360:23:42

people independence and the feeling

that they can try things that they

0:23:420:23:46

perhaps thought weren't there for

them. It's fun. But they are

0:23:460:23:51

expensive.

That's it for this special programme

0:23:510:24:00

for the international day off People

with Disabilities. We will carry on

0:24:000:24:06

reporting on this stuff throughout

the year, but you can keep a special

0:24:060:24:10

eye on our disability stories

online. Thanks for watching and see

0:24:100:24:15

you soon.

0:24:150:24:16

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