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35C3 - Sense without sight: a crash course on #BlindNavigation

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    preroll music
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    Herald: Good afternoon everyone. As you
    all know this is going to be an
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    interesting talk for sure. It is titled
    Sense Without Sight. Our next speaker is
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    Sai and without too much ado please give
    him a big round of applause.
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    He's going to be here shortly.
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    Applause
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    Sai: So you might be thinking that I am
    Daredevil. I'm not sadly. Well, probably
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    better for my health. And I do not have
    any magic powers, unfortunately. I just
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    have extra disabilities that make it
    harder for me. Nevertheless -
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    one two back - yay live demos! dum di dum
    where did that move?
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    Angel: Are you going to fall off stage?
    Sai: No I'm not going to fall off stage.
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    Angel: Because you're right at, you're
    going to be falling soon.
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    Sai: No I can walk around without my cane.
    It's a little hard to precisely target it,
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    but as you can see I don't fall off stage.
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    So just to make this clearer, I am not
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    faking this. And the way you can tell is I
    have a blindfold on. This blindfold is for
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    real. This is a sleep mask. I can't see
    anything right now. So you don't need to
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    ask how good my sight is or why,
    because I can't see.
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    The issue that I have is light blindness.
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    Basically I can see if it's
    really dark and I can't see if it's really
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    bright, and lights that are as bright as
    the lights here actually hurt my eyes,
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    kind of, right now through the blindfold.
    So I definitely would not be able to do
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    this with my eyes open and my glasses off.
    I do a lot of different things. Blindness
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    is not one of them. On my shirt, and my
    slides, and my website, there's all sorts
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    of stuff that we can talk about. Let's
    please talk about that stuff, not the fact
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    that I'm blind. Except during this talk or
    during my workshops when you're - it's
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    okay to ask questions about that or talk
    about that. Exception is if you want to
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    work with me on stuff or if you have
    feedback I welcome that. But let's talk
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    about something else like how to analyze a
    few terabytes of court data. Anyway!
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    I have assistants for this talk. One of
    them is what I'm going to be calling the
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    "helpful asshole" aka my herald.
    Herald: You're welcome.
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    Sai: Come up. I also have Bit. Bit, where
    are you?
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    Bit: Here!
    Sai: Good! And I have someone running
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    slides for me because obviously I can't
    see my own slides. Fortunately for you
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    that means I'm not giving the talk like
    this to do to do what I've just talked
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    about. Yeah it is okay to make sound. If
    anything it's helpful because it I can
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    hear where you are. So you might wonder
    how I walked onto stage without my cane.
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    I'm going to go over that in a second but
    first, the cane is really, really useful.
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    So it gives me a number of things. For
    instance, right here, you might not notice
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    it, but there is a difference in the
    floor. There is this carpeted section here
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    and there's this wood section here...
    different knocking sounds
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    Right? Now if I just brush this with my
    feet I can feel it. And that's how I
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    walked on stage. But if I do it with my
    cane - hear that whack?
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    slinging and whacking sounds
    You can say yes in response to questions.
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    You hear that wack?
    Audience: Yes!
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    Sai: So even if I'm lightly walking I just
    keep that out at a known degree and I can
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    easily walk alongside of it. I can also
    feel the texture. So one thing you may not
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    notice but may as well try now is that the
    texture of the carpet under your feet -
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    under your feet, the people who are
    live in this audience - I don't know
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    about you people at home, sorry. But this
    stage I have checked out and it is
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    smoother from the front of stage to the
    back of stage and is smoother from the
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    right of stage to the left stage. And I
    believe that's true for most of the floor
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    and the audience but it's made out of
    separate squares. So some of them may be
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    oriented in a different way so feel with
    your feet, for real, like right now, feel.
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    and feel if you can see if you can feel
    which way it's smooth and which way it's
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    rough. With the cane, when I drag it like
    this, it's smoother, when I drag like
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    this, it resists, and especially if I'm
    holding it like this with a firmer grip -
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    this is nice and smooth. This way it sort
    of resists, it bends the cane a little bit.
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    What else. There's sound, so
    something I can do really well with a cane
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    that's hard to do with my feet but I can
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    stomping
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    I can do that. But I can also do this
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    sharp whacking sounds
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    so...
    lower pitched whacking
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    that those two sound completely
    different, right?
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    different whacking sounds
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    In fact...
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    whacking sound changes again
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    Here the stage is not hollow underneath.
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    Here it's firmer and then
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    whacking sound changes dramatically
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    suddenly it's echo-y.
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    alternating whacking sounds
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    Right? So that helps me tell
    just sort of what ground I'm on.
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    Similarly, actually in the front of the
    stage. So
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    different whacking sounds
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    and then near - sorry about your mic
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    the stage edge,
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    whacking
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    it's really sort of
    resistant, whereas
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    more solid sounds
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    there, it's got much more
    of an echo to it.
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    One thing this is very useful for is
    echolocation. I am not a bat but it is the
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    same principle. There are some people who
    are much much much better than I am about
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    echolocation. I'm not that good. But what
    I can hear, and what you can hear, and
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    what you're going to try to hear right
    now, is the size of the room. So I'm going
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    to whack the stage with my cane. What I
    want you to do is while I'm doing it,
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    close your eyes. You're not going to miss
    anything. The slide's not going to change.
