One of my strongest negative childhood memories was being stuck in gravel. I had been at the park playing football, and was wheeling home for dinner. At the time I had a Turbo wheelchair, where the front wheels were big and the back were smaller. The little wheels couldn’t get the through the deeper gravel I’d chosen to go across, and I sat there stranded and helpless.
It might have only been 10 minutes before a random passed by and helped, but it felt forever at that age! There I was, stranded like a lonely camel in the desert – except without the water.
“What if nobody came?”. I cried so hard.
When I now look at my personal and professional areas of life; technology has become a fundamental tool.
I use my phone for my diary, news consumption, sms, whatsapp, email, social media, photos, Skype, books, everything on the Internet, oh yea and phone calls too!
My bed is mechanically adjustable, my hoist lifts me, my wheelchair moves me throughout the house, into town, and reclines me. My car takes me further afield, all operated by my weak hands.
There’s been a lot of people approaching me about working with new technologies for disabled people. People with visions for apps, wheelchairs, transport and robots that carry out social care tasks for example.
We’ve also recently seen science helping a paralysed man to walk again, and drug trials to slow or stop conditions.
I will discuss my thoughts on the progress of Science, and the ethical questions raised, in my next article.
For now please can you consider and respond to the below…
Had I been stuck in that gravel today, I’d have just texted a family member or friend. However some technology will feel weird or even dangerous.
Question – What difficulties would you like to see technology solve, and where would you draw the line on it replacing human support?