Innovator Joshua Miele on How a UC Berkeley Hub for Blind Students Launched an Adaptive Tech Revolution

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Dr. Joshua Miele  (Barbara Butkus)

Joshua Miele is a 2021 MacArthur fellow who develops and invents adaptive technologies for blind and visually impaired persons ranging from tactile-Braille street maps to crowd-sourced audio descriptions for YouTube videos. But back in fall 1987, he was a freshman at UC Berkeley and newly a member of “The Cave,” a library basement gathering hub for Berkeley’s blind students. Following the disability rights movement spearheaded at Berkeley in the ‘60s and ‘70s, The Cave provided its denizens with a space for community, inspiration and innovation as they entered the digital age. We’ll talk about how The Cave was crucial for the innovations of Miele and other alumni, its enduring legacies, and how accessibility tech has progressed in the past few decades.

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Guests:

Joshua Miele, principal accessibility researcher, Amazon Lab126

Lori Gray, adventures and outings program manager, Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program

Fatemeh Haghighi, professor of neuroscience, Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai; director, Haghighi Lab at James J. Peters Veterans Affairs Medical Center in New York

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