Historically, Memorial Day marks the kickoff to summer in the US. A big deal where I live, in Minnesota, where winters seem to linger later and later. After a chilly spring, we are particularly ready for outdoor summer fun this year. And now that can be more inclusive. Track chairs are coming to Minnesota state parks! Starting tomorrow, they will be available for reservation by phone.
Track chairs are off-road, electric-powered chairs that can be used on designated trails within the park. These chairs can help visitors explore areas of the state parks in new ways, often on trails that are not suitable for regular wheelchairs.MN Department of Natural Resources
And that’s not only in my neck of the woods. Lincoln City, Oregon now has free beach wheelchairs and accessible paths:
They found a way to make their beaches accessible to individuals with limited mobility, using the simple, innovative concept of roll-out pathways and free beach wheelchairs. The idea has revolutionary implications.That Oregon Life
In other positive accessibility news:
- Online courses for people with disabilities, by people with disabilities: Fable Pathways is a skill development program for people with disabilities interested in working in the tech sector.
- Blindness charity launches new voice-based service for smart speakers: Innovative platform will give users access to information and support services
- Last but not least, a new colleague told me all about MacArthur Fellow Joshua Miele, a blind adaptive technology designer who develops devices to enable blind and visually impaired people to access everyday technologies and digital information. One particularly cool thing is his YouDescribe platform. It combines crowd-sourced audio descriptions of YouTube videos with an interface to synchronize the descriptive audio with the video source.