A funny thing happens as the average electronics hobbyist gets older: Their eyes- well they just don’t work the same as they used to. But what if your life started out with compromised vision? In this epic forum post (Google translated from Polish to English), we meet nearly blind hacker [Urgon]. He goes into great detail about his condition and how it affects not just his daily life, but also his abilities as an electronics engineer. Or conversely, how it doesn’t.
[Urgon]’s origin story is familiar. At eight years old, he disassembled his first television. His self-education continued by using his remaining vision to soak up every bit of literature about electronics that he could get his hands on. A well-intentioned but protective mother kept him away from soldering irons, fearing that the close proximity to his good eye might not bode well for his remaining vision.
Despite a failed eye, and his other having quite severe glaucoma, [Urgon] has persevered. He uses assistive technologies as you’d expect, but notes that in more recent times some excellent free software has surpassed some of the commercial products he used in the past.
While even the sighted among us often shy away from SMD components, [Urgon] dives right in. SOIC packages and 0805 parts don’t hold him back. Bright LED flashlights, zooming in with his smart phone, and surely a healthy dose of patience make his hackery possible.
That’s not to say that [Urgon] hasn’t had some noteworthy incidents. He’s suffered electric shock from the 400 V capacitors in an ATX PSU, burned his face with his soldering iron, and even managed to step on a DIP package. Barefoot. Yes, the pins were facing up.
But wait- there’s more! In this follow-up post, [Urgon] discusses more assistive/adaptive technologies and how hackers like you and I can focus our efforts on things the vision impaired will find most helpful.
Our hats are off to [Urgon] and those like him who persevere despite the odds. We can all learn from [Urgon]’s hacker spirit and his dedication to the craft. We recently covered some blind software hackers who have taken it upon themselves to fly passenger jets– virtually, of course!
Thanks to [Moryc] for the excellent tip!