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    I'm just here. So close your eyes and move
    your head from side to side as I do it.
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    And you can even sort of look behind you,
    and listen for the sound of the size of
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    the room. You'll be able to hear how large
    the room is around you and you'll hear the
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    echo of my cane from the back of the room.
    Kill the PA for a sec.
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    whack
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    whack
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    whack
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    whack
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    whack
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    Right?
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    whack
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    PA!
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    more whacks
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    OK so that's a simple version. Another
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    version is these stage curtains. How do I
    not faceplant into them. Well there's a
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    few ways. For one, I can just run into it
    with my cane.
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    speaker feedback noise
    That's the speaker, sorry about that. And
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    that is curtain, nice and soft. There are
    several other things about this I'm going
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    to show in a bit, but also if I'm - sorry
    about the speaker - if I'm walking through
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    this and I walk through the side curtain,
    sort of behind.
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    whacking
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    Huh, they've added extra stuff
    to the stage. Yay!
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    whacking
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    It absorbs the sound when I am tapping
    near it
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    there's that.
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    Bit, where are you?
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    Bit: Looks like you're lost, you need some help?
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    Sai: Sorry?
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    Bit: Do you need some help? Looks like
    you're lost.
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    Sai: Thank you dear angel. No I do know
    where I am. So my dear signal angel, my
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    herald is representing that person who is
    trying to be helpful to me several times a
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    day, and kind of annoys me, or ranges from
    annoying to actually dangerous.
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    I obviously know where I am because I'm
    navigating the stage is just fine, and you
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    saw me walk on without even my cane. So
    thank you. But no, I don't need
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    directions. Bit!
    Bit: Here! Howdy!
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    Sai: So with someone who's right next to
    you like this, how do I - how can I tell
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    that he's there. I'm not touching him with
    the cane, although I can and I do. So if I
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    whack you in the ankle: sorry but that's
    how I can tell you're there, especially if
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    you're standing really quiet. It's really
    hard to tell that someone's there and
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    especially in a crowd like this. So yes
    I'm going to hit you in the ankle, too bad.
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    That's how I can tell you're there.
    But in this distance I can feel his body
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    heat radiating. So from about this
    distance away, meh. From this distance, I
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    can definitely feel it on the back of my
    arm. There is his shoulder, there's his
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    cheek. So actually I would like you to try
    doing that. So turn to the person who's
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    next to you, ask their consent first. I
    have asked Bit's consent for everything
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    that we're going to do. And what I would
    like you to do is put your hand up next to
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    them. Try to almost touch their cheek
    without quite touching their cheek. And
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    then deliberately do so. So almost, but
    not quite, just by the heat, with your
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    eyes closed, and then trade off.
    Yeah, go ahead!
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    audience murmurs, giggles
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    light whacks
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    So another place that I feel this is on
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    walls. This wall for instance, the front
    of the stage, there is actually wind
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    coming through these little holes in them.
    That wind is colder than the ambient
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    temperature of the room. If I get my arm
    really close to it, then at about this
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    distance, I feel the cold air from it, and
    then at about that distance, there's
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    actually sort of a sheet wind that is
    really tight close to the wall and then,
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    there my hair - the hairs on the back of
    my arm tingle, and there, I can touch it.
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    So we have people who are in the audience
    on scooters and such. They're going to
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    drive through the aisles. I want you to
    close your eyes and see if you can feel
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    the wind generated by
    them moving past you,
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    and also the sound.
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    rhythmic rumbling
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    Some of them are louder than others.
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    So you feel how when they pass you there's
    a breeze in their wake. This happens a lot
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    in Congress. There are lots of people on
    scooters and hover boards and motorized
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    couches or whatever - gods know what
    people motorized around here. Or it's
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    someone just walking really fast like me.
    They all generate a wind in their wake.
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    Another thing you'll notice in Congress is
    - there's these nice tunnels. So for
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    instance from CCL to Hall 2, there's this
    tunnel through the glass hall. When you
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    walk through, the wind characteristics of
    the room completely change. You start
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    feeling a crosswind. So if I'm walking
    this way and the tunnel is on my right
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    then suddenly I will feel a crosswind from
    the tunnel that is colder and wasn't there
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    before. Similarly with the wall there's
    just sort of stops. Next?
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    Oh yeah. So...
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    everyone please close your eyes. And I do
    mean everyone. Not the audio angels or the
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    video angels. But everyone in the audience
    please close your eyes. If your phone
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    number ends with the number 1 please move
    your arms in such a way as to make some
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    wind. If your phone number doesn't end in
    the number 1, point to the person who's
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    making some wind. I can't see you so I'm
    not going to judge you.
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    So do you feel that? Yes? No?
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    Audience: No.
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    How about people whose phone number ends
    in 1 stop, people whose phone number ends
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    in 4 make some wind like wave your arm in
    front of you.
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    Feel that? Try pointing to them.
