How Technology is Helping People with Disability
According to a 2015 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 53 million people in the US live with disability, which translates into roughly one in every five people having an impairment. This is a significant section of our population, but is our infrastructure mindful of their needs? Are technological improvements made specifically to cater to the needs of the differently abled? Can technology help them lead a more comfortable life? The answer looks promising. There are various innovations that focus on assisting the disabled and making their life much easier!
Some Impressive Technological Improvements
These includes changes made to the basic infrastructure to accommodate people with special needs. Earlier, only parking spots were earmarked for the disabled, so that they could easily park their car without having to maneuver into tight spots. But today, along with reservation for parking, there are buildings are specially constructed to have special ramps and lifts along with staircases that allow easier access to wheelchairs or for people to climb easily without tripping or getting hurt.
There have been various advances in the transport sector as well. Not only does a majority of the public transport come with spaces on-board for wheelchairs, but wheelchairs themselves are getting major overhauls. There are wheelchair secure systems like Quantum, which now come as fully automatic wheelchair stations that are changing the face of public transport. They are not only ideal rear facing systems, but also support one touch processes that can be controlled from the dashboard, helping save time and making boarding of wheelchair bound passengers easier. This helps alleviate the trouble of finding a guide to help find a secure place on public transport. Also, there have been refinements in the wheelchair design, such that they can now even climb stairs like the ibot stair climbing wheelchair.
There have also been major developments in the ways cars are made. Innovations in this arena focus on making the vehicle disabled friendly not only for the differently abled passengers but also drivers. There are automatic ramps to help bring a wheelchair on board, adjustable seats, wide doors, modifiable hand and foot controls, automatic transmission among others. Rapid innovation and the possibility of self-driving cars for the masses in the near future will be a huge boon for the disabled population.
This essentially focuses on making the handling information related services on mobile phones and computers more convenient for people with disabilities. People suffering from mobility or hand coordination problems find it difficult to use computers, since they have trouble typing in instructions or messages. Along with special keyboards, technological innovations like the braille smart phones, Lucy 4 type signal keyboards, track ball kind of pointing devices have proved very helpful. A lot of apps related to navigation as well as those related to books are focusing on enhancing their audio interface so as to make it easier for visually impaired people to use these devices. There are also voice typing systems that convert speech into text and help specially-abled people operate tech items on their own.
Other Interesting Tech Advancements
There have been refinements in the field of robotic arms, which are now becoming more responsive and precise in their functionality. This will help people with handicaps become more independent. Deka robotic arms are being developed to handle high precision tasks like even peeling a grape!
There are also some helpful eating tools, such as Liftware, which helps stabilize spoons to avoid spillage for people with motion difficulties or other serious impairments like Parkinson’s disease.
For people who have difficulty in speaking and communicating, there are apps like Talk It, which help convert incoherent speech into words that can be understood by others.
Overall, technology, with its innovations, are helping make life easier for all segments of the population. With such advancements, a life of independence and easy access will be within reach for everyone!