Health Tracking Apps

Today, Apple had a talk in which they released information regarding their new iPhone and iPad. Along with this, the CEO mentioned new software in the iPhone called CareKit that will help apps like mPower to track and monitor symptoms of Parkinson’s Disease or things like diabetes, mental health, etc. mPower in particular was talked about because it is celebrating it’s one year anniversary. It’s an app for people with Parkinson’s Disease, which can monitor users 24/7 if they like through voice recording, games, walking, etc. and then sends that information to Sage Bionetworks, a nonprofit research organization. This new software makes it easier for more health apps to be created and furthers the abilities of tracking options/capabilities.

Their purpose, and the purpose of this new software according to Apple, is to be able to do “clinical studies with unprecedented reach”. The concept of having something monitoring you at all times and sending data to scientists is one that puts the medical model in your home and literally in your pocket. These groups have a focus of treatment and cure, which can be useful but also problematic. I am particularly interested in mPower because I personally have a tremor disorder similar to PD and there are constant pushes to find some kind of neurological answer behind why tremor disorders occur (since no one truly knows). In some ways, apps like this can be helpful because it allows for people to easily track their own symptoms and potentially learn how to manage their illness, but their information is being sent to who knows how many people who want to oversee and regulate bodies. Technology like this brings the medical model into the private sphere (your cell phone) and there’s no way of knowing what the information your phone is sending might generate.

http://www.apple.com/pr/library/2016/03/21Apple-Advances-Health-Apps-with-CareKit.html

https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/news/story/4528/parkinsons-app-celebrates-milestone-featured-by-apple.aspx

Re: last class & positive media representation

Last class, we discussed what positive media representation could look like. Specifically, we wanted to find media that challenged the notion that disability is a negative thing, and decided that Jane the Virgin did not do this successfully.

I found this viral video of a parent of a child with down syndrome saying, “Down syndrome is one of the most beautiful things to happen to my life. [Down syndrome] is fun. It’s brilliant. It’s amazing. It’s funny. It’s kind. It’s loving. It’s cuddly.”

But then he goes on to say, “It’s not an illness… not even a disability.”

And so, the search continues…

Super Bowl Accessibility

I know it’s been a little bit since the Super Bowl, but I wanted to make a blog post to see what everyone thinks about this topic. I think it ties into our talks about accessibility!

During the Super Bowl, Marlee Matlin was signing the National Anthem as Lady Gaga sang. She’s done this in years past, but I felt like this year I actually heard people hyping it up. The broadcast started by showing her for a brief moment, but never again returning to her, instead only showing Lady Gaga singing. This meant that although they had someone (and someone considerably famous) signing the song, D/deaf people watching at home never actually saw her. Apparently, they showed her signing in a small bubble on the screen in the actual stadium, but never showed her for the television broadcast. What does this mean in terms of accessibility? In class, we talked about accessibility being a priority and in some ways, there was a step being taken to make this part of the Super Bowl accessible, but there is a difference between the thought of doing something and actually doing it. What does it say about the importance of accessibility to the NFL and CBS if they do not show someone signing on national television during such a huge event? Is it enough to know that she is signing for any D/deaf people in the stadium? I feel like CBS and the NFL take the step to have an ASL interpreter there is important, but it would be even more groundbreaking to actually show someone signing on national television rather than just mention it and show Marlee Matlin for a brief moment, then never show her again. If they had showed her, it might’ve set a kind of precedent, but instead it made accessibility seem like an afterthought and a kind of appeasement.

https://www.romper.com/p/marlee-matlin-signs-national-anthem-at-super-bowl-not-that-you-really-saw-it-5218