Think and Zoom Future of Disability 2021 — Global list of Disabled Innovators

Zuby Onwuta
11 min readDec 3, 2021

Think and Zoom is

“Creating a world where visual impairment no longer steals dreams or kills careers”


We are celebrating October #NDEAM National Disability Employment Awareness Month & Blindness Awareness Month, by shining the spotlight on Blind people solving blindness problems ”and highlighting the achievements of individuals who are ‘Overcoming Disability with creative abilities’, by ‘Turning personal problems into global solutions’” and igniting the inclusion revolution — #inclusionrevolution

image of Richard Branson

Richard Branson

  • Twitter
  • Blog on
  • Location: London, England
  • Role/Achievement: Founder of the Virgin Group, traveled as a passenger on board Virgin Galactic Unity 22 at the edge of space
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Kursat Ceylan


● Location: Istanbul, Turkey

● Role/Achievement: Partnership with Microsoft and Amazon Startup of the year

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Mildred Davidson

● Location: Washington, D.C. US

● Occupation: Florist

● Achievement: shared the patent on the sanitary belt, toilet tissue holder with her sister, Mary Beatrice Davidson Kenner

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Rich Horgan


● Location: Boston, Massachusetts, US

● Achievement: Founder Cure Rare Diseases, Patient Innovator

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Eric Ingram


● Location: Washington DC, US

● Role/ Title: Cofounder SCOUT, Project Lead at Mission AstroAccess

Company Website

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Elon Musk


● Role/ Title: Founder, CEO, and Chief Engineer of SpaceX
CEO and product architect of Tesla, Inc.
Founder of The Boring Company and (now part of PayPal)
Co-founder of Neuralink, OpenAI, and Zip2

Company Website

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Satya Nedella



● Role/ Title: Microsoft CEO, Computing for everyone, Execute Sponsor of Microsoft Ability Hacks

Microsoft Profile

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Matthew Walzer



● Achievement: Cerebral Palsy On Inspiring Nike’s New Hands-Free Shoe -Nike Go FlyEase shoes

Nike Article

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Sina Bahram


White House Page

● Location: North Carolina

● Role/ Title: One of 14 “Champions of Change” at a White House ceremony.

● Achievement: Bahram was honored for a software framework he developed called “Touch It, Key It, Speak It,” or TIKISI.

image of Dana Bolles

Dana Bolles

Information page for NASA

● Location: California, US

● Role/ Title: External Information Technology Lead at
NASA Headquarters

● Achievement: Dana Bolles has worked in many exciting areas of NASA including assuring the safety of experiments and spacecraft going to space, managing environmental programs, and thinking about the possibility of life beyond Earth.

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Mary Cooper


● Role/ Title: Disability ambassador

● Achievement: one of 12 disability ambassadors who participated in AstroAccess’ first ZeroG flight to experiment with accessible design on commercial space aircraft on Oct. 17.

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Centra Mazyck


● Location: Virginia

● Role/ Title: Army Veteran

● Achievement: In 2005, she competed in the first National Veterans Wheelchair Games. Later, after intense training, she competed in the javelin competition at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London. In 2013, she earned a bronze medal at the IPC Athletics World Championships in France.

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Mona Minkara



● Location: Evanston, Illinois, US

● Role/ Title: Assistant Professor, Bioengineering in Northeastern

● Achievement: an Assistant Professor in the Department of Bioengineering and an Affiliate Faculty in the Department of Chemistry and Chemical Biology at Northeastern where she heads the COMBINE (Computational Modeling for BioINterface Engineering) Lab. Dr. Minkara is also one of the only blind professors in the field of Bioengineering, and she seeks to increase accessibility in STEM.

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Viktoria Modesta



● Title: Bionic Pop Artist

● Achievement: She starred in and oversaw the creative direction of a massively successful viral video ‘Prototype’ for the Channel4 #BornRisky campaign.

