Sunday, April 24, 2011

ReaTech 2011

The day after flying back to São Paulo, Juliana was on her way here too. She would be attending the huge ReaTech convention, an international technology fair featuring developments in rehabilitation, inclusion, and accessibility. I spent Friday at the feira with Juliana, learning about cool new stuff on the market and watching Ju filming for her next episode of Faça a Diferença (Make a Difference).

Being such a good sport, the extreme heat inside the convention center didn't stop Juliana from filming a little workout demo on these special weightlifting machines designed for cadeirantes.

Other booths featured representatives from the City of São Paulo, the Brazilian Committee for Special Olympics, and various vendors exhibiting souped up wheelchairs. (One of my favorites was the Evac +Chair: it goes down stairs!) There was even a demonstration of a computer that receives commands through its users' eye movements. Wow!

My favorite product in the vehicle division, though, was this Independent Life car. It's like a SmartCar with a hydraulic lift in the back. Press the remote to open the hatch and lower the ramp, and scoot right in to the specially designed dashboard. Neat.

There were even exhibitors demonstrating developments in Xtreme sports and tourism. The blue surfboard is adapted for the blind, the pale yellow longboard is adapted for paraplegics, and the red bodyboard is for people with Downs Syndrome.

I love this picture of Juliana and her good friend Billy Saga, the President of Movimento SuperAção (SuperAction Movement, an organization that promotes social inclusion) in Brazil.

In the back of the giant facility were sports courts where cadeirantes were playing basketball, and a stage where there were various song and dance performances by deaf artists and disabled dancers. Very cool.

"The most important muscle for our athletes is the heart." Right on.

Guess who we found? Frederico (ARCO) and Sonia (Profilo Smart)!

Juliana and I were so delightfully surprised to find Sonia. We kept our poor, exhausted Italian friend chatting far too long (on her birthday), but it was as if no time had passed at all--that evening or since our last encounter.

It was a great day. To top it off, when Juliana and I got back to my apartment around midnight, there was a very interesting email waiting for me. Next post!

For now, let's all take a Restroon break.