Steve Jobs - The Man Who Thought Different

As I'm sure most of you have probably heard by now (maybe on a device he invented no less), yesterday we lost Steve Jobs, Apple Co-Founder, CEO, and Chairman. Since I'm a gadgety and techy person of course I always stayed up-to-date with Apple's latest rumors and innovations; I was always fascinated by how much of Apple's technology strove to be more accessible -- to everyone, with or without a disability. 
Stevie Wonder, the world renowned singer who has been blind since birth recently said at a concert: "His company took the challenge in making his technology accessible to everyone," and then went on to say “There’s nothing on the iPhone or iPad that you can do that I can’t do.” (Stevie Wonder thanks Steve Jobs)

While reflecting back on the technology he has provided and envisioned, I have also been remembering how technology in general has greatly improved my life during the worst of times with O.I. For instance speech-to-text programs (when arms are broken and you have 10 page papers to write), textbooks that are available on CD to lighten 500lb backpacks, captions on t.v. shows/movies/youtube videos, wheelchairs with fold-able lap desks for my laptop in lectures, hearing-aids that have the ability to switch to telephone mode, sinks and cabinets that will lower to my height, and the list just goes on! 
Technology doesn't necessarily need to have an electrical cord and battery power to be considered 'hi-tech' either. Today there are so many accessible and adaptable equipment out there that sometimes I find those gadgets to be just as beneficial if not more. Shower chairs that can extend to support a long leg cast, reachers & grabber sticks that are collapse-able, or sound and motion detecting light sensors. Growing-up my parents showed me that innovation can mean sewing clothes that will fit your daughters' casts, or attaching make-shift boards so that she is more easily able to transfer between bed and wheelchair with a cast on, and teaching her that grab-bars in public bathrooms can be used for other things aside from support while transferring.  Innovation isn't necessarily the most complicated and flashy looking gadget, I believe that what made Steve Jobs' technology so successful is because he dared to make our lives more accessible through technology -- as opposed to more luxurious or 'advanced.' Macs and other Apple products are known for being intuitive and user-friendly, everything from the pinch and swipe to audible text.  His drive was not money or fame, instead his devices sought to provide a more inclusive and accessible world -- goals that I know many other disabled people dream of as well. 

Though our world and society has certainly lost an incredible and daring mind, I am confident that through the widespread use of his technology our society will continue to expand our definition of innovation by thinking different.   

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