Did you see the video?! After I became an Explorer, the Glass Team recorded my Glass-enabled, first post-injury camping trip. My friends (Brant, Heidi, Bobby, Tedd, Will, and Sara) and I took the minivan to the beautiful Harriman State Park. There, we stayed at the Baker Camp on Lake Sebago. We did some exploring of the local area, had a campfire by the scenic lake, and celebrated long into the night. It was my first outdoor adventure since my spinal cord injury, and I loved it!

On our whirlwind camping trip, and beyond, I have used Glass to take pictures, record videos, find directions, search for facts, and dictate emails and text messages. I also have several times affirmatively answered the absurd question “are you calling me from your glasses?” For me, this is all much easier (or possible) only with the voice-activated, hands-free device…

Google Glass doesn’t somehow “fix” a disability. But, it is a more accessible tool for self-expression. For communities that are often silent, hidden, marginalized – like that of people with disabilities – these kinds of tools are essential. The more we enable people with disabilities to share their stories and passions, the more they become people, rather than tragic or heroic stereotypes.

For me, Glass has also been an incentive to explore – even if I don’t always share with the world, simplifying the logistics of my adventures makes me want to have more of them. And I’m lucky – I have friendships and community support that motivate me to apply to be an Explorer, run fundraising campaigns, and fight for whatever dreams I had before my injury. But disability affects many people already hindered by circumstance. And while I am still fighting my own battle to get back on track, I look forward to being a lawyer, activist, and voice in the push to end marginalization.

For more information about disability rights, I suggest starting with the Christopher Reeve Foundation (which focuses on SCI, but has links beyond it). I’ve also linked to some interesting activist voices in the post above.

The Reeve website has a great list of foundations willing to help pay for accessible technology, if you need better transportation, dictation software, or touch-based tech (Glass is not yet commercially available).