[hackerspaces] Inquiry: Hackerspaces Accomodating Special Needs Hackers & Hacker Experiences - How Do You Guys Fare?

Alan Fay emptyset at freesideatlanta.org
Tue Dec 17 22:10:20 CET 2013

On Mon, Dec 16, 2013 at 3:11 AM, Ethan Chew <spacefelix at gmail.com> wrote:

> Cool!  Do you have detailed technical documentation on how you built the
> zero-turn wheelchair?

It was pretty much a repurposed lawnmower - Grasshopper model, I believe.
 We did rebuild and upholster the seat, and manufactured a replacement part
in the transmission that broke during...stress testing, in case Robin ever
needed to do stoppies.  We also painted and wired up an LED strip.

We definitely should have built a roll cage, and added a hoop in some neon
color to highlight the turn radius in the back.  It's actually a miracle
nobody was serious injured by it.  We joked that it would be a viral
off-road wheelchair, breaking legs everywhere it went, and then those
hippies would need off-road wheelchairs...

The following scene was recreated when some hippie tried to guide it down a
hill with his glow sticks, like he was directing an airplane:

He was fine, though.  It just ran over his foot.

> I have been learning American Sign Language off and on and I have wondered
> about a project to develop a video recognition program that can read the
> gestures of sign and translate them into words.  It has been demonstrated
> with the XBOX Kinect (
> http://www.eweek.com/pc-hardware/xboxs-kinect-senses-sign-language.html).
>  With this demonstration and open-source software to repurpose the Kinect,
> this project seems closer to my reach.

That is awesome; I have to remember to look into that.  Stuff like that is
important to demo on open house nights - there's literally no shortage of
projects to get people's imaginations working and thinking about what kind
of stuff is possible.

> A curiosity, for an organization to be registered as a 501c3 and/or for
> insurance purposes, is ADA compliance a must?  Did Freeside or other
> hackerspace meet this as a requirement?

Those are probably separate concerns.  For 501(c)3, the application had no
mention of ADA.  For insurance, it probably matters if you're looking to
get D&O (Directors and Officers), since you probably need that compliance
if you're hiring staff (and if you're hiring staff, then congrats!)

Mostly, though - the ADA concerns itself with publicly accessible spaces.
 That's why I recommend discussing it with your landlord; in the event of
somebody suing, the owner is probably liable.  However, if it was your
build-out that triggered non-compliance, and your building is supposed to
be compliant, then the hackerspace might be liable.

Again, not a lawyer or an expert!  I'm just some dude.  :)

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