Written by Adrian Rubin
Disability can be anything–it can be in the form of a physical infirmity, difficulty to comprehend, or any other psychological condition that inhibits a person from functioning like a typical individual.
However, not all disabilities come without a solution. In fact, a lot of people with these conditions can depend on technology to make their lives easier. Some gadgets are built to help in communication, some in addressing mobility, and some to help assist in daily routines. This is what we call assistive technology, a fairly new industry in technology that aids people to do functional tasks.
In this post, we will be looking into five gadgets to help people with disabilities to succeed.
- Kenguru Electric Car
People in wheelchairs have been given the chance to drive cars–there are many modifications done on modern vehicles to be able to do this. However, there are disadvantages to driving a car in a wheelchair. Firstly, people need to collapse the wheelchair in order to enter the car and the wheelchair needs a space to be accommodated by the vehicle. These tasks can cost too much time and may be challenging if the person is by himself.
The Kenguru is made to address that problem. According to founder and CEO Ms. Stacy Zoern, this is a small electric car where drivers can still sit on their wheelchairs. Zoern suffers from muscular atrophy, and she invented this device to assist her in doing daily tasks. The car is considered a community car, which only drives at 25 miles per hour. The speed is considered the maximum for such types of cars. This assistive device will be available in the UK after all production and marketing tools are set.
- SMART Belt
The SMART Belt is meant to address the problems of people suffering from epilepsy. Epilepsy is a debilitative condition where sufferers can experience seizures anytime without warning. Aside from neural damage, the person might suffer from injuries if the seizures occur in a hazardous location.
The students from Rice University in Texas was able to invest the Seizure Monitoring and Response Transducer belt to help patients receive warning signs of seizures. The technology can also transmit messages to the patients’ guardians and caregivers. The SMART belt is in its development stages, but it said to be available for epileptic patients from ages six and above.
- Braille Smartphone
Embracing the new smartphone technology is quite difficult if you are visually impaired. Since new gadgets require a high degree of visual acuity, some people with visual impairments may be discouraged to use it.
However, an invention in 2011 changed all of this. Sumit Dagar, a TED Fellow was able to develop a phone with several grids of pins to help people input information in Braille format. They can also receive messages in the same manner. The pins form the shapes of the characters using the “Shape Memory Alloy” system. Sumit Dagar released the phone in 2013 and was originally priced for $185 in the market.
- Lucy 4 Keyboard
Lucy 4 Keyboard was made for people who have limited use of their extremities to use a computer. The person who uses the device can use a laser-pointer on a pair of glasses or a headband and then can select the keys using an upright keyboard.
Janine has cerebral palsy, a condition where there is an involuntary contraction of muscles in the body, which often causes immobility and even paralysis. She was able to create Lucy 4 Keyboard, in the hopes of helping other individuals like her. The Lucy 4 Keyboard is a convenient way for people with cerebral palsy to use a computer without feeling symptoms of fatigue.
- Google Glass
Google Glass was originally meant for people who want to stay in sync with all their gadgets at all times. It can operate through voice command on a visual tracking technology. However, an 18-year-old girl named Catalin Voss is in the works to create a facial recognition tool within the Google Glass platform.
The facial recognition tool is a great way to help people with Autism and related disorders. People with Autism find it hard to communicate as they see things differently compared to a typical individual. With a facial tracking device within Google Glass, they can be able to detect a face, find clues for emotions, and help them respond appropriately.
Technology indeed does work wonders for all people, including those with disabilities. As we move further in technological progression, it is a comforting thought to have that we as humans strive for inclusion in all our developments.
About Adrian Rubin
Adrian Rubin is an expert, enthusiast and a writer in the tech industry. His interest in technology began at an early age, and he eventually earned his Masters Degree in Computer Studies. At present, he is working as a freelance tech writer for many esteemed publications. You can visit his website here.