Computer scientist Chieko Asakawa was born with normal sight, but after she injured her optic nerve in a swimming accident at age 11, she began losing her sight, and by age 14 she was fully blind.
Employed by IBM in Tokyo since 1982, she has developed a range of technologies for the blind, Slate.com reports. They include a Braille word processor, a digital library for documents written in Braille, and the IBM Home Page Reader, a text-to-speech Internet plug-in.
Now she's a visiting researcher at Carnegie Mellon University, where she is taking assistive technology from the digital to the physical world, meaning that instead of using technology to tell sight-impaired people what’s happening online, she’s using it to tell them what’s down the hallway.
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