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Tackling accessibility challenges: Users’ perspectives

Tackling accessibility challenges

Synthetic Imaging Research Inc. (SIRI) is a Toronto-based organization of users and developers of navigation technologies for the blind. Our commitment to becoming leaders in the quickly evolving field of assisted navigation, is only matched by the outstanding efforts and expertise of our four board members, all of which are legally blind.

As an active community-based organization, SIRI leverages the expertise of people with visual impairments (ranging from partial sight to total blindness) in Canada, in order to offer distribution and training of the best navigation technology available, while concurrently improving performance in collaboration with the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre (ATRC), at the University of Toronto.

SIRI arose from the realization that those of us who experience first-hand the exclusionary nature of a world made for others, have the most to contribute to the ideal of an inclusive society.

The requirement for binaural hearing

We are currently working on a solution to this problem since headsets, in our opinion, will be a critical component of hands-free navigation. However, developmental decisions will continue to be made from arguments and feedback derived from the cadre of visually impaired developers and users that flow through our special environment. Already, unforeseen issues such as cosmetics (will it muss my hair?) or stigma (will it make me look blind?) have come to plague us. But it may be only in the hard-nosed piteousness of an organization dedicated to our own that these issues would dare to surface and possibly be dealt with.

Synthetic Imaging Research Inc. – Video Presentation

One aspect of the origin of our management approach is self-evident, for who would be more motivated or experienced in understanding disability than Disabled people themselves? But on another level, we do it because we can. The same technology that has electronically joined this planet into a single community has benefited the visually impaired to a greater degree than the sighted. We cannot yet drive a car or paint a portrait, but, aided by adaptive technologies, we can and do actively develop practical solutions to improve our own independence.

Authors :Milton Zysman Executive Director Synthetic Imaging Research Inc.


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