By Ahmat Djouma
Audiobooks, originally developed for people with vision impairment “as an alternative to Braille,” are enjoyed widely by many people who are sighted as well. In The New York Times article ‘Disability Drives Innovation,’ writer Shira Ovide discusses the history of audiobooks and how they made their way into the mainstream. Audiobooks, now often heard through smartphone headphones, began as “Talking Book” records in the 1930s in the U.S. The article notes that “Audiobooks are a prime example of a technology developed by or for people with disabilities that has helped all of us.” Another example, curb cuts in the sidewalks, initially designed for individuals with disabilities, have now proven to be useful for many other people. Accessibility innovations benefiting everyone is what this author calls “disability driving innovations” and “They remind us that people with disabilities are not an afterthought in invention but key players.” And if you enjoy listening to audio podcasts, The New York Times is beta testing a new audio app. Visit The New York Times to sign up.