Freedom Machines

Today we watched the video POV: Freedom Machines , a film by Jamie Stobie and Janet Cole. Post your reactions, questions, and discussion as comments on this page.

17 Responses to “Freedom Machines”

  1. BrennaK Says:

    I thought that the movie was very eye-opening and interesting. One thing that struck me was the number of Americans who are, in fact, disabled - 5.4 million, I think. What also caught my attention was the fact that the majority of people with disabilities live below the poverty level as they still aren’t given the resources that “normal” people are givin. “Freedom Machines” definitely promoted awarness in how much can be done, and needs to be done, for disabled Americans. There is so much technology out there to utilize, and people’s attitudes to change.

  2. ChaseJ Says:

    I also found the movie eye opening. I always knew it must be difficult to be disabled, but I have never heard first hand accounts such as those we heard. In addition, I was most surprised by the number of disabled people who were poor, and even more astounded that technology to help them is so expensive! That wheelchair was $25,000!! I find it ironic and quite sad that the government or some other institution could not better help these men and women live independent lives without have to lose every cent they have in the process.

  3. DanielB Says:

    I thought the video was an interesting look into the difficults of leading a productive life while at the same time overcoming a handicap. Such individuals display emense personal courage.

    While I do not wish to underappreciate the great ability and determination of these people, I would like to play devil’s advocate and provide a counter-point: The technologies to allow these individuals is quite expensive and due to the fact that the number of people who require a specific technology, the necessary tools can’t be mass produced to lower cost. This is a major reason as to why they have to wait to get things they need; the cost of these technologies will remain high because these items are, in a way, special orders.

  4. AlishaH Says:

    “Freedom Machines” is very informative, and a lot of information presented in this video is unknown to probably 80% of the population. It’s just amazing to hear the statistics. Can you believe that 70% of the disabled population is unemployed? How do these people support themselves considering specialized equipment is unbelievably expensive? It also strikes me as puzzling that even though the US constitution has made equal right laws for the disabled, employers do not give jobs to disabled people. I believe the attitude towards the disabled is negatively portrayed in society. This video should be used to raise awareness of this problem in the U.S.

  5. ChristyS Says:

    “Freedom Machines” was a good movie to display some of the daily struggles disabled people and their families go through. I also was glad to see that it showed how truly patient, kind, and accepting people with disabilities are. It never ceases to amaze me how positive they can be even in a world that is cruel to them.

    The fact that 1.6 million disabled people are housed in nursing homes is absolutely appalling to me. This feeling comes with the knowledge that every disabled person I have met, formally from a nursing home has hated it. Even scarier to me is the fact that the nursing homes have a monopoly on the Medicare and Medicaid system blocking the funds toward disabled citizen’s independence. It would be like you or I never leaving home… always being told what to do and how to do it.

    On the technical side I enjoyed learning about all the devices being invented to help disabled citizens adapt to a world not made for them.

  6. LizzyR Says:

    I thought “Freedom Machines” was an extremely powerful film that did an excellent job portraying what diabled people go through every day and their struggle to gain the capabilities to do simple tasks. I was amazed with the amount of patience these people have as they wait for new technology to come about or to get the means to use the technology available today. I became almost frustrated for them just watching this film. It is ridiculous that these young children are deprived of technology that could help them develop and learn just as other children and that they are left waiting until as one of the young girls said, “Its almost too late.” Many times, I feel that people overlook the fact that these people may be just as intelligent, if not more, than us and are only identified with their disability instead of the capability.

  7. LalithaK Says:

    I agree about most people being unaware of the information given in this film. This video should definitely be on everyone’s list to see.

    I agree about the technology such as the wheelchairs being expensive, but I’m assuming that other technology, such as the computer keyboards with the large keys or easier to push buttons cannot be that much more expensive than regular keyboards. But they still don’t produce as many of these as there are disabled people.

    Also, I’ve always remember there being disabled students in my schools but never did I see any type of technology specifically for them. This is definitely a problem that society needs to work on. Also, the “Jaws” software, which allows them to dictate words into the computer is used not only by disabled people but other similar software is also used in a lot of hospitals. I personally saw them being used at Duke hospital and it didn’t seem as bad as they showed it in the movie, so for example, at least schools and other public locations should have these types of improved technology for disabled peoples’ use. At least according to the Disabled Equality Laws.

    All in all, I found the movie extremely informative and I’m really looking forward to this class!

  8. SaraW Says:

    Although, yes, this movie could be considered “eye-opening,” I found it mainly just sad. These people have been emotionally scarred in ways that nothing could ever fix. Not only do they live in a world where people are repulsed by them, but they are also fully conscious of the demeaning remarks, whispers, and stares. It was wonderful to see how technology offers the disabled a spark of hope, that they may someday do what we take for granted. Yet, as jolting as this film can be, I fear that it will not have widespread effects. Freedom Machines, unfortunately, will never be in the movie theaters or be a video that most of the world sees. However, I think it is important for those of us who have seen the film to incorporate what we learned from it into our daily lives.

    I do have just one random question though: What is the suicide rate among disabled people compared to the general population in America?

