By Jeremy Page

The world of technology seems to be moving faster than we are, threatening to take us to some Sci-Fi future where cars fly and computers do all our thinking for us.

But while many companies are focused on the high profit margins generated by a mass market, others are making a difference to the lives of a specific target audience.

Take choreographer Chris Fonseca. He almost said goodbye to his dream of a life working in music and dance, after a childhood bout of meningitis led him to lose his hearing entirely.

But thanks to a device which allows him to feel the beat of the music, called SubPac, Chris is able to move in time to tunes he is unable to hear - by feeling the vibrations.

SubPac is used by music producers to help them feel the music without damaging their ears. But it has opened up a whole new world for Chris, who runs dance classes for the deaf

Simon Wheatcroft lost his sight at 17, after he was born with the genetic degenerative eye condition retinitis pigmentosa (RP).

But thanks to a little tech help, he has become an ultra-marathon runner.

He initially ran with a guide dog, or other people to help him, but then he turned to IBM Bluemix - the tech giant's app development arm - to help him create an app which would allow him to run solo.

Called eAscot after his guide dog, the app uses sensors, similar to car parking sensors, and satellite navigation to help him stay on course.

If he veers off course, the app emits a high-pitched or low-pitched beep – depending on whether he’s too far right or too far left, to warn him.

Silence means he’s heading in the right direction.

Advances in 3D printing are also making a difference to Paralympians. Carrying out full body scans of disabled athletes has enabled the production of tailor-made racing wheelchairs and aerodynamic prosthetic limbs, to increase their performance.

South African born professional golfer and US veteran Anthony Netto thought his sporting life was over when he was paralysed from the waist down. Shot through the hip while serving in Iraq, he was involved in a car accident three years later which damaged even more vertebrae and left him a wheelchair.

A paraplegic who could no longer stand, he invented the Paragolfer, a machine which can elevate people from a sitting to a standing position.

Technology is so often demonised for making us lazy.

But these cases prove just the opposite


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