In the second episode of CNN’s new series Tech For Good, anchor and correspondent Kristie Lu Stout meets five inspiring people from across the globe who are using technology to beat the odds and excel in everything from sport, to cultural preservation and gaming.
CNN speaks with South African surfer and swimmer Caleb Swanepoel, who has utilised state-of-the-art technology to recover from losing his right leg in a shark attack five years ago. With the aid of a prosthetic limb designed by German company Ottobock, Swanepoel can switch between various modes of movement which allows him to continue surfing and even compete in international championships. Swanepoel reveals to CNN that he was back in the water just three weeks after the attack in 2015 and hopes to continue his career as an adaptive surfer.
In the United Kingdom, wearable technology is helping blind ultramarathoner Simon Wheatcroft stay on track. Faced with the challenges of mobility that came with losing his eyesight as a teenager, Wheatcroft helped to develop technology that could enable him to run without a guide. Lu Stout learns how he uses the Wayband, a watch-like haptic device by WearWorks which sends pulses to his wrists whenever he veers off-course. He hopes the technology will enable a new level of independence for the visually impaired community.
Archaeologist Solsiré Cusicanqui uses technology to conduct drone surveys and 3D modelling to unearth the secrets of a pre-Hispanic civilisation that prospered in the Andes Mountains in Peru. She explains to CNN how such discoveries have helped instill a sense of identity and pride in the local communities of Peru’s northern highlands and shares how technology has empowered her as a female archaeologist.
Lu Stout then meets Adonian Chan, a graphic and type designer with an ambition to preserve an endangered calligraphy style native to his hometown of Hong Kong. Chan is using software called Glyphs to digitise the style – called Beiwei Kaishu – into a contemporary typeface that could eventually be installed on phones and computers. He says the technology allows him to adapt this ancient writing style to the needs of modern society, preventing its extinction.
Finally, Tech for Good speaks to Ryan Hart, a formerly homeless man who has found fame via gaming. Also known as Robotnik, Hart tells CNN that he found a community in London’s arcades after becoming homeless when he was 18, and that he turned to competitive gaming as a form of creative expression. Since then, he has since won hundreds of events around the world, broken Guinness World Records and is considered one of Europe’s best players.