*The National organization of the blind of Spain
A conference organized by the Foundation of the Organización Nacional de Ciegos Españoles was held in the congress center of the city of Pablo Picasso and Antonio Banderas, Malaga, on 27-29 of September, 2017.
The main topic of the discussion was tourism and technologies for people with special needs. Though, it would be more correctly to say that the participants of the conference were mostly worried about the future of their country, of the world in general and humanity.
It was just a revelation for me that any of us could become a disabled person. It’s just a matter of time and circumstances. This particular point changed my opinion about the reason for holding such like conferences. If you don’t take this possibility into consideration, you might think that this issue is no concern of yours. On the other hand, if you look at the issue from a different point of view, you will see that the problems of people with special needs are of vital importance.
The conference consisted of many sessions and panel discussions on various topics, such as for example as “smart” cities and exoskeletons.
It was quite unusual for me, a Russian resident, to see people in wheelchairs on the stage, as in Russia it’s not common to notice disabled people.
It was also remarkable that speeches made in Spanish were interpreted not only into English but also into a sign language. This shows the highest degree of humanistic development of Europe and Spain, in particular.
At the conference in Malaga the sightless talk about problems they face when checking in hotels with their service dogs, because only a very limited number of hotels allow it. The blind did not just spoke about their issues, they were listened to.
Scientists from Harvard demonstrated the work of unique exoskeletons, using which disabled persons with locomotor system problems will take control over their bodies again.
I was very much impressed with the researches of Brazilian universities that helped children with autism learn to express their emotions.
I liked very much the public prosecutor’s of Malaga speech on a panel discussion about city autopilots. She pointed out that the absence of legal regulation in this field was a major obstacle on the way of autopilot cars and buses testing, as Olly company’s representatives assured everything was ready for it.
My presentation on September of 29 dealt with the future of ChatBots in the field of tourism and care for people with disabilities.
This technology is still in the making, and the peak of its development is yet to come.
As possible fields of ChatBots’ application, I mentioned the following:
For “smart” cities – informing guests about interesting events in the city, instant answers to questions. The ChatBot can operate in any messenger. No need to download any applications.
For people with special needs – possibility to orally ask any questions and send feedback.
In hotel and catering business – to book rooms and tables; to place orders.
Assistance to people with Alzheimer’s disease; prophylaxis of Alzheimer’s disease by way of communication with lonely people.
The topic of education and educational robotics, as well as 3D printing in schools and universities were also discussed in great detail at the conference. It was said how to create ready-made robots and devices using 3D printing and 3D modeling.
In general, the conference was very positive and productive. The participants not only named the existing problems, but also proposed possible solutions of the issues.
It is safe to say that holding such congresses is very beneficial for the development of society and technology.