PBS Runs "Freedom Machines" Documentary On Assistive
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
September 13, 2004
NEW YORK, NEW YORK--Tuesday night, public television stations around the country will broadcast a film that examines the ways technology, accessible design and anti-discrimination laws help people with disabilities to be more independent and have equal access to the world around them.
"Freedom Machines", an independent film that is part of the PBS series "P.O.V.", features a number of technologies that are becoming increasingly more common, including "standing" wheelchairs, closed-captioning, descriptive audio, programmable keyboards, screen-text readers, IntelliKeys, Braille devices, and voice recognition software, to name just a few.
"The purpose of the film is to let people know that there are tools out there than can really make a difference in their lives," said producer Jamie Stobie, "and also to let them know that there are laws that have been passed that guarantee their rights to participate in this life and society on an equal footing with everyone else."
"Freedom Machines" looks at the activism that has led to laws requiring assistive technology in schools, along with accessible public facilities. It also shows how technology, universal design, and in-home care are helping people to move from nursing homes into the community.
The film features technologies that are just now being developed which will be flexible and adapt to the needs of different users or to the changing needs of the same user.
"We have so far to go on development of technologies," said Jackie Brand, the founder of the Alliance for Technology Access. "There is so much yet to accomplish."
"We have just gotten a glimmer of what's possible."