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10 Ways Tech Is Enabling the Disabled
Technology has long improved communication, movement, and everyday undertakings. For the disabled, however, it provides vital tools to accomplish tasks that once seemed impossible. Here are ten game-changing technologies seeking to better life for people with disabilities.
Be My Eyes is an iPhone app that allows blind users to request the services of a seeing person for day-to-day tasks. Volunteers can sign up to be notified when someone needs their help – for anything from reading expiration dates to sorting junk mail, all done via the iPhone’s camera.
Uber recently updated their app to be friendlier for their deaf and hard-of-hearing drivers. These drivers can turn on options for the app to flash when a new trip is requested and the ability to block voice calls to the driver, along with other features. However, it might be too little, too late, since Lyft has already attracted a significant deaf driver base.
For those with tremors – caused by Parkinson’s or other diseases – the simple act of raising a fork from the plate to their mouth can be stressful. Liftware is a stabilizing handle with accompanying utensil attachments; the handle steadies the utensil, so it shakes up to 70% less than the user’s hand, allowing them to eat comfortably.
Lantern hopes to use beacon navigation systems to help the blind navigate NYC’s convoluted subway system. Meanwhile, the app London Accessible is a guide to help wheelchair and walking aid users traverse the London Tube.
Sesame Enable is a smartphone for the mobility restricted – the phone is controlled with speech and gesture recognition technology, which detects head movements. Meanwhile, the Russian mobile app I.am.here was designed to facilitate communication for stroke victims; it uses Brain Computer Interface (BCI) to translate raw brain signals into human emotions, displaying them as simple phrases.
Power of Plasticity
Looking like a plastic lollipop attached to a pair of sunglasses, the BrainPort V100 intends for blind people to “see” via vibrations on the tongue. Meanwhile, MotionSavvy – which can be purchased as software or its own tablet – is a communication tool for the deaf. It features the fairly commonplace technology of speech to text translation. However, using cameras, it can also detect and translate sign language into speech.
Now go forth (and keep innovating).
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