Having a disability has not stopped some from being great computer scientists. They had amazing abilities…

Louis Braille: a binary representation of characters

imageWhen the blind Louis Braille invented Braille as a way to enable blind people to read, he also invented the world’s first widely used binary representation of characters. The same idea now underpins the way all computers store characters.

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Nikola Tesla: Alternating Current and lots more

imageNikola Tesla was a prolific inventor. Perhaps his greatest success was to win the argument over whether A/C or D/C was better for transmitting electricity over his great rival Thomas Edison. There is a strong chance he was on the autistic spectrum. He was certainly obsessive and had an affliction where he would see flashes of light and visions.

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Herman Hollerith: punch cards and a special company

imageHerman Hollerith had learning difficulties but it didn’t stop him inventing machines that used punch cards to store data. He founded a company to make and sell his machines. It was called IBM, the company that helped propel us into the computer age.

Johanna Lucht: a NASA engineer

Johanna Lucht is a deaf engineer at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center. She works on complex aerodynamic projects. She became the first deaf engineer to work in mission control during an active crewed mission.

Satoshi Tajiri: creator of Pokemon

Satashi Tajiri, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, combined his childhood love of collecting insects with his love of video games and skill at electronics and computer science to create the biggest money-making media franchise of all time.

Paul Taylor: telecommunication devices for the deaf

Paul Taylor was deaf. Before text messaging, he pioneered the invention of teleprinters – devices to help the deaf communicate – which allowed text-based messages to be sent over telephone lines. He also invented the first telephone relay systems for the deaf, making it possible for a deaf person to have a phone conversation with a non-deaf person.

More to come (of course)

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