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TV REVIEW : Technology Helping People With Disabilities

March 31, 1995|ROBERT KOEHLER | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

It has to be one of the great ironies of contemporary life.

Just as technology's enormous social reach is spreading dread among the able-bodied population, the same revolution is having exactly the opposite impact among millions of people with disabilities. The three-part "People in Motion" demonstrates how a vast array of technological innovations have liberated lives, often rendering the very term disabled meaningless.

Consider, for instance, Marilyn Hamilton, who hasn't left behind her life-long hunger for sports and adventure after a nearly fatal hang-gliding accident. With two hang-glider designers, she helped create a new generation of speedy, maneuverable and hip-looking wheelchairs, and we see her playing tennis, skiing and racing.

Or consider Parkinson's disease-afflicted podiatrist Tom Reiss, whose personal inventions and applications of virtual reality glasses have allowed him to walk and move freely.

Without ever stating it, this series, with segments written and directed by Lyn Goldfarb, Vicki Sufian and Jan Legnitto, shows how the space age has expanded freedom for previously disenfranchised people.

At the same time, "People in Motion" also reveals how the remarkable political movement of people with disabilities--is there another grass-roots group whose impact is literally felt on every sidewalk and parking lot?--hasn't dissipated since its victories in the 1980s.

* "People in Motion" premieres at 10 tonight on KCET-TV Channel 28.

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