Search
  • miravisinfo

Moving Forward


Project Mira’s Goals


As explained on other parts of our website and social media outlets, Project

Mira’s goals come at the intersection of new technological advancements and a

lack of innovation in accessible technology for the visually impaired. In our

blog posting series we hope to add more technological, historical, and social

context to the story Project Mira helping to build.


The blind and non-blind team members at Mira have a personal understanding

that current accessible technology offerings for people with visual

impairments are limited. Though other disabilities, such as deafness, have seen

incredible leaps for the accessible technology offered in the form of devices

such as cochlear implants, the last meaningful long reaching technology to

assist the blind in navigation has been well trained (and loved) service dogs.


Cadet (a black labrador retriever pictured above) has been the long time

service animal to one of Project Mira’s founders, but Cadet’s good work is not

the most subtle form of accessible navigation. Service dogs evidence a person’s

blindness and struggle to blend in a society which emphasizes sight as the most

important sense. Mira's innovations in wearable technology and computer

vision will allow our venture to break the dichotomous choice which many

blind people face of dog or cane.


Project Mira is participating in both technological and social change, taking

part in exciting narratives being driven in the accessible technology space. In A

Survival Plan for the Modern Cyborg, Rinie Van Est writes, “[t]he convergence of

nanotechnology, biotechnology, information technology, and cognitive science

increasingly turns biology into technology, and technology into biology. The

convergence takes on three concrete forms. First, we are more and more like

machines, and can thus be taken apart for maintenance and repair work and

can perhaps even be upgraded or otherwise improved. Second, our interactions

with one another are changing, precisely because machines are increasingly

nestling into our private and social lives. And third, machines are becoming

more and more humanlike, or at least engineers do their best to build in

human traits, so that these machines seem to be social and emotional, and

perhaps even moral and loving” (Van Est, 2014) Van Est is right to point out

that advancements in the accessible technology field have allowed people to

use machines to not only just to experience their own bodies in different ways,

but to augment the entire socio-communicative experience.


Anyone who has

walked around with a white cane or gone to a new place with a guide dog

understands that the accessible technologies people use change how the world

perceives them as they move through it. Products like the one that Project


Mira is working on increase the independence of people with disabilities to

make meaningful choices about both the ways that they perceive the world and

the way the world perceives them.


Ben Weimer

Ximira LLC- Accessibility Coordinator


References:

VAN EST, R. (2014). A Survival Plan for the Wild Cyborg. Issues in Science and

Technology, 30(3), 67-72. Retrieved June 1, 2021, from

http://www.jstor.org.central.ezproxy.cuny.edu/stable/43315869

30 views0 comments