Science and Medicine
TOTAL ACCESS DESPITE DISABILITIES
Breakthrough Technology from Project Archimedes
By David Salisbury
SECURELY IN his wheelchair before a bank of computers, J.B. Galan
rattles off a sentence: Please ask Mrs. Wright to write to me right
As he speaks, the correctly spelled words appear instantaneously in thick black
characters on a computer screen projected on the wall.
With a twitch of his head and a few terse commands, he next loads an Internet
browser on one of the computers and brings up a home page.
Galan, injured in a diving accident six years ago, is paralyzed from the
shoulders down. But thanks to Project Archimedes, he excels at using computers
for complex tasks. Writing letters, designing Web pages, and using telephones and
electronic mail are part of his everyday routine.
Project Archimedes, a research program at Stanfords Center for the Study of
Language and Information, aims to ensure that disabled individuals like Galan are
not left behind in the computer revolution.
Named for the ancient Greek mathematician and inventor who said, Give me a
to stand on, and I will move the earth, the project was set up to devise a
system that will permit disabled people to use ordinary computers and software
without costly modifications.