Blind Japanese woman receives IBM's top award

Jun 05, 2009
US computer giant IBM's Japanese researcher Chieko Asakawa in Tokyo, 2003. IBM has named Asakawa as the first blind engineer -- as well as the first Japanese female -- to receive the company's highest technical honour.

US computer giant IBM has named Chieko Asakawa as the first blind engineer -- as well as the first Japanese female -- to receive the company's highest technical honour.

Asakawa, 50, was named this week as one of eight Japanese to win the title of IMB Fellow for her achievements in making the Internet widely accessible for visually impaired people.

It is the company's most prestigious honour for an , a title given to only 218 technicians in the company's more than century-long history.

"Asakawa's crucial contributions in the area of accessibility technology have enabled IBM to become a worldwide leader in the field," the US-based company said in a statement.

"She has helped to establish awareness, both within and outside , while leading the creation of technologies that have changed the way disabled individuals communicate and interact."

Asakawa developed accessibility software called the "Homepage Reader" which reads aloud words that appear on an Internet window and is now available in 11 languages including English and Japanese.

"I am very happy about the nomination," Asakawa said in a statement. "I will continue working hard towards an even more accessible society."

Asakawa, who lost her vision as a teenager, joined the in 1985 and has since worked to increase computer accessibility not only for the disabled but also for the elderly and novices.

(c) 2009 AFP

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User comments : 4

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iknow
not rated yet Jun 05, 2009
Why the bloody hell did you have to use this page about a great achievement by a disabled person to be a IBM yourself - International Bloody Moron.

Great work Asakawa!!!
finitesolutions
not rated yet Jun 06, 2009
Do not buy IBM crap!
2600merc
5 / 5 (1) Jun 06, 2009
I work for IBM. They can not supply coffee, tea or milk. But can hold award parties. What did they do with all that profit?
nxtr
5 / 5 (1) Jun 06, 2009
Hey kids lets bash IBM somewhere else. This is about honoring a woman who has helped make the internet a better place for the visually impaired. The level of maturity of engineers is abysmal sometimes.