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    Not the people who ends in 4, you
    can point to yourselves, I guess.
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    People whose number ends in 7.
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    So that's movement. When
    people move by you, it
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    generates wind. When there is a tunnel and
    there's an air differential, like the air
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    under this stage is colder. And that's why
    there's a wind out of it. Actually -
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    du bi dub di dub
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    Herald: Let me hold your
    hand and get that for you.
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    Sai: Ah, thanks.
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    Herald: No? You're good? You're sure?
    Sai: Yeah, let go of me please!
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    Sai: Oh yay! More stuff.
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    cane hitting wall and railing
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    So down here
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    whacking
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    If open the door and I walk past it,
    there is this crosswind, I was mentioning
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    a second ago, about the tunnel. So here
    there's a sort of flat to my right and
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    then here I walk a little bit forward.
    Suddenly there is this crosswind
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    from that opening. Similarly when people
    were biking by you, you could tell that.
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    Similarly if I crack my cane
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    whacking
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    I don't know if you can hear that very
    well, but try. There's...
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    barely audible whacking
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    there's a sound off to that side
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    that sort of ends at the door. And then
    if I knock my cane here
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    whacking
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    there's a little reflection
    through that door.
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    And yes I do know how
    to close a door.
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    I know, amazing!
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    Similarly for these walls
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    I can feel the
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    that I'm close to the wall, or not.
    Tingley, not tingley.
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    What's next.
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    Yes. So yeah you've added
    more random crap.
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    Herald: Can I move these chairs for you,
    so you can...
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    Sai: Uh, no, please.
    Herald: Would that be helpful?
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    Sai: Sometimes that would be helpful. But
    at the moment not so much, because if you
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    were to move it when I've already found
    where it is, then suddenly it wouldn't be
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    there any more, and it'd be hard for me to
    orient. One of the things that is
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    difficult about being blind is you have to
    have quite a lot of memory. So the things
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    that you probably don't notice because you
    outsource your memory is how much of the
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    environment around you changes. So ask a
    blind person they probably hate
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    construction work.
    audience laughs
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    I do. And if I try to go sit down for
    instance for that matter - there's a chair
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    - if this had moved a lot, it would be
    really hard for me to take a seat. Now, he
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    doesn't smell that bad, but some people
    have a pretty significant smell, because
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    they're wearing perfume or cologne or Axe
    or something like that. If you've ever
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    been in a public transit terminal and
    you've taken the elevator, maybe you know
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    the distinct aroma of the elevator in
    public transit. Definitely lets you know
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    you're in New York City. So the next
    group, start moving. So my assistants in
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    the audience are moving through the aisles
    with something in their hands. What I want
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    you to do is close your eyes. Smell, feel
    the wind current, smell what is it, point
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    to them. You point exactly where they are.
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    Hhm, yummy orange.
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    So now I'm really hungry.
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    So if I'm walking past a coffee
    shop for instance, it has a distinct
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    smell, smells like coffee, shockingly enough.
    A drugstore smells like alcohol and
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    cleaning solution. A clothing store smells
    like leather and this weird perfume that
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    they put in clothing stores for some
    reason. I don't know why, but they do. And
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    if you ever visit one hopefully you'll
    notice it now.
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    So let's see, next? Huh?
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    Ah, right! Dear asshole, you know your
    lines?
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    Herald: [inaudible]
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    Sai: Bit! Do you have your blindfold on?
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    Bit: Uh, no.
    Sai: Please do.
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    Bit: I don't have one.
    Sai: I don't have an extra one.
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    Bit: [inaudible]
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    Sai: laughs
    Did you move his blindfold also?
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    Bit: [inaudible]
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    Sai: Shall I lend you mine?
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    Bit: [inaudible]
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    Sai: Ah, that get's bright! Ow.
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    So if you are going to try to
    help someone navigate.
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    First off say would you like some help.
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    Bit: So I'm pretty confused now,
    so, yes, please!
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    laughter
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    Sai: So don't just randomly assault
    people. Just because I have a cane does
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    not mean it's cool to assault me. Then if
    you're going to touch them, do so with the
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    back of your hand. This way he knows I'm
    not just randomly grabbing him and yanking
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    him around. That's really annoying. So I
    can offer you my arm. We can walk. Let's
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    go have a seat.
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    laughter
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    Here we go. That's your seat. Now some
    people will like grab the hand and put it
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    down. Instead I can just say:
    here's a chair.
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    Ta da!
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    So follow me for a sec.
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    Can I have a sidewalk beep in the back?
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    scratching
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    So let's do a little crack.
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    whackwhack
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    Do you hear the back of the
    room, where that is?
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    Bit: Can you do it once more?
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    whack
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    Bit: I think it's in front of me, a bit to
    the right, maybe.
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    Sai: So one thing you really don't want to
    do when someone is possibly trying to
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    figure out their orientation is to
    randomly come up to them and grab them,
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    and pull them. Dear asshole?
    Herald: Yes please? Can I help you,
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    can I take you somewhere?
    Sai: Let's pretend that you think he
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    wants to go down the stairs. He thinks
    he wants to walk towards the audience.