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Sawyer Rosenstein



● Location: Jupiter, FL

● Role/ Title: Space enthusiast, Host/Editor, News Producer of WPBF25 News Ambassador

● Achievement: Fmr Challenger Center Flight Director

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Eric Shear


● Location: Gainesville, Florida, US

● Role/ Title: M.Sc Space Scientist & Chemical Engineer — R&D

● Achievement: Established new multi-disciplinary collaborations with industry, government and academic partners to expedite space life support prototype development and testing

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Apurva Varia

Personal page on NASA

● Role/ Title: Mission Director for Parker Solar Probe, Mission Director for the Interstellar Boundary Explorer (IBEX), and Deputy Mission Director for the Lunar Reconnaissance Mission (LRO)​

● Achievement: Joined Goddard which provides sign language interpreters and offers sign language classes to initialize communications with the deaf. Also celebrate National Disability Month in October.

image of Zuby Onwuta

Zuby Onwuta



Think and Zoom


● Title: Founder & CEO of Think and Zoom, Patented Inventor “Brain Control for Blind Assistive Tech,” Founder of Future of Disability.

● Accomplishments: invented “Think and Zoom”: Brain-Control for Blind assistive tech” with the goal of “Creating a world, where visual impairment no longer steals dreams or kills careers”, created “Kenti”, brain-controlled iOS game and recipient of 2015 Apple WWDC award and founded “Think and Zoom: Brain Control Solutions to enable the disabled and boost the abled”

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Sheri Wells-Jensen


● Location: Bowling Green, Ohio, US

● Role/ Title: Associate Professor of Linguistics at Bowling Green State University.

● Achievement: Sheri served in the Peace Corps in Ecuador education on pesticide safety and serves on the board of the SciAccess SSoCIA (Social and Conceptual Issues in Astrobiology), and METI(messaging Extraterrestrial Intelligence) International and is currently writing a book on disability and space.

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Eyra Abraham


Hearing Assistant Mobile App for iOS and Android

● Location: Greater Toronto Area, Canada

● Title/Achievement: Founder of Lisnen, tech for people with hearing loss | Member of Accessibility Standards Canada Technical Committee | Top 100 Black Women to Watch 2019 (CIBWE) | Startup Consultant

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Fernando Albertorio

Personal Page





● Location: Someville, Massachusetts, US

● Role/ Title: legally blind Innovator, inventor SUNU Band for blind

● Achievement: leading a summer Co-Design program that brought in blind and low vision individuals to work as part of a research team that’s developing AR technology for navigation. The program provided career development through talks and focus groups with individuals that are working in various fields in tech

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Pramit Bhargava


Pramit in action!

● Location: Gurgaon, Haryana, India

● Achievement: Bull’s eye from chloroquine medication for 2 years

Invented Louie voice control app for smartphone.

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Varun Chandak


Organization Website

● Location: Toronto, Ontario, Canada

● Role/ Title: Founder Of Access to Success Organization — first Disability Tech Accelerator Canada

● Achievement: Supporting the development of accessibility tech & Disabled Leaders Fellowship — support future leaders with disabilities via MBA Fellowships

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Myles de Bastion

Personal Page



● Location: Portland

● Achievement: musician, designer and inventor had pioneered technologies translating live music into light and vibrations — featured everywhere from the Portland Art Museum to Jimmy Kimmel Live. VR accessible for the deaf.

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Julia Dunfrund



● Location: Greater Chicago Area, US

● Role/ Title: O2 Monde Social Media Manager/Strategic Planner — WDYT Community & Partnership Manager

● Achievement: Touch Adaptive, Fashion for invisible disabilities like Anxiety

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Saida Florexil


Personal Page

● Location: West Palm Beach, Florida, US

● Title/Achievement: Founder of Imanyco, Creator of Cominify- real-time transcription for the deaf. Advocate for communication accessibility.

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Sanford Greenberg

● Location: Buffalo, New York, US

● Role/ Title: Chairman of the Board of Governors of Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Wilmer Eye Institute

● Achievement: Invented software that speeds up audio for blind readers

End blindness by 2020 campaign

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Micheal Holden



● Location: Belfast Metropolitan Area, UK

● Role/ Title: Founder of Tripability, CEO of AccessoLoo

● Achievement: Accessible Trip for all the disabilities.

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Joe Jamison


● Location: Charlottesville, Virginia, US

● Role/ Title: Founder of VisitAble, LLC

● Achievement: Through VisitAble, she made physical locations mobility friendly

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Joe Johnson


Personal Page

● Location: Windsor, Colorado, US

● Role/ Title: CEO of Quorum Prosthetics

● Achievement: Joe stays up to date with all the newest microprocessor technology for our amputees. Aside from being an extremely successful practitioner, he is also a world-class athlete.

