And Gutenberg Lived Here: Welcome To Sight City

I don’t know about you all,

but I’m a gadget lover.

And a chaser of adventures-

which somehow, in the end,

usually end up chasing me instead.

Case in point:

Sight City-

And if you haven’t heard of Sight City,

shame on you.

Well, maybe not-

but it is, to tell the truth,

the largest purveyor of gadgets,


and aids for the blind

and visually impaired,

in all of Europe.

This year, for example,

the Sheraton at the Frankfurt airport,

was host to over 128 large companies and organizations.

And if you, like most people,

haven’t had to do with more than one blind person at a time,

picture the following:

When leaving the long-distance train station,

a special building just for fast trains arriving at the airport,

(regional, local, and subway are in a separate area)

you are immediately noted,

if you have a cane out and at the ready,

and docked onto the arm of a member of the yellow-shirt team,

trained to escort the blind.

(And manage up to small groups, linked hand to shoulder-

who they then escort down the walkway,

across the people mover,

and directly to the registration desk at the convention headquarters.

From there, you are instructed in elevators,

the use of the mobility strip-

a five rilled plastic low train-track on the floor here,

and in many German cities,

for the blind to walk on,

cane in the center rill.

From there,

into the void-

loud noise,


“non-blind out-of-the-way please”

demonstrations of the latest technology,

and, of course, the inevitable coffee.

Free here for participants.

And the gadgets.

Be still my heart.

So many gadgets with the one simple, all-important goal-

help the blind stay  equal in a non-blind world.

From kitchen gadgets:

speaking egg timers, heat recognition,

to household repair tools with hand guards,

and daily wear:

color and pattern recognition,

to the one someone not blind never thinks about-

a pencil-sized unit to check if the lights are on,

all is available.

Along with a lot of things finally built non-digital

so the blind can use them-

anyone out there listening?

And then, of course,

there are the things that make the blind look beautiful-

hey, they wish to look just as good as the rest of us-

and here, a very special tip of my hat to a very special person:

an eminent designer,

Chris Park,

with a very special view of the way we see things,

and a wish to design useful items,

like canes,

that are beautiful enough,

and his definitely are,

that a blind person doesn’t feel,

and move,

like an elephant when going out to a concert,

or a formal dinner somewhere.

Thank you Chris.

We really loved your designs.

And then, of course,

as I mentioned before,

Harold and I being gadget freaks,

the highlight of the evening was the Orcam,

a Next Generation’s Jordie type of visor-

actually, a half google half NG pair of glasses,

not hooked to the brain,

with a small web cam

that not only recognizes text and patterns

it also recognizes faces of friends

and important people in your life-

darn- we forgot to ask if  it recognizes dogs.

Probably so.

So if you add up all of the above,

add in one very exhausting,

but fascinating couple of days of adventure-

oh, and of course, visits to the new online-download audio- books,

for the over 40 million blind in the world,

toss in a discussion of a small four-standing-up sort of smart-car,

self-driving, of course,

which I could easily see a lot of use for

for the non-visually impaired,

when it comes out relatively soon,

(think  one-way cab bills,

and Mardi gras-


and you start to get a very strong view of

just what is in store for the visually challenged of the future-

unless we finally get the medical problems causing it wiped out first.

Can’t wait to see what they come up with next year.

copyright 2017

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