Happy Independence Day


I just wanted to wish all of my fellow Americans a Happy Independence Day. I hope everyone had a great time with their families and found a way to celebrate the anniversary of such an important part of history. For all of my readers who are not American, I hope you had a great 4th of July yourself!

BenjaminFranklin

At the beginning of the week, J and I started reading about Benjamin Franklin. Not just one of our Founders and a brilliant mind, but one of America’s first Assistive Tech pioneers. He was a true tinkerer and amount his various inventions and experiments were some AT devices.  Here is a lost of some of his inventions that I would consider Assistive Tech of some level:

  • Bifocals – probably his most famous invention. Hat is easily identified as AT
  • Electricity – probably his most famous invention period, but not thought of as AT, but can you imagine any medium or high tech AT without electricity?
  • Swim fins – Franklin loved swimming his entire life. At age 11 he invented a pair of swim fins he wore on his hands.
  • Flexible Urinary Catheter – Here is one of Franklin’s inventions that is not so well known. Before Franklin’s invention urinary catheters were rigid and quite painful. When Benjamin’s brother, John, got kidney stones Benjamin created a catheter using flexible tubing to ease some of his brother’s pain.
  • “Long Arm” – This was simply a long wooden pole with a grasping arm at the end to grab books off of high shelves.  Franklin was an avid reader but found reaching books on high shelves to be a problem.
So on this Independence Day week I will not only be learning and teaching J about Benjamin Franklin’s life in general, but I will also be looking upon at least one of our country’s Founding Fathers with new eyes:  Benjamin Franklin, Assistive Technology Engineer!
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