Technology is proving to be a great equalizer for everyone with it’s impact across all walks of life. It has also lent a lent a helping hand for people with disabilities such as visual impairment, speech impairment, people with motion disabilities or disorders, etc. We are seeing a rapid rise in the development of products that are helping disabled people become active members of the society with increased accessibility.
Today we discuss some of the most revolutionary and promising technologies that are changing the lives of differently abled individuals and adding value to their lives.
Dot is a wearable that is also the world’s first Braille smartwatch. Dot is a practical solution that is more affordable than regular e-Braille devices, which may cost thousands, yet still works well for the blind. Dot helps the blind access messages, tweets, even books anywhere and at any time.
Technically, this tool functions with six dots on four cells found on the surface of the smartwatch.
These dots will raise or lower to form 4 letters in Braille at any time. It can connect via Bluetooth to any smartphone, then retrieve and translate the text (from an email or messaging app) into Braille for its owner.
The DynaVox EyeMax system gives individuals with paralysis, cerebral palsy and stroke victims the ability to participate in spoken communication using only their eyes. Using a sophisticated eye tracking system, users can interact with an on-screen keyboard, allowing them to enter words and phrases, which are then translated into spoken text via the device’s text-to-speech mechanism. In addition to the on-screen keyboard, the InterACCt language software on the device offers hundreds of pre-defined phrases and words, which can be selected from lists or chosen via pictures and scenes, making the device instantly accessible to young children and the mentally disabled who may be unable to grasp written language.
3. The Car for the Blind
Speaking of mobility for the blind, engineer Dennis Hong is developing a car that can actually be driven by the blind. The aim is to integrate several computer systems, sensors and cameras to observe the environment around the vehicle and provide alternate forms of sensory input, including sound and vibration
4. The DEKA Robotic Arm
Segway inventor Dean Kamen and his group of researchers didn’t stop at their stair-climbing wheelchair. Funded on a grant from the Department of Defense’s DARPA research agency, Kamen and his team were tasked with the job of creating a highly sophisticated, highly functional prosthetic arm for injured soldiers returning from the Middle East. The results are amazing — a less-than-eight-pound prosthetic arm with such precision and control that it can peel a grape. The arm supports a number of customizable controls and modular components, making it easy to tailor to the wearer’s individual needs, whether he requires only a hand or an entire arm and shoulder socket. Another promising feature of the arm is its sensory feedback system.
The iBot is a self-balancing, stair-climbing wheelchair for the physically disabled. Stairs are nearly everywhere, and navigating them in a traditional wheelchair is impossible. Enlisting the services of others to drag or carry you and your chair up those stairs is dangerous, inconvenient and often embarrassing. Using self-balancing technology similar to that found in the Segway, the iBot aims to change this by giving wheelchair-bound individuals the freedom to navigate any terrain. In short, this is the ATV of wheelchairs. Though it seems to be a truly revolutionary device, the iBot is currently not in production. We felt it was worth a mention anyway, due to its extreme potential, and we’re hopeful that we’ll one day see the return of the iBot to the market.