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Innovation

Chieko Asakawa: How new technology helps blind people explore the world

How can technology help improve our quality of life? How can we navigate the world without using the sense of vision? Inventor and IBM Fellow Chieko Asakawa, who's been blind since the age of fourteen, is working on answering these questions. In a charming demo, she shows off some new technology that's helping blind people explore the world ever more independently ... because, she suggests, when we design for greater accessibility, everyone benefits.

Dr. Chieko Asakawa invents technology to make the visually impaired more independent.

Dr. Chieko Asakawa is an IBM Fellow who has been instrumental in furthering accessibility research and development for the past three decades. Challenging thinking on visually impaired technology usage, she leads the development in advancing web accessibility including digital Braille and voice browsers.

The government of Japan awarded the 2013 Medal of Honor with Purple Ribbon to Dr. Asakawa for her outstanding contributions to accessibility research, including the development of a voice browser for the visually impaired. Today, with Carnegie Mellon University, she is working on how accessibility technologies can play a key role in the real world to help create opportunities for more people to actively participate in the society.

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