[nfbmi-talk] FW: FW: Requesting interviews withblind/visually impairedpeople

Fred Wurtzel f.wurtzel at att.net
Sat Oct 17 00:22:09 UTC 2015


Hello,

 

Thank you for the reply.  I am happy that the comments were taken as constructive and not meant to insult or demean.  The topic of others designing things for us without our input is a very sensitive 1, especially in view of all the areas remaining where such high-quality research as the u of M could provide.

 

I look forward to working together to help blind live the lives we choose.

 

Warmest Regards,

 

Fred

 

From: Mu-Hua Cheng [mailto:muhua at umich.edu] 
Sent: Friday, October 16, 2015 5:25 PM
To: Fred Wurtzel
Subject: Re: FW: [nfbmi-talk] FW: Requesting interviews withblind/visually impairedpeople

 

Hi Fred,
Thank you for the thorough response. I relayed your message to my group mates and we have been thinking deeply about your insight. First of all, I hope we did not offend anybody within the blind community. It certainly was not our intention to. We understand that blind people are often very independent, but we have spoken with some groups who have expressed personal difficulty with household tasks - particularly people that recently lost their vision. We're aware of some of the assistive technologies out there for pouring or measuring liquids and are simply looking to improve upon these designs. In any case, it may be that our user base is much smaller than anticipated.

The course I am taking is meant to help students learn about different aspects of the design process. This covers topics including user research, idea generation, feasibility analysis, prototyping, and market analysis - all in one semester. While we made an effort to perform adequate user research before landing on a "problem definition", we found that it was much harder than anticipated to do this within the tight amount of time given. We had only talked to a couple blind people and had limited exposure to existing assistive technologies by the time we were asked to choose a project. We're now finding ourselves interacting with more people in the blind and low vision communities while simultaneously proceeding to other design stages.

While we don't have much flexibility to change course at this point, we will certainly use the resources you mentioned. The use of 3D printing for tactile graphics sounds fascinating. Another member also reached out to us and proposed auto mechanic measurement tools with voice feedback, which also sounds like a great idea for a future project. More importantly, we will take your advice to heart throughout the semester and beyond.

Thanks so much for your support.

 

Mu-Hua Cheng
M.S. Mechanical Engineering, 2017
University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

 

On Mon, Oct 12, 2015 at 11:24 AM, Fred Wurtzel <f.wurtzel at att.net> wrote:

Hello,

Thank you for considering blind people in your engineering class.  I am
forwarding a thread from an email list which I subscribe to.  I wish to
suggest that you consider discussing the idea of inventing products for
others with them prior to launching into a major class project. It is
inefficient, ineffective and unproductive to decide what a group of people
need without talking to them, first.  You may wish to have some class
discussions or discussions with your professors about the basic idea of
product development, that is: "know your audience."

I am certain your motives are well meaning.  Unfortunately, your failure to
talk to your target audience in advance has caused you to invest precious
time into a product that is not needed or wanted by blind persons.  There
are so many gaps in accessibility which need work. I recommend that you and
your classmates read the Braille Monitor, the publication of the National
Federation of the Blind.  I also recommend you visit the nfb.org website and
look at our technology blog to understand the challenges blind people face
in accessibility.

For example, some kind of application that would allow blind people to use
3d printing to make tactile models or tools needed for a specific
application would be interesting.  We, blind people, are just now beginning
to learn how to use this amazing technology.  We will eventually learn how
to make it accessible.  The wonderful resources of the University of
Michigan would be a welcome contribution to our efforts.  Possible
collaborations with our International Braille and Technology Center could
lead to some really cool advancements.

We, blind people, have been pouring and drinking, measuring cooking oil and
sulfuric acid for years in our kitchens and in our school laboratories.
This is not to say that someone could not figure out something imaginative
or useful, but that field has been plowed centuries ago.

I urge you and the U of M Engineering School to reach out to the National
Federation of the Blind and find a product or device which would be helpful.
A long-term project to improve access to high-tech, cutting edge systems
which will lead to more and better jobs for blind people is what we really
need.

Again, thank you for your desire to make the world a better place.  Keep up
your work to improve our civilization.

