The tech empowering disabled people in cities
Cities are difficult to live in for people with disabilities. Yet that could change as cities grow
smarter. Assistive tech is playing a big role in the change. Here are three high-tech solutions
making cities easier for people with disabilities.
A wheelchair that can climb stairs
Jose Di Felice, from Switzerland, was disabled in both legs and one arm after an accident
three years ago.
In a wheelchair, he realized that stairs were his biggest challenge. He looked for alternatives
(替代品) and discovered Scewo. The start-up has built a wheelchair that can be controlled through
a smartphone. It has special tracks for climbing stairs.
A robotic exomuscle suit
Zurich-based start-up MyoSwiss has developed a suit with a combination of robotics and
The robotic suit, weighing less than 5 kilograms, adds a layer of muscle that supports
movements. It uses sensors (感应器) at the knee to detect movements the user wants to make and
The Myosuit has enabled two people with mobility limitations to take part in a marathon.
Smart walking stick
Another technology that could change the lives of blind people is a smart walking stick
designed by engineers from Young Guru Academy in Turkey.
The WeWalk stick has a sensor that detects barriers and warns the user. It can be paired with
“These are all really exciting inventions that will make a huge difference to some people,”
says Anna Lawson, the director of the Center for Disability Studies at the University of Leeds in
the United Kingdom.
“By making disabled people more visible (看得见的) then you contribute to understanding,”
says Bryan Matthews, a lecturer at the Institute for Transport Studies at the University of Leeds.
语篇导读： 韩国机器人企业 AIRO 推出了一款名为 MIRO 的生物模仿微型机器鱼，它在水
Have you ever thought about keeping fish at home? It’s a long process and can be very
expensive. Even after buying your fish, you cannot guarantee that the fish will live for very long.
You really have to think long and hard before you start keeping pet fish.
If you are put off by such a commitment, you may be interested in looking at a Korean
company called AIRO. It was created by Mr Oh Yong-joo in 2014. He noticed that there were no
robots in the water. He thought he had found an interesting market with lots of potential.
Robot fish are called MIROs — Marine Intelligent Robots. The MIRO-9 is 53 centimetres
(厘米) long; the MIRO-7 is 33 centimetres. The fish have skins which are designed using 3D
technology. This means you can order your robot fish to look like any species or colour you want.
Sensors (传感器) are also placed inside the head which make sure each MIRO does not swim into
anything. MIROs can swim to about 50 metres in depth. When they were first displayed at an
exhibition, people could not tell if they were real or not.
MIROs are able to swim with real fish without any difficulty. Mr Oh thinks this is a great
way of showing people that it is possible for living creatures to live with robots. Mr Oh is trying to
start creating MIROs that look like extinct fish. Could this mean the end of real dolphin (海豚)
shows? Ocean Park and Sea World should take note.
MIROs certainly look beautiful, and they appear to be much easier to look after than the real
fish you buy for your fish tank. They are not cheap though. It has been reported that smaller and
less expensive MIROs will be developed in the future. When the price comes down, you may want
to think about keeping these as your family pets.
Right whales whisper to their babies
At nearly 50 feet long, North Atlantic right whales are so large that most living things in the
sea shouldn’t worry them — but that’s not the case for their babies. Newborn babies are
vulnerable (易受伤的) to attacks by sharks. To keep them safe, a new study has found, right
whales “whisper” to their young so they don’t attract any hungry predators (捕食者) nearby.
Right whales typically communicate with one another using a rising sound that can last two
seconds and travels very far. With their babies, however, they use a quieter, shorter sound that can
only be heard in the immediate vicinity (附近).
“They allow the mother and babies to stay in touch with each other without advertising their
presence to potential predators in the area,” says Susan Parks, a biologist at Syracuse University.
Understanding North Atlantic right whales is important for the survival of the endangered
“Right whales face a number of challenges,” Parks says. “There are still many things we
don’t know about their behaviors, and it is my hope that studies like this will help to protect
The North Atlantic right whale isn’t the only whispering whale. Researchers in Europe
reported that they had discovered similar whispering in Southern right whales, a different species
that lives in the oceans of the Southern Hemisphere (南半球). The softer calls, the researchers
found, could only be heard about 1,000 feet away. In 2017, researchers also found that humpback
whales have a special, quieter type of communication between mothers and babies.
The existence of these quieter languages raises the possibility that human-made noise in the
oceans, like the noise of ships, is doing more damage to sea animals than previously believed. A
study has found that the whales change their diving and foraging (觅食) behavior in the presence
of ship noise.
Bus driver honored for helping homeless man
A Milwaukee bus driver was praised for the way she helped a homeless passenger get some
Bus driver Natalie Barnes started talking with a passenger named Richard, who told her he
had been homeless for a week.
When he asked if he could ride along for the night to stay out of the cold, she agreed.
“At some point in our lives, everybody needs help,” Barnes said. “I wanted to do what I
could to help Richard in some way.”
At one point during her shift ( 轮 班 ), she took a break at the University of
Wisconsin-Milwaukee and offered to get her passenger something to eat.
Richard was touched by the gesture.
“Now I don’t know what to say but to say thank you,” he said to Barnes and promised to pay
her back somehow.
She refused, saying, “I want to help you.”
But one act of kindness wasn’t enough for Barnes.
During another break, she reached out to a friend, who helped get Richard into a temporary
Barnes and Richard became friends during that six-hour bus ride. Now he has her cellphone
number, and they keep in touch.
“We talk every couple of days and he thanks me every time he talks to me for helping him,”
she said. “I’m happy to say that he’s progressing well.”
Helping others comes as second nature to Barnes, who has received three commendations (嘉
奖 ) for outstanding service since being employed by the Milwaukee County Transit System
She often takes food on the bus to share with people in need.
Milwaukee County Executive Chris Abele praised Barnes in a ceremony.
“Natalie’s kindness and respect for this man in need are what MCTS excellence is all about,”
he said. “Natalie showed what we all need to do to fight homelessness: to look out for each other,
to care for each other and to work together. I’m deeply grateful for Natalie’s actions.”
A visit to Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre
The Globe Theatre is situated on the south bank of the River Thames, about 200 metres from
the original site of Shakespeare’s 1599 building. It is a faithful reconstruction of the open-air
theatre where Shakespeare worked, and for which he wrote many of his greatest plays, such
as Hamlet, Othello, and King Lear. Due to the fact that the theatre is open to the sky, the season is
limited to only six months of the year, running from April to October. However, guided tours of
the theatre are held all year round, and the neighbouring exhibition centre is also open to visitors.
The theatre itself is circular in shape and the seated areas are in the lower, middle, and upper
galleries. In addition to the seated galleries, there is an area in front of the stage called the Yard,
where visitors can stand and watch the play. All seats are priced according to visibility (视野), so
the best seats are in the middle of each of the three galleries and cost around €48. Ticket holders
are advised to bear in mind that the roof and all the gallery seats are held up by pillars (支柱), so
that from no seat is there a perfect view of the stage. There are 700 standing tickets for each
performance priced at around €7.50.
Public booking for each season opens in February. Tickets may be booked in person or by
telephone at the theatre ticket office or online via See Tickets. The ticket office is open from 10.00
a.m. to 6.00 p.m. from Monday to Saturday. Before attending a performance at the Globe Theatre,
visitors need to bear certain things in mind. As it is a sixteenth-century replica (复制 品), the
theatre does not boast (拥有) any of the comforts of modern-day life and performances continue
whatever the weather. Ticket holders should come prepared for heat or cold, rain or shine.