  9. JayH Says:

    One thing I learned or realized from the movie was that people with disabilities are smart just like everyone else and many of them have the mental capacity to make significant contributions to the country and to the world. Unfortunately, these people are being shunned, ignored and “left behind” by society because disabled persons are automatically given a label that defines them as useless and unable to be productive in any way. Because of this, as the movie also points out, many people do not want to fund the development of new technology- through taxes- that will allow people with disablilites to have a chance to reach their full potential. I think this is sad and feel that more people need to realize that a person is much more than their outside appearance or disabilities. I couldn’t imagine having magnificent ideas and plans for the future having no way of expressing or implementing them.

    The movie really put a lot of things in perspective for me and demanded that I pay attention to people with disabilities and do something to help them. I believe the movie was an effective way to start the class.

  10. RhiannonL Says:

    I was very surprised during that movie. I had no idea that there are 7 million school age children with disabilities and 54 million people with them. I was also shocked at the school systems lack of help for those families. The teachers were not educated about the equipment to help the children. There should be more programs and assistants for the disabled to give them more opportunities. They need a way to survive to. The movie provided a lot of insight.

  11. SarahT Says:

    I agree with the majority of the above comments and the fact that “Freedom Machines” was definitely an eye opener for me!! One of the things that amazed me the most was the size of these people’s hearts and the amount of compassion that they possess! Even though they were disabled and handicapped they still kept an upbeat and positive attitude while trying to help others and do something good for society. I was also impressed with the technology that was presented in the movie. It fit each person’s condition and allowed them to function more normally. It was truly remarkable… I only wish that this same technology was available to the others that are also handicapped and I do understand that this technology is a “special order” deal…. I just wish there was something that could be done to lower these high costs. I was shocked when I heard the amount of people who were in nursing homes and even more upset when the video told us that US laws aren’t set up to allow people with disabilites to be independent when it would actually cost less for them to live in their homes independently. To me, this seems like our government is making it harder for them to do what they want to do and in my opinion I believe it should be the other way around!

  12. RyanS Says:

    Wow, I’m already excited about the class. The video was shocking and I am already looking forward to learning and possibly creating enabling technologies. I was amazed at some of the current devices that are available and how they were able to help out certain groups of people, yet there is still alot needs to be done. I was especially shocked by the treatment and lack of help for disabled youth. I hope this issue is something we discuss later on.

  13. JasmineG Says:

    This video opened my eyes to the fact that there is a need for the improvement and growth of enabling technology. The film made me stop and think, “Why do we put on the ‘back burner’ those who dont function the same way the majority of the world does?” Is it because we are worried about cost, or are we too lazy to act on the issue? The world is at a stage now where new tecnologies are hitting the shelves daily, made solely to entertain. If this is so, then why not put alittle more effort into faster production of enabling technologies?!?

  14. BrennaC Says:

    The video really got me excited about the future topics of the class. I began to emotionally connect to those with disabilities through the personal interviews of Freedom Machines. What enraged me was the fact that laws are in place however funds are not available to enforce and support the requirements. I also was highly intreseted by the engineering of the Machines. I was oblivious to the wide range of the devices and the outrages price tags attached to them. I really thought the JAWS program was efficient and helpful. The number of people with disabilities in America was outstanding at around 54 million. The perspective of the individuals involved of how they felt neglected and unsupported by the rest of society brought emotions of sadness. After watching this movie I felt encouraged to not only do well in the class, but really be an atribute to society by helping those with disabilities.

  15. CatherineC Says:

    The video amazed me as it explained the various keyboards provided for the disabled. The larger keys and tilted board were two adjustments that made all the difference for some patients. Intelli-keys enabled those with dexterity issues to use computers. The audio-to-type programs like Jaws although seemed theoretically good were mechanically inefficient. The entrepreneurship of some ideas was great like Shoshana Brand’s videos that “describe” the silent scenes in movies. The imagery missed by those without sight can still be cherished if explained in detail through words or sound. I though the moving really explored many technological areas that many people do not know about; however, there is still more that can be done.

  16. RandyS Says:

    Wow! That video was definitly eye-opening. I was astonish by the way the disabled were treated in schools. They are extremely looked down upon. My mom works with the disabled at an elementary school. She is always talking about them to my family and she is always excited about her next lesson for the class. The school seems to treat the disabled likin ge any other student enrolled there. They get an equal opportunity. But in the video, however, that was not the case. I was unaware of the extreme unfairness between the disabled and “normal” children.
    I noticed that the people in the video all had a big heart, even though they are disabled. They have so much passion in what they do, no to mention, they didnt give up in life when life seemed to fail them. All of them try to live a “normal” life, for example, refereeing a soccer game or answering phones behind a desk. Those people are the true ‘winners’ of our world.

  17. ElizabethK Says:

    I thought this video was very interesting! It really opened my eyes to see just how differently people with disabilities are treated, especially in a school setting. Having worked with disabled people through the Special Olympics and helping my dad when he used to work with the Exception Children at my high school, I had no idea how much they are actually discriminated against in other schools. I guess in a way I have been somewhat sheltered from the extremity of this discrimination. It amazed me to learn that the majority of people with disabilities live at or below the poverty line. I believe that there has to be enough money out there for the government to provide some form of funding. All in all, I’m very excited to be learning more about enabling technology and all the different ways that we can possibly positively affect the disabled community.

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