Is New York a Good Place to Be Blind?

chancey fleet Is New York a Good Place to Be Blind?WNYC has a great story about blind technology specialist Chancey Fleet:

Her house, in Sunset Park, is filled with gadgets. One of them intones, in perfect, soothing fembot, the color of any garment she runs it over. Another reads out the latest articles from The Atlantic–don’t expect to understand a word, however, because most of the time Chancey speeds it up to 380 words per minute.

Fleet has always been an early adopter of technologies for the blind and the general public. She got a Toshiba laptop in kindergarten and met her fiance, who is not blind, on OKCupid. She works at the Jewish Guild for the Blind, teaching other visually-impaired New Yorkers how to use technology like magnification software to make their lives easier in 21st century New York.

It’s an insight into how technology (like Google’s self-driving car) can help blind people function in a sighted world.

Still, Fleet won’t call technology an equalizer for the blind. New consumer tech products are constantly hitting the shelves, but none of the mainstream gadgets are optimized for the blind.

If you’re sighted, you can walk into the library and have someone show you how to use the databases and the Internet, Fleet said. But people lack the expertise to explain technology to a blind person–sales representatives at Best Buy are, for example, unhelpful.

ajeffries [at] observer.com | @adrjeffries