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    Let's walk towards the
    audience a little bit.
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    Herald: So here the stairs are this way.
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    Yeah.
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    laughter
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    Sai: OK, pause for a sec.
  • 30:42 - 30:44
    Herald: ... for the stairs.
    Bit: No, not.. really not.
  • 30:44 - 30:47
    Herald: I'm pretty sure you are. You look
    lost!
  • 30:47 - 30:50
    Bit: I'm trying to go elsewhere.
    Sai: Yeah, fuck off please!
  • 30:50 - 30:52
    laughter
  • 30:55 - 30:57
    Sai: Now, Bit, can you please point to the
    back of the room?
  • 31:02 - 31:05
    Yeah, not quite is it.
  • 31:07 - 31:09
    This is what happens when you mess with
  • 31:09 - 31:16
    someone's orientation. Please don't be that
    asshole. So if you want to be helpful you
  • 31:16 - 31:22
    can be helpful, you can be nice. Say:
    "shall I lead you back to the chairs now?"
  • 31:22 - 31:28
    "Would you like a hand?" They hold you,
    you don't hold them, and then you can lead
  • 31:28 - 31:46
    them back to the chairs. There we go. Have
    a seat. May I have my blindfold back?
  • 31:46 - 31:53
    Bit: Yeah.
    Sai: You can tell this is improvised. And
  • 31:53 - 32:02
    here I am again walking without my cane on
    the crack. So it's not just a party trick,
  • 32:02 - 32:06
    as I'll show in a sec. Next.
  • 32:14 - 32:21
    Yeah, right.
    So, some of you may have the response of
  • 32:21 - 32:37
    thinking, "oh wow Sai can walk across the
    stage, or talk or make decisions". I wish
  • 32:37 - 32:44
    I were kidding but that does happen pretty
    regularly. Can we clear the stuff off the
  • 32:44 - 32:56
    stage, please? So instead of that, I'd
    like to show you something that actually
  • 32:56 - 33:08
    does involve a little bit of skill. Namely
    about a decade worth of aikido. For those
  • 33:08 - 33:15
    of you who don't know, aikido is a martial
    art from Japan. Anne?
  • 33:15 - 33:25
    Anne: Yes!
    Sai: So I've spent about five years or so
  • 33:25 - 33:37
    learning to use a cane. Anne has spent
    well more than that doing aikido and is a
  • 33:37 - 33:44
    second degree black belt. I am not!
    However I'm wearing a blindfold and she is
  • 33:44 - 33:55
    not. So what I want to demonstrate for you
    is how I can tell that she's about to grab
  • 33:55 - 34:03
    my hand. So there is the sound of the feet
    on the ground making this sort of sound.
  • 34:03 - 34:08
    There is the hand approaching me,
    the wind,
  • 34:08 - 34:13
    there the vibration as
    her hips sort of rotate
  • 34:13 - 34:18
    towards me with my slow fist attempt here.
  • 34:18 - 34:20
    There I can tell she's
    starting to lean back,
  • 34:20 - 34:24
    and there, I put her to the ground.
  • 34:27 - 34:28
    Again!
  • 34:29 - 34:33
    So sound, movement, air flow, heat.
  • 34:33 - 34:41
    Here is a nice little head, vibration,
    wrist, the crook of the wrist.
  • 34:44 - 34:46
    Full speed!
  • 34:52 - 35:02
    So the blindfold hasn't come off. This
    isn't magic. And again I'm not Daredevil.
  • 35:02 - 35:11
    I just can't see. I didn't get extra super
    special securing powers. My hearings is
  • 35:11 - 35:16
    pretty good but it's no better than the
    average person - I'm - it's actually a
  • 35:16 - 35:24
    lot worse in the rain. So that thing it
    isn't really a thing. So just to prove
  • 35:24 - 35:34
    that it doesn't just work in this sort of
    deliberately set up special thing, Anne is
  • 35:34 - 35:40
    going to just attack me, however she
    wants, and I'm going to
  • 35:40 - 35:41
    throw her around a bit.
  • 35:42 - 35:43
    laughter
  • 35:53 - 35:56
    Note that I can still focus on her.
  • 36:03 - 36:05
    I can still pin her if I want.
  • 36:07 - 36:08
    laughs
  • 36:17 - 36:20
    laughter
  • 36:20 - 36:24
    applause
  • 37:14 - 37:20
    applause
  • 37:22 - 37:28
    And no, I didn't tell them what to do in
    advance. That's real. Yes, I am a little
  • 37:28 - 37:41
    bit out of breath. It's been a while since
    I actually exercised. Well and again I'm
  • 37:41 - 37:49
    still facing you, right? I haven't
    forgotten where this line is. Between the
  • 37:49 - 38:03
    wood and the carpet, and in fact I can
    knock it with my ring. Sometimes against
  • 38:03 - 38:12
    the wall is a little better to generate a
    nice echo sound. So if you want to not be
  • 38:12 - 38:26
    an asshole, please remember, first off,
    ask! I may not want your help, or need it,
  • 38:26 - 38:33
    and what you think may be helpful to me,
    maybe, probably is, completely wrong. So
  • 38:33 - 38:41
    listen to what I say and if I say, "yeah I
    would like you to please, lead me to X."