Warmest Regards,

Fred Wurtzel

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbmi-talk [mailto:nfbmi-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Michael
Powell via nfbmi-talk
Sent: Saturday, October 10, 2015 10:19 PM
To: 'NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List'
Cc: Michael Powell
Subject: [nfbmi-talk] FW: Requesting interviews withblind/visually
impairedpeople

Hello list serve members.
I am forwarding this from John as he wanted all of you to know that we are
all on the same page concerning this.
Mike
-----Original Message-----
From: JohnC. Scott [mailto:jcscot at sbcglobal.net]
Sent: Saturday, October 10, 2015 9:09 PM
To: 'Michael Powell'
Subject: RE: [nfbmi-talk] Requesting interviews withblind/visually
impairedpeople

Thanks Mike.  Please let the list members know, I thought it was stupid too.
Of course, I wasn't so course about withMr. Cheng.  I did tell I suspected
no one with be interested, but he was welcome to inquire.  I also invited
him to a chapter meeting.



John

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael Powell [mailto:mpowell7583 at yahoo.com]
Sent: Saturday, October 10, 2015 11:46 AM
To: 'JohnC. Scott' <jcscot at sbcglobal.net>
Subject: FW: [nfbmi-talk] Requesting interviews withblind/visually
impairedpeople



-----Original Message-----
From: nfbmi-talk [mailto:nfbmi-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of Mary
Ann Robinson via nfbmi-talk
Sent: Saturday, October 10, 2015 9:04 AM
To: terrydeagle at yahoo.com; NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List
Cc: Mary Ann Robinson
Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] Requesting interviews withblind/visually
impairedpeople

The person conducting the project got that message from our household.

Mary Ann
----- Original Message ----- From: "Terry D. Eagle via nfbmi-talk"
<nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
To: "'Joe Sontag'" <suncat0 at gmail.com>; "'NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing
List'" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
Cc: "Terry D. Eagle" <terrydeagle at yahoo.com>
Sent: Saturday, October 10, 2015 6:38 AM
Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] Requesting interviews withblind/visually
impairedpeople


> We don't need a "special" cup of any type.
>
> A perfect example why the NFB exists, and why we need relentless
> positive action to educate the uneducated and lost sighted persons
> about blindness, if and so we can achieve equality, opportunity,
> security, and independence in each and every aspect of society and life!
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: nfbmi-talk [mailto:nfbmi-talk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On Behalf Of
> Joe Sontag via nfbmi-talk
> Sent: Saturday, October 10, 2015 5:50 AM
> To: NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
> Cc: Joe Sontag <suncat0 at gmail.com>
> Subject: Re: [nfbmi-talk] Requesting interviews with blind/visually
> impairedpeople
>
> Why do we really need a special cup for the blind and visually
> impaired anyway?! I'm as blind as they get and yet I've managed quite
> well with the same cups and glasses that (gasp) the sighted use.; and
> I'm not a fluke in this regard. I hope John explained blindness as it
> really is and not the way most of the sighted believe it to be.
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "Linda Bloodsaw via nfbmi-talk" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
> To: "NFB of Michigan Internet Mailing List" <nfbmi-talk at nfbnet.org>
> Cc: "Linda Bloodsaw" <lindabloodsaw at gmail.com>
> Sent: Friday, October 09, 2015 19:18
> Subject: [nfbmi-talk] Requesting interviews with blind/visually
> impairedpeople
>
>
> : Detroit Chapter President, John Scott, spoke to Mr. Cheng, and I am
> posting here in case you would like to participate. Thanks.
> :
> : *****
> :
> : Hi there,
> :
> : My name is Mu-Hua Cheng. I am currently taking a course at the
> University of Michigan where my group and I are designing a cup
> (either a drinking cup or a measuring cup) for the visually impaired
> and blind populations. We are searching for potential users of our
> product to interview about their experiences with assistive and
> non-assistive technologies related to pouring liquids. We are hoping
> to talk face-to-face, but are open to telephone conversations if this
> makes scheduling easier.
> :
> : While we are interested in collecting data as early as possible
> (within the next couple weeks), our course runs until mid-December and
> we would certainly be interested in talking with as many potential
> users as we can throughout the semester. Ann Arbor residents are most
> convenient for face-to-face interviews, but a couple of my group
> members have cars so we may be able to venture out a little.
> :
> : Contact me at the phone number or email listed below. Thanks so much
> in advance for your help.
> :
> : Mu-Hua Cheng
> : M.S. Mechanical Engineering, 2017
> : University of Michigan
> : Ann Arbor
> : Phone: 510-703-2821
> : Email: muhua at umich.edu
> :
> :
> :
> :
> : _______________________________________________
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