Today’s technology is known to make a lot of things possible that we thought weren’t even until a few years ago. With a little technical know how, developers recently have built amazing things that were not considered accessible earlier. Joe Birch is one such developer who contributes to the community as a developer and maker. Joe’s family has a history of Retinitis Pigmentosa – a genetic eye disease that slowly causes vision loss. Joe is a musician, and prides himself on being in several bands over the years which helped him become a more confident person. His interest in music made him take a step towards making music (and musical instruments) accessible to everyone.
Using his software skills, Joe has built a new guitar called Chord Assist that teaches guitar to people with disabilities, especially those who are blind, deaf or mute. The guitar has an in-built Raspberry Pi (a tiny computer that connects to the cloud) LCD screen, Braille display and a speaker. Someone learning the guitar simply say commands to the guitar, like “how do I play the C chord?”. The guitar then fetches the right information from the cloud and displays it on the Braille display and LCD screen, and also says it out loud through the speaker!
It is a very neat proof of concept that shows that anything is possible with technology. Not only that, with a plethora of knowledge around us, we can build inexpensive accessible solutions ourselves without having to wait for big manufacturers to come up with one.
Watch the video below to learn more about Chord Assist.