  • 38:41 - 38:48
    That does not mean grab my arm and start
    dragging me to X. I prefer to follow
  • 38:48 - 38:53
    people by sounds so I'm just going to tell
    you to scuff your feet when you walk,
  • 38:53 - 39:00
    scuffing
    so I can follow you by sound, or to just
  • 39:00 - 39:12
    keep talking. Some people do prefer to
    follow by hand. Bit? So if it comes up and
  • 39:12 - 39:26
    I want directions to the stage center,
    lead me to say center, please. Ta da! Not
  • 39:26 - 39:38
    that hard. If you are going to touch
    someone like here, unless you know you've
  • 39:38 - 39:43
    invited them to attack you because you're
    going to do an aikido exercise, don't just
  • 39:43 - 39:52
    randomly grab them and yank them around.
    Touch them, say "hi my name is Sai, would
  • 39:52 - 39:56
    you like some help?"
    Bit: Hi Sai, I would. Thank you very much.
  • 39:56 - 40:00
    And then you can offer, or you can say:
    "what would you like." "Are you lost."
  • 40:00 - 40:06
    Bit: Actually I'd like to go to your place
    thanks.
  • 40:06 - 40:12
    Sai: Maybe later.
    laughter
  • 40:12 - 40:22
    And one important thing to note. When
    people do simulations of disabilities,
  • 40:22 - 40:32
    they sometimes try to do it by just
    pretending to be blind, or pretending to
  • 40:32 - 40:38
    be in a wheelchair, or something. Like you
    sit in a wheelchair for a day, and then
  • 40:38 - 40:44
    you think, oh it must be so hard to be in
    a wheelchair, because my arms hurt so
  • 40:44 - 40:51
    much, and I couldn't figure out how to get
    to the second floor. That's because you've
  • 40:51 - 40:56
    done it for a day and someone who actually
    uses a wheelchair has done it for probably
  • 40:56 - 41:01
    years and years and years and has much
    better arms than you do. And they know
  • 41:01 - 41:08
    where everything is, and they know how to
    get around. Similarly, I know how to get
  • 41:08 - 41:20
    around without using my eyes. You don't.
    If you just try to put a blindfold on and
  • 41:20 - 41:26
    grab a cane, or let alone those blind
    experience museums where they just put a
  • 41:26 - 41:30
    blindfold on you, and don't give you a
    cane, and have you walk around. I actually
  • 41:30 - 41:37
    went to one once and they wanted to take
    my cane away from me? Like hell no. That
  • 41:37 - 41:46
    ain't happening. I actually lent it to my
    partner so that my partner could not feel
  • 41:46 - 41:52
    afraid of the surroundings of accidentally
    walking into something or accidentally
  • 41:52 - 42:03
    walking off - not a stage, but off a step
    or something. So you don't know what you
  • 42:03 - 42:09
    dont know. Most of the things I've showed
    you in this talk you probably have never
  • 42:09 - 42:15
    realized that there even a thing. Like
    have you noticed how many different
  • 42:15 - 42:23
    floorings there are in the mess hall? How
    many different textures there are? How
  • 42:23 - 42:33
    many different sounds there are, smells,
    the wind, the ceiling heights. You
  • 42:33 - 42:40
    probably don't pay attention to that. I do
    and without the experience you're just not
  • 42:40 - 42:51
    going to be able to learn that. That said,
    I am teaching workshops. You're welcome to
  • 42:51 - 42:55
    come to them if I saw the energy to run
    them. One is going to be right after this
  • 42:55 - 43:02
    talk and the rest to be determined. My
    volunteers: can you please come up on
  • 43:02 - 43:11
    stage if you're willing to be on camera.
    This talk is complicated if you ask the
  • 43:11 - 43:21
    35C3 content crew and the VOC crew and
    everyone else. Kind of a pain to run
  • 43:21 - 43:28
    something like this because I'm doing
    stereo recording. That doesn't affect you
  • 43:28 - 43:34
    in the audience live because the PAs are
    mono, but hopefully those of you listening
  • 43:34 - 43:40
    at home you've been listening to this with
    stereo headphones on, and hopefully you'll
  • 43:40 - 43:45
    hear it from my perspective what it's like
    when I crack the cane, and you can hear
  • 43:45 - 43:47
    the echo in the room.
  • 43:47 - 43:53
    So thank you very much. Thank you very
    much. Take a bow, please!
  • 43:53 - 44:03
    applause
  • 44:03 - 44:09
    Herald: Thank you Sai for a very
    interesting talk! Questions?
  • 44:09 - 44:16
    Sai: Can we have the Q&A slide please? So
    if you have questions, and you're okay
  • 44:16 - 44:22
    with being on camera, and possibly being
    asked to come on stage so I can answer
  • 44:22 - 44:25
    your question depending on what your
    question is, please queue up to the camera
  • 44:25 - 44:29
    that's on stage right. Otherwise there's
    cameras or there's microphones...
