Freedom Machines takes a new look at disability through the lens of assistive technology. The experiences of a group of unforgettable people let us re-examine ideas about ability and disability grounded in our culture and attitudes. Engineers, designers and users challenge barriers inherent in our built environments, and reveal the gap between the promises of the 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act and everyday reality for 54 million Americans with disabilities. Whether mainstream technology or extraordinary inventions such as stair-climbing wheelchairs, Freedom Machines reveals both the power and limitations of technology to change lives.
From death on the streets of Crown Heights to director Steven Spielberg's controversial visit to a predominantly black high school in East Oakland, the film resists simple analysis and treads provocatively on the fault lines of racial coalition and conflict.