July 26th was National Disability Independence Day, the day that commemorates the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In celebration, we’re highlighting a few names-to-know of inventors and innovators who, while living with disabilities, created things that changed our world.
FARIDA BEDWEI is a software engineer, hailed as one of South Africa’s most important figures in financial technology. She co-founded the company Logiciel and has pioneered cloud platforms that help make small loan decisions available to consumers across the world. Farida also created a cerebral palsy superhero, having been diagnosed since she was an infant. Her comic character called Karmzah gets her power from her crutches that she has to use for her cerebral palsy.
RALF HOTCHKISS is the creator of the RoughRider wheelchair, which he designed to help users navigate life more smoothly. The chair is lightweight, inexpensive, and built to handle difficult riding conditions. After a motorcycle accident resulted in Ralf becoming a paraplegic, he dedicated his life to creating more efficient wheelchairs and "to make it possible for every person in the developing world who needs a wheelchair to obtain one that will lead to maximum personal independence and integration into society."
TEMPLE GRANDIN is an American scientist, animal behaviourist, and autism rights activist. She is a proponent for the humane treatment of livestock and is the author of more than 60 scientific papers on animal behavior. Grandin is a consultant to the livestock industry, where she offers advice on animal behavior. In addition to her work with animals, Temple also invented the “Hug machine” as a stress-relief machine for people with autism who enjoy the sensation of being hugged but are overstimulated by people.
Do you know other inventors we can feature in this list? Add them in the Comments!