  • 44:29 - 44:33
    Herald: ...we can also do just plain
    questions. If you don't want to come on
  • 44:33 - 44:37
    stage, you can just answer questions from
    any one of the four microphones in the room.
  • 44:37 - 44:39
    Sai: Bit?
  • 44:42 - 44:45
    So first question from
    microphone number 2.
  • 44:45 - 44:49
    Sai: Which one is 2?
    Herald: It's for that person asking.
  • 44:49 - 44:52
    Sai: Which one is the...
    Herald: Sorry?
  • 44:52 - 44:55
    Sai: Which one is the one on stage right.
    Can I ask them on stage.
  • 44:55 - 44:58
    Herald: Oh let's see if they want to come
    on stage.
  • 44:58 - 45:02
    Sai: Which number? Microphone number two
    is...
  • 45:02 - 45:05
    Herald: Number two is the microphone - you
    want to come on stage?
  • 45:05 - 45:08
    Question: Yeah, sure.
    Sai: I just want to know if...
  • 45:08 - 45:14
    Bit: Microphone #2 is in front of you in
    the aisle, #3 behind there. #1 left on the
  • 45:14 - 45:19
    aisle, and #4 right.
    Sai: So it goes to number four if you're
  • 45:19 - 45:21
    willing to get on camera.
    Herald: So the question is right here.
  • 45:21 - 45:27
    Sai: Can you please bring me my canes?
    Question: Thank you for the really
  • 45:27 - 45:29
    impressive talk.
    Sai: Thank you.
  • 45:29 - 45:35
    Question: My question is the following. So
    when - I want to know how your imagination
  • 45:35 - 45:41
    works. So when someone says, imagine a
    box, what's that you think of. Is that the
  • 45:41 - 45:47
    material or how it sounds, how it feels,
    just how does it work.
  • 45:47 - 45:54
    Sai: Well there I would actually go to my
    kind of psychology talk that I gave a
  • 45:54 - 46:03
    27C3, and a box is a category, theoretic
    concept that has a prototype, possibly.
  • 46:03 - 46:14
    It's like asking: imagine a furniture.
    Hhm. Imagine a box! What kind of box? Is a
  • 46:14 - 46:21
    shipping box? Is it a box of mate that are
    those little crates that I walk into etc.
  • 46:21 - 46:29
    There are all different kinds of boxes. Is
    it an elevator? Yeah I don't know how to
  • 46:29 - 46:32
    answer that kind of question.
    Question: So maybe I got that incorrect,
  • 46:32 - 46:38
    but what I want to say is that when they
    try to think of something I had no idea
  • 46:38 - 46:45
    and you project plan, or etc. I imagine
    how it looks. So how I am at a certain
  • 46:45 - 46:50
    place or how I, for example, see a box if
    someone's talking about the box. So my
  • 46:50 - 46:56
    brain works like visually creating visual
    pictures. So I was interested in how that
  • 46:56 - 47:00
    works for blind people.
    Sai: Well, that depends on the blind
  • 47:00 - 47:09
    person, I have - I've never really had a
    visual thought process. So when I've
  • 47:09 - 47:15
    talked to people and asked them what is it
    like to think for you? So if people in the
  • 47:15 - 47:21
    audience, think about this, if you're
    imagining like what you did over the last
  • 47:21 - 47:34
    day - try it - okay. Many people here feel
    that as sort of a quasi audio monologue.
  • 47:34 - 47:41
    That's like a voice in their head, except
    it's their voice, it's not other voices.
  • 47:41 - 47:48
    Many people have it, like you have it, a
    sort of visual experience. Some people
  • 47:48 - 47:56
    have it as scrolling text. Can I get a
    clap for anyone who has their thoughts as
  • 47:56 - 48:03
    text? Anyone? No? Okay. Like two or three
    people who have that. For me it's purely
  • 48:03 - 48:09
    abstract. But if I wanted to think of a
    box, yes I can think of a box. I can
  • 48:09 - 48:14
    imagine it visually, I can imagine what it
    feels like, etc. Also please remember I
  • 48:14 - 48:24
    can see in dark light. I can't see here
    because - even looking up is painful with
  • 48:24 - 48:28
    my eyes closed under this blindfold. There
    is enough light coming through that it
  • 48:28 - 48:34
    hurts. I definitely would not be able to
    open my eyes and I could take my blindfold
  • 48:34 - 48:40
    off temporarily but that was because I was
    willing to tolerate some pain. So if it's
  • 48:40 - 48:47
    a dark room then I can see just fine.
    Herald: The next question is from the
  • 48:47 - 48:49
    Internet so they won't be able to go on
    stage.
  • 48:49 - 48:52
    Sai: Yes, the internet!
    Question: How do you feel about
  • 48:52 - 48:59
    the app Be My Eyes.
    Sai: Be My Eyes. It's actually not bad.