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Noel Joyce



Inspirefest 2019 (youtube)

● Location: Shanghai, China

● Achievement: Founded project that tags inaccessible sidewalks for local government using Google earth, map. Designed Full Suspension Adaptive Mountain Bike for Wheelchair users

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Caroline Karbowski


● Location: Cincinnati, Ohio, US

● Role/ Title: Undergraduate Student Researcher at The Ohio State University

● Achievement: Founder of See3D, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that organizes the printing and distribution of 3D printed models for people who are blind. Managed the 2020 intern program.

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Jenny Lay-Furtie



● Location: Greater Seattle Area, US

● Role/ Title: Microsoft Chief Accessibility Officer

● Achievement: Working with partners across the company, formed and chair the Disability Employee Resource Group. An Affinity group that brings together the different employee disability communities to form one overarching group representing disAbilities at Microsoft.

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KR Liu


● Location: San Francisco Bay Area

● Role/ Title: Head of Brand Accessibility at Google, ADWEEK 2021 Creative 100 Honoree

● Achievement: KR has been featured in NPR, CBS This Morning, Fast Company, Business Insider, Tech Crunch, and many more for her work in accessibility inclusion and equality in tech.

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Eva Michalkova


Student Spotlight article

● Location: Boston, Massachusetts, US

● Achievement: Founder of MIRAIO, Cofounder of No F-ears

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Garvin Neate



● Location: Greater Edinburgh Area

● Achievement/ Title: Founder/ CEO of Neatebox, developer of WelcoMe App

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Brittany Palmer


● Location: Wayland, Massachusetts, US

● Role/ Title: Founder & CEO of Beeyonder

● Achievement: Beeyonder, a platform that allows users to travel anywhere they want without having to leave their homes, and a marketplace platform that provides group and private live and prerecorded virtual experiences.

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Thomas Panek


● Location: New York City, NY, US

● Role/ Title: President & CEO at Guiding Eyes

● Achievement: Previously, Thomas served as Vice President of Relationship Management at National Industries for the Blind in Washington, DC where he was responsible for helping wounded warriors transition to civilian employment.

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John Robinson


● Location: Albany, New York Metropolitan Area, US

● Role/ Title: CEO of Our Ability

● Achievement: Development of Our Ability, which is an online platform that connects the disabled to jobs.

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Antonio Rodriquez


● Location: Austin, Texas, US

● Role/ Title: CEO at Pretty Smart Labs

● Achievement: Founder and CEO of Pretty Smart Labs (formerly known as TuMundo, Inc.), offering an IoT full stack lab offering services from proof of concept prototyping to final production, with software development from embedded to AI.

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John Samuel


● Location: Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill Area, US

● Role/Achievement: CoFounder & CEO of Ablr360, Digital Accessibility and Incision company making all digital content accessible to everyone and ADA Section 508 compliant

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Mariella Satow



Signup How To Video- youtube

● Location: Sag Harbor, UK

● Achievement: Launched Signup, which is a free-of-charge Google Chrome Extension that provides ASL captioning over Disney+ videos

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Linda Smith Swerdlow


Aligned Designed website

● Location: Los Angeles, California, US

● Role/ Title: CEO of the 3rd Foot Cane by Aligned as designed.

● Achievement: Aligned As Designed Mobility Devices are designed to help maintain or regain upright posture, balance, and stability.

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David Wieselmann



● Location: Braintree, Massachusetts, US

● Achievement: Founder and CEO of Where to Wheel US — -, Building wheelchair lift to give more independence to users for outdoor activities

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Maayan Ziv


● Location: Greater Toronto Area, Canada

● Role/ Title: Founder CEO, AccessNow

● Achievement: Maayan is a passionate and relentless advocate for creating a more accessible and inclusive world. In 2015, Maayan founded AccessNow, a digital platform that is mobilizing communities by mapping the accessibility of places and experiences worldwide. As the founder and CEO of AccessNow, Maayan is a regular in the media on topics such as accessibility, diversity and inclusion.



Zuby Onwuta

Legally blind ex US Army & IBM, Founder @ Think and Zoom, Inventor of “Brain-control for blind Assistive Tech”, TED Speaker, Disability Advocate @ US Congress