As choreographer Chris Fonseca teaches me a dance routine, the beat of the music is pumping via me.
However not via my ears. I am sporting a SubPac, which is strapped on to my again and permits me to really feel the beat of the music because it thumps via my physique.
Chris is making an attempt to duplicate what it will really feel like if, like him, I have been deaf. And that is his goal – to give the chance for deaf dancers in his courses to really feel the music to allow them to study his choreography with ease.
“Dance courses are all the time so quick-paced, and with out with the ability to hear the music you find yourself simply being out of time,” says Chris.
The SubPac, which is extensively used within the music world to assist music producers really feel the music with out damaging their ears, works by transferring low, bass frequencies on to your physique, offering the bodily dimension to sound.
As quickly as his aunty launched him to music movies, dancing turned a ardour for Chris. However when he turned deaf at a younger age, after having meningitis, he thought his goals of dancing and choreography have been over.
By means of his love of dance, Chris persevered, becoming a member of dance courses on the again and permitting his pure means to shine by means of.
However he knew that not each deaf dancer can be as assured as him with out with the ability to hear the music.
James Williams, who does enterprise improvement for SubPac, tells the BBC: “Giving Chris, and people with listening to impairments the power to expertise one thing that all of us take as a right is a uncommon alternative.
“Because the focus is on physicality, the SubPac is nice for serving to dancers with listening to issues to bop in time to the beat.”
And know-how is giving individuals with all types of disabilities the prospect to remain lively and hold match.
Take Simon Wheatcroft, who misplaced his sight at 17.
Simon was born with the genetic degenerative eye situation retinitis pigmentosa (RP), which causes gradual deterioration of the retina. However that hasn’t stopped Simon turning into an extremely-marathon runner.
“I began operating for one thing to do. I used a information canine to run outdoors or went operating with different individuals,” he says.
He has run the New York marathon and lots of for much longer races, usually with a human information. However what occurs if you need to run solo?
In a bid to do a one hundred fifty five-mile extremely-marathon within the Namibian desert this Might he turned to IBM Bluemix – the tech big’s app improvement arm – to assist him create an app.
Referred to as eAscot after his information canine, the app makes use of sensors, just like automotive parking sensors, and satellite tv for pc navigation to assist him keep on target.
A desert race might be damaged down right into a collection of straight strains, every with its personal bearing on a compass. If he veers off to the correct, the app emits a excessive-pitched beep that will increase in frequency the additional away he goes. If he runs too far left, low pitch beeps warn him.
Silence means he is on course.
“I used to be drained and in ache after the marathons, however I used to be additionally joyful figuring out I had achieved one thing that when appeared unattainable, made attainable because of know-how,” says Simon.
“What sticks with me is the sensation of accomplishment,” he provides. “With the ability to do one thing that had by no means been accomplished earlier than. To create an software in a matter of weeks that modified what was attainable for visually impaired runners felt even higher than finishing any race.”
Paralympians, too, are utilizing know-how to assist them compete on the highest degree.
Advances in 3D printing, light-weight supplies and pc design are having an influence in quite a few areas, from tailored racing wheelchairs to aerodynamic prosthetic limbs.
“The know-how getting used, corresponding to 3D tech, is evolving yearly and we’ll see a variety of latest developments on the upcoming Paralympics that may assist these competing to realize even higher data throughout all disciplines,” says Nick Braund, head of tech and innovation at PHA Media.
Designworks carried out full physique scans of monitor and subject athletes within the US Paralympics workforce to create the sporty racing wheelchairs.
However what about assistive know-how for on a regular basis sports activities?
When Anthony Netto, a South African-born skilled golfer and US veteran, was paralysed after being shot via the hip while on obligation in Iraq, he thought he’d by no means have the ability to play golf once more.
As a paraplegic he knew it would not be attainable with out with the ability to stand. So he invented the Paragolfer, a machine that may elevate you from a sitting place to a standing place.
Initially invented in 2001, it was lastly launched in April this yr at Mearns Citadel Golf Academy in Glasgow.
Anthony says it is reworked the prospects for individuals who thought they’d by no means have the ability to play the game once more.
“From tears of pleasure, to smiles from ear to ear, hugs and kisses for grateful heartfelt thank yous – I really feel like I’ve made an actual distinction to individuals’s lives,” he says.
Nick Braund concludes: “New tech improvements like these have allowed these beforehand not in a position to participate in sport or train the chance to compete and succeed.”
And that may solely be an excellent factor.
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