Every few years, in a naturally challenging and beautiful area, the International No Barriers Summit brings together adventurers and nature lovers as well as innovators and scientists for an outdoor event unlike any other. Founded in 2003 by a group of friends who shared a passion for exploring nature, No Barriers works to help disabled people become more active. The No Barriers Summit combines hands-on learning clinics, product demonstrations, nature excursions, entertainment, and keynote addresses.
Attendees have challenges that range from physical disabilities (Missing limbs, blind, deaf, etc.) to mental disabilities (Developmental problems, autism, learning problems) to challenges simply due to weight or age, really anything that could be an obstacle. Clinics will be held in hiking, fishing, mountain biking, kayaking, and more.
Because the clinics are for disabled and challenged people, innovative technology will be put to use in order for those people to participate. Summit attendee Neil Duncan tells me that Erik Weihenmayer, one of the founders of No Barriers USA, is likely to present some technology to help blind people 'see': the images from a camera on a pair of glasses are sent to a computer chip which converts them into electronic signals, then sent to a sensor on the tongue that vibrates lightly in certain ways, allowing the wearer to get a basic idea of where things are. This technology is what helped Weihenmayer become the only blind person to ever climb Mt. Everest. Such devices and many more will be showcased by vendors during another part of the Event.
Duncan, a friend of Weihenmayer's, served in the army for five years. At one point, the truck he was in was hit by an explosive, taking both of Duncan's legs. Now, having two prosthetic legs, Duncan is very active-he runs, plays golf, and has climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro in Africa.
In addition to two legs for general activity, Duncan has a set for running. The running set has "A large carbon fiber hook at the end that provides the spring [normally given] when the ball of your foot leaves the ground," Says Duncan.
Previously held in Italy, California, and Florida, the No Barriers Summit will take place in Winter Park, Colorado between June 30th and July 3rd. If you wish to attend this year's No Barriers Summit, register by June 20th at www.NoBarriersUSA.org, for a fee of $75.