  • 48:59 - 49:12
    There's Be My Eyes, TapTapSee, BeSpecular,
    several for iPhone which I've never used
  • 49:12 - 49:17
    because I've got an Android. Though
    iPhone, for what it's worth has, and Mac
  • 49:17 - 49:23
    products in general, have really excellent
    support for blind people. TapTapSee is
  • 49:23 - 49:31
    useful. It's not as useful for me because
    at home, like if I want to identify a can
  • 49:31 - 49:38
    of soup or whatever, I will just look at
    it with the lights down, so I can see it
  • 49:38 - 49:45
    myself. And it's too much of a pain to use
    if I'm out, like if I'm grocery shopping.
  • 49:45 - 49:51
    That's something that's a real pain to do
    and an accessibility issue. For those of
  • 49:51 - 50:04
    you thinking about such things: if you
    only support the operation search or the
  • 50:04 - 50:12
    operation look up and say I walk into a
    grocery store - which I have done - yeah,
  • 50:12 - 50:17
    shocking. And they come up to me and say,
    hey how can I help you, what do you want.
  • 50:17 - 50:23
    I say well I don't know what I want. What
    do you have. I would like a savory snack
  • 50:23 - 50:33
    that's vegetarian. What do you have. Well
    what do you want. Name it. And if I name
  • 50:33 - 50:39
    it they'll get it from me but I don't
    know, especially if I'm in Germany. I have
  • 50:39 - 50:47
    no idea what they sell here yet they still
    ask me. So browsing is much harder and
  • 50:47 - 50:52
    with TapTapSee and with Be My Eyes and so
    forth, it's really for identifying a
  • 50:52 - 51:00
    specific object. One thing that you may
    not be used to here but in more barbaric
  • 51:00 - 51:06
    countries, all the paper currency is the
    same size and has no distinguishing
  • 51:06 - 51:13
    features. Except for the next print run,
    because the American Federation for the
  • 51:13 - 51:18
    Blind sued the U.S. Treasury and won. So
    the next generation of bills except for
  • 51:18 - 51:22
    the one dollar note which the Treasury is
    not allowed to change by law,
  • 51:22 - 51:26
    laughter
    the next generation will have blind
  • 51:26 - 51:31
    accessibility features. Here, they have
    different sizes. If you feel your euros
  • 51:31 - 51:38
    they have a little strip on the edge of
    them. And some versions of them have
  • 51:38 - 51:44
    little braille dots that you can tell what
    they are. So that's that's not as bad
  • 51:44 - 51:50
    here. Be My Eyes is more useful for
    someone who's blind at home as well. But
  • 51:50 - 51:54
    it's a great app!
    Herald: Another question from microphone 4
  • 51:54 - 51:57
    that's to the right of the stage. They can
    ask from there, but if they want to come
  • 51:57 - 51:58
    up...
    Sai: Thank you!
  • 51:58 - 52:00
    Herald: Do you want to come up?
    Sai: Ask first!
  • 52:00 - 52:05
    Herald: I'm going to - sorry for all
    the...
  • 52:05 - 52:12
    Question: So it was very impressive how
    you pick up on all the these things that
  • 52:12 - 52:19
    like, I normally don't. So I was really
    curious when you meet a new person. What
  • 52:19 - 52:22
    do you pick up. What do you pickup about
    them. Like how do you assess the person.
  • 52:22 - 52:28
    How do you know they're like interesting,
    attractive, like how do you.... Because I
  • 52:28 - 52:33
    use visual cues for that.
    Sai: So I'm going to answer you assuming
  • 52:33 - 52:43
    that I'm blind at the time. If they come
    up to me and say "how much can you see?"
  • 52:43 - 52:46
    then they're probably not a person I want
    to continue interacting with.
  • 52:46 - 52:50
    laughter
    If there is someone who comes up to me,
  • 52:50 - 52:55
    they've read my shirt about all sorts of
    different things that we can have a
  • 52:55 - 53:01
    conversation about that's substantive, and
    they say: "hey how would you like to
  • 53:01 - 53:06
    implement liquid democracy", or "how do
    you make a non-linear writing system", or
  • 53:06 - 53:12
    something like that. Then they're more
    likely an interesting person or they
  • 53:12 - 53:20
    introduce themselves and are nice. How do
    you evaluate people? Like, you can't value
  • 53:20 - 53:29
    them just by what they look like. I can
    tell your age and your approximate gender,
  • 53:29 - 53:38
    and your approximate place that you were
    raised linguistically, and if you were at
  • 53:38 - 53:44
    the same floor level, I can tell your
    height. I can probably tell roughly your
  • 53:44 - 53:50
    weight just from your heat, your - the
    sound of your voice, the amount of
  • 53:50 - 53:53
    pressure that you're making on the floor -
    depending on what kind of floor it is,
  • 53:53 - 53:59
    like if it's the stone out in the Messe,
    I'm not going to get anything from that.
  • 53:59 - 54:04
    Yeah blind people can be racist too if
    that's what you're thinking.
  • 54:04 - 54:07
    laughter
    Everybody can be racist.
  • 54:07 - 54:15
    singing We're all a little bit racist.
    Yeah same way anyone else!
  • 54:15 - 54:19
    Herald: So we will do one last question
    for microphone number two, that's center
  • 54:19 - 54:23
    aisle.
