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Putting the Disabled Back to Work - Trends in Liberation Technology

Updated on September 24, 2014

Growing Disabled Population Around the World

This article highlights recent and future trends and developments in liberation technology as uncovered by Sheila Moorcroft, research director of the trend tracking organization, Shaping Tomorrow.

According to Moorcroft, the number of disabled population continues to grow around the world and the number of new liberation technology to assist the disabled are also growing. This trend of advances in liberation technology will enable those with disabilities to overcome the barriers that once hindered them from being productive members of society. This article examines some of the technological advances now available to disabled people that can give the needed capacity to be productive members at the workplace.

Disabled Woman at Work


Disabled Population Growing Due to Growth of Aging Population

One of the most glaring trends in the world today is the growing number of disabled people round the world. It is now estimated that nearly 10% of the world's population (or 650 million people) lives with some sort of disability. Many factors contribute to the growing disabled population including the growth in aging populations and survival rates of infants born with disabilities due to medical and liberation technology advances. Conditions once considered fatal are now treatable, allowing many disabled children and aged adults to remain alive and became productive members of society due to advances in medical procedures and liberation technology.


Disabled Runner Competes in Olympics

Cambodian Disabled Playing Volleyball

Kenguru - Automobile for Disabled Drivers

Disabled People Advance in Mobility

Due to scientific advances in liberation technology, disabled people have advanced in coordination and mobility making them viable citizens who can contribute positively to society. Liberation technology is the new catch phrase for scientific break throughs that can lift disabled people to greater productivity in the workplace and other endeavors like sports.

As highlighted at the opening of this hubpage, in September 2010 a frenchman who lost all four limbs in an accident swam the English Channel in 14 hours using special prosthetic limbs. Other advances in prosthetic legs allowed South African Oscar Pistorius to compete in Olympic caliber track and field running events. And even crudest prosthetic advances allowed land mine victims in Cambodia to regain self-respect and personal dignity in the eyes of their families and fellow countrymen through volleyball.

Liberation Technology Allows Disabled People to Drive

According to Moorcroft, in response to a challenge from the US National Federation of the Blind, a young lady who is blind was enabled to drive using liberation technology developed by the Robotics and Mechanisms Laboratory at Virginia Tech. Moreover, a separate development allows blind people to 'see' using sound.

Other auto mobile manufacturing organizations such as Kenguru (see video) are developing smart cars for the disabled which allow them to gain greater mobility and personal independence. Through various creative designs such as hand operated accelerators, brakes, and shifting controls, once disabled people have been enabled to make greater contributions through better mobility. 

Bionic Hands

Other Liberation Technology Enabling the Disabled

Moorcroft points out other liberation technology advances currently under development that when mature will work to enable the disabled. Those coming advances will include

  • More nimble bionic hands;
  • Use of brainwaves through scalp electrodes or implants to enable people to control artificial limbs.
  • Touch-screen computers and GPS technologies for smart phonesto enable communication and help people find facilities such as accessible toilets and parking spaces when out and about in the city.

Why is This Trend Important?

At the end of her observation and alert of these trends in liberation technology, Moorcroft of Shaping Tomorrow asks an extremely pertinent question: why is this trend important to know about and monitor? And the answer is because when it comes to jobs disabled people are still discriminated against. When able-bodied executives, business leaders, and hiring managers see applicants with disabilities they wonder about their capability and reliability to do the whole job in a timely manner.

Even though these advances in liberation technology are beginning to level the playing field, the social model of disbaility is still one of pity rather than one of seeing the person physical challenges as one who can make a positive impact on the revenue growth of their business or organization. Moreover, a large percentage of able-bodied people are still uncomfortable around disabled people. As Moorcroft points out, "the social model of disability requires societies, organizations, and individuals to recognize and reduce the barriers and 'disability' which the way we organize life and work creates." Simply put, able-bodied people can make life much easier of the physically challenged if they want to.

The new liberation technology advances are enabling the physically challenged, now it is up to those in places of authority to hire to lower the obstacles to advancement and fulfill in order to empower them.


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    • ClaudeV profile image

      ClaudeV 6 years ago from Texas

      E this is a very good article, very well written, and very informative on many different levels.

    • wheelinallover profile image

      Dennis Thorgesen 7 years ago from Central United States

      I'm not handicapped, I'm handicapable.

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 7 years ago from Corona, California

      Neil and Wade, thank you for sharing your hearts and stories. Wade it sounds like your stepfather is a real inspiration. Those without disabilties need to see passed the "alleged" disabilties of others to see the whole person and their full potential.

      I admit that I fall short in this area. Last year, I traveled to Cambodia. One afternoon I was riding in a motorized rickshaw and saw in front of me a deformed foot peddling a bicycle. My first reaction was "how sad." Then I rebuked myself and thought "how awesome." This guy is not allowing his disability to keep him from getting around and living a productive life.

    • profile image

      Wade Balsdon 7 years ago

      My step father was born with polio and this affected him quite badly in that his speech, left leg and left hand were affected by the illness. He was placed in a home for a number of years and went to become a financial director of a company. He also captained a cricket team. Many people like this have an inner strength that most people without handicaps do not have. We should respect handicapped people as they are truly champions.

    • profile image

      Neil Butterfield 7 years ago

      My heart and respect goes out to these people as many of them are very strong willed and imo it is this that helps them to achieve so much in life.

    • ecoggins profile image

      ecoggins 7 years ago from Corona, California

      eovery, thank you for your encouraging comment. It is amazing what kind of technological advances applied scientists are bringing forth, isn't it?

    • eovery profile image

      eovery 7 years ago from MIddle of the Boondocks of Iowa

      This is great. It is so liberating and promoting self-esteem.

      Keep on hubbing!