Those that know me will know that I’m a technologist. I work for the research group at a bluechip FTSE 100 company, and so I’m immersed for better or worse in the fast paced tech industry. Even though I’m more of an early admirer than an early adopter, I none-the-less keep my ear to the ground when it comes to all things tech.
You’ll also know that I have a daughter with a learning disability. Early intervention and progressive therapies mean that the prospects for a mostly-independent life for those with her condition have never been better. However, realistically, her disability could mean that certain things that we all take for granted; riding a bike, driving a car and so on, may prove difficult or unobtainable— though of course we still aspire that they may happen.
One revolution, that I think is waiting to happen is the convergence of healthcare and technology, and I’m excited at the prospect of this changing my daughter’s life. Take for example self-driving cars; many can’t understand the necessity of them, but for my daughter they might mean that independent transportation is within her grasp. Civil liberty groups worry about the tracking infrastructure in the cloud and big-brother knowing where people are all the time, but this might be just what my daughter needs to have independence with an element of structure.
Another example of tech that could transform her life are wearables. They’re currently seen as a fad for rich kids, but, they could easily be used for making her life that little bit easier. They’re accessible (always on your wrist), could have an easy to access interface (if we think beyond the current smartphone shrink obsession), and could be used to alert and communicate with the wearer to keep track of those superfluous things that fill up our minds (appointments, directions, shopping lists and so on).
These technologies wouldn’t just change the lives of people with a LD, but also those with dementia, the elderly and so on. I’m not seeing enough focus in this area currently, but given another decade I’d predict that we’ll see this technology explode into healthcare and social care.
I for one am looking forward to seeing what we can do to make things easier and more obtainable for all and how that improves people’s lives. I’m interested to find out what you think?