A horseshoe-shaped device that can help those without sight explore the world better than ever.
True
Toyota

"I don't think I'm different. I think how I interact with the world is different."

So explains Belo Cipriani, who was born with sight but lost it in adulthood. Like millions of Americans and people all around the world, he's learned to thrive in his new normal, savvily using the right tools to help him on his journey. A guide dog and sometimes a white cane help him get through his day.


All GIFs via Toyota USA/YouTube.

But what would an even more accessible world mean for him? How could he be provided with even more mobility and connectivity? What would that look like?

Hearing Belo discuss how he interacts with the world points us toward the true heart and soul of accessibility. Listen to him and then check out more of the story below.

The term "accessibility" is a common one. It is a sterile word that often conjures up images of ramps and chair lifts, parking spots and building codes. While it is indeed those things, it is also so much more.

Making the world accessible is about doing whatever can be done to ensure people with different abilities can be their full selves with the same freedom, confidence, independence, safety, and ease as everyone else.

It's about more than the occasional closed captioning and braille options or doing the bare minimum to ensure people with disabilities have subpar, insecure, minimally inclusive participation in the day-to-day activities of life.

It's about pushing the limits of what is and rethinking the status quo to give everyone the opportunity to participate in as much of the human experience as possible.

And if there's one sector that understands the value of pushing those limits and possibilities, it's technology.

That's where Toyota's Project BLAID comes in.

Their engineers in the Toyota Partner Robotics group have collaborated for more than four years with leading organizations and members of the blind community to better understand the mobility needs of the visually impaired and develop solutions to meet those needs.

Translation: They're creating technology to fill in the blanks left by current tools for the blind.

How innovative? Well, this new product is a hands-free, horseshoe-shaped device that sits on a person's shoulders. It’s easy to wear and comes with cameras, voice recognition, buttons, speakers, and vibration — all calibrated to help a blind or visually impaired person better explore and interact with the environment around them. Bluetooth technology pairs it with a smartphone.

With a push of a button, it helps identify signs for bathrooms, exits, elevators, stairwells, and other important places — giving people with limited sight a new level of accessibility so they can do more with greater independence and confidence.

Belo, who was invited to check out the product in its early stages of development, is quite excited about the potential and possibilities.

But he's just the first of many to come. Keep an eye on The Toyota Effect for more information.

Toyota's Project BLAID and other technology that is pushing the boundaries isn't a win just for Belo and others with visual impairments.

It's a win for anyone who believes that society is better when every person is able to freely contribute what they believe they are capable of giving to our world.

True
Back Market

Between the new normal that is working from home and e-learning for students of all ages, having functional electronic devices is extremely important. But that doesn't mean needing to run out and buy the latest and greatest model. In fact, this cycle of constantly upgrading our devices to keep up with the newest technology is an incredibly dangerous habit.

The amount of e-waste we produce each year is growing at an increasing rate, and the improper treatment and disposal of this waste is harmful to both human health and the planet.

So what's the solution? While no one expects you to stop purchasing new phones, laptops, and other devices, what you can do is consider where you're purchasing them from and how often in order to help improve the planet for future generations.

Keep Reading Show less

Sir David Attenborough has one of the most recognized and beloved voices in the world. The British broadcaster and nature historian has spent most of his 94 years on Earth educating humanity about the wonders of the natural world, inspiring multiple generations to care about the planet we all call home.

And now, Attenborough has made a new name for himself. Not only has he joined the cool kids on Instagram, he's broken the record for reaching a million followers in the shortest period. It only took four hours and 44 minutes, which is less time than it took Jennifer Aniston, who held the title before him at 5 hours and 16 minutes.

A day later, Attenborough is sitting at a whopping 3.4 million followers. And he only has two Instagram posts so far, both of them videos. But just watch his first one and you'll see why he's attracted so many fans.

Keep Reading Show less
True

$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


There are very few people who have had quite as memorable a life as Arnold Schwarzenegger. His adult life has played out in four acts, with each one arguably more consequential than the last.

And now Schwarzenegger wants to play a role in helping America, his adopted home, ensure that our 2020 election is safe, secure and available to everyone willing and able to vote.

Shortly after immigrating to America, Schwarzenegger rose up to become the most famous bodybuilder in history, turning what was largely a sideshow attraction into a legitimate sport. He then pivoted to an acting career, becoming Hollywood's highest paid star in a run that spanned three decades.


Keep Reading Show less

One night in 2018, Sheila and Steve Albers took their two youngest sons out to dinner. Their 17-year-old son, John, was in a crabby mood—not an uncommon occurrence for the teen who struggled with mental health issues—so he stayed home.

A half hour later, Sheila's started getting text messages that John wasn't safe. He had posted messages with suicidal ideations on social media and his friends had called the police to check on him. The Albers immediately raced home.

When they got there, they were met with a surreal scene. Their minivan was in the neighbor's yard across the street. John had been shot in the driver's seat six times by a police officer who had arrived to check on him. The officer had fired two shots as the teen slowly backed the van out of the garage, then 11 more after the van spun around backward. But all the officers told the Albers was that John had "passed" and had been shot. They wouldn't find out until the next day who had shot and killed him.

Keep Reading Show less