    Question: So thank you for your talk. I
  • 54:23 - 54:28
    think that was very inspiring. I was
    wondering, most of the methods you showed
  • 54:28 - 54:33
    where rather analogue. So have you also
    tried something like maybe a smart cane so
  • 54:33 - 54:38
    you have some more technical approach to
    detecting surfaces and obstacles, or other
  • 54:38 - 54:41
    things, and what's your experience with
    this kind of thing?
  • 54:41 - 54:44
    Sai: Hopefully my slide is still up there,
    where it says I'd be interested in
  • 54:44 - 54:52
    collaborating on that. Eric Boyd at
    SenseBridge of NoiseBridge, where I used
  • 54:52 - 54:59
    to be, made a nice anklet called the
    NorthPaw, which is basically a series of
  • 54:59 - 55:07
    pager buzzers that vibrate to point to
    which way is north. I sadly broke mine,
  • 55:07 - 55:13
    and if any of you have a working one, I
    would really like to have it! Absolute
  • 55:13 - 55:17
    orientation is really difficult. So
    relative orientation, like what I was
  • 55:17 - 55:23
    doing with the aikido, I can tell like
    where someone is. I can focus on them but
  • 55:23 - 55:31
    then it's easy to lose track of which way
    you're facing. So something like that is
  • 55:31 - 55:41
    quite useful. There are some products that
    do this on demand. So I forget what it is
  • 55:41 - 55:48
    called, but the LHZ Dresden had this
    product, which is a tactile feedback
  • 55:48 - 55:54
    compass and clock. So if you click it and
    it will vibrate in different ways to tell
  • 55:54 - 56:03
    you which way you're facing. That's - it
    doesn't really work very well. What you
  • 56:03 - 56:09
    would want is something continuous. I've
    heard of canes where they've like attached
  • 56:09 - 56:17
    a camera to either the cane or to the to
    the grip, and it beeps or something when
  • 56:17 - 56:25
    there's something there. I've never used
    one, so I can't comment on that directly
  • 56:25 - 56:31
    but from blind friends, who told me about
    experiences with them, they tend to be
  • 56:31 - 56:36
    engineered by sighted people who have no
    idea what it's like to be blind. That
  • 56:36 - 56:46
    said, it is true that tree branches are a
    real obstacle, because if I try to sweep
  • 56:46 - 56:53
    something and something is above this
    height like a tree branch at about this
  • 56:53 - 57:02
    height or a metal sign like in Boston or
    D.C. or New York, or well really anywhere
  • 57:02 - 57:07
    in the U.S. Not so much in London, they're
    pretty good about that except for the one
  • 57:07 - 57:10
    time I walked into a government building
    and there was a monitor affixed to the
  • 57:10 - 57:13
    wall at this height.
    indicates height of his head
  • 57:13 - 57:17
    I cleared the column, hit the column. I
    knew there was a column there and I was
  • 57:17 - 57:24
    just walking past the column and walked
    smack into the monitor. This was in a
  • 57:24 - 57:29
    government building, sadly. But usually
    they're pretty good about it and I haven't
  • 57:29 - 57:37
    found any like that here. But trees,
    there's always trees. Bus stops often have
  • 57:37 - 57:42
    sort of the the sign on on the side,
    right? And there is like this gap that
  • 57:42 - 57:44
    might be this high
    indicates knee hight
  • 57:44 - 57:49
    because I have a fairly long cane. Canes
    are usually anywhere between sternum and
  • 57:49 - 57:56
    nose. And mine is just at the edge of my
    nose. If I'm standing up tall. It's quite
  • 57:56 - 58:02
    long because I walk really fast. So mine
    has a lower angle and that means that it's
  • 58:02 - 58:09
    more likely to go under that and then I'll
    hit it like here when I'm almost at it.
  • 58:09 - 58:16
    Tangles up my cane, it's kind of a pain.
    Yeah. So it's possible that something that
  • 58:16 - 58:23
    detects a higher range will be useful. One
    thing that I'm specifically interested
  • 58:23 - 58:29
    because it's something I'm bad at, is
    absolute orientation. So if you are an
  • 58:29 - 58:39
    engineer or a hacker who is interested in
    collaborating on something like putting
  • 58:39 - 58:46
    things in the cane grip or in a hat or on
    the side of eyeglasses or something like
  • 58:46 - 58:53
    that, that would tell me which way is
    north, constantly, please get in touch. Or
  • 58:53 - 58:59
    for that matter if you can make glasses
    that will take standard lenses and have
  • 58:59 - 59:06
    zero light leakage, please get in touch.
    Because it turns out there aren't any such
  • 59:06 - 59:11
    frames on the market for some reason.
    That's the technology.
  • 59:11 - 59:17
    Thank you very much!
    Herald: I think we're out of time.
  • 59:17 - 59:20
    Thank you Sai for a very interesting talk,
    big round of applause.
  • 59:20 - 59:24
    applause
  • 59:29 - 59:32
    postroll music
  • 59:32 - 59:52
    subtitles created by c3subtitles.de
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Title:
35C3 - Sense without sight: a crash course on #BlindNavigation
Description:

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Video Language:
English
Duration:
59:51

English subtitles

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