The Thai Ministry of Tourism joined forces with Thai universities such as Chulalongkorn University and Silpakorn University to fulfill a single goal: To create a space where the visually impaired could experience art the same way others do.
Admittedly, many of us take our vision for granted when it comes to art. We forget that much of the beauty found in art exhibits — paintings, photographs and sculptures with giant “do not touch” signs in front– are only available to those of us with sight.
Well not anymore. In fact, you can kiss that “do not touch sign” goodbye.
Found in Chiang Mai, Thailand, a pilot project called “‘Feel the Happiness: Art for the Blind” aims to promote equality in the country by creating a space in which the blind and visually impaired can experience the country’s famous landmarks through feeling. For instance, there are bells in the shape of Buddha which can appeal to the sense of touch and the sense of hearing.
They hope to have artists create more sculptured and interactive artwork to be placed at Thailand’s tourist sites that allow the blind and visually impaired to experience the art.
We’ve all probably had days where we weren’t paying attention while walking and, in the blink of an eye, accidentally took a spill or dive. I can think of multiple occasions where I’ve crashed into inanimate objects like poles or doors while walking and texting. Every time this happens, I’m left resisting the urge to scream bloody murder at the creators of all technology.
Does this sound like you, too? Well, while it’s easy to blame our devices for misguiding us in our paths, we think that this new line of interactive haptic (of or relating to the sense of touch) smart shoes designed by Indian inventors Krispian Lawrence and Anirudh Shram proves that technology is not always the devil, and can be used for worthwhile purposes. Perhaps they’ll change your mind as well.
Lechal (translating to “take me there” in Hindi), the brand name of the shoes, were initially designed to help the visually-impaired with navigation. The designers told Mashable, an Indian magazine, “People who are visually challenged rely heavily on their sense of hearing to acquaint themselves with the environment and may find audio feedback a major distraction.” With the shoes, they can instantly find their way through a buzzing sensation on either the right foot or left foot which signifies which way to turn.
But as the video below shows us, it really is for everyone, especially those who enjoy running. The shoes keep track of how many steps it took to get to your location, as well as the number of calories burned. How does it work? The shoes contain a module that can wirelessly connect to an app you can download on your phone. Through the app, the user enters his or her destination. As soon as he or she begins walking, the sensors will then send a vibration to signal a turn for the user.
It goes without saying that Miley Cyrus has generated quite a bit of attention for herself the past few months. Though some may shake their head at the provocative performances and the minimal amount of clothing, there’s no denying the amount of people who enjoy her music.
That includes 11-year-old Joyce Jimenez from the Philippines. In fact, Jimenez is so passionate about Cyrus’ song “Wrecking Ball” that she has no problem belting out the song for the public to see.
Although Jimenez is blind and must follow along to braille lyrics, nothing seems to stop this talented girl from letting her voice shine.
The video, which was released less than a week ago, has already been going viral and has gathered over 480,000 views. Clearly, it’s for good reason. Check out the cover below and don’t be surprised if you catch yourself with goosebumps.
Audrey Magazine is an award-winning national publication that covers the Asian experience from the perspective of Asian American women. Audrey covers the latest talent and trends in entertainment, fashion, beauty and lifestyle.