Technology has helped people a lot and resulted in much advancement in the world. Now people can talk with others far away using a phone, read hundreds of books in one kindle, find the directions to their destination on online maps and so much more. Since technology is a tool for helping people, it stands to reason that disabled people are not neglected and technology also helps them in leading a better life.
One billion people, which constitutes 15% of the world’s population, are disabled in some form or another and so many tech devices help these people improve their living quality. These devices may help the blind read or help the deaf hear or support those without arms and legs in some form or another. So let’s see 10 tech devices that have helped people with disabilities to overcome their difficulties and get assistance so that they can live life to the fullest!
Liftware provides stabilizing and leveling handles on utensils such as spoons which ensure that people with hand tremors (caused by diseases such as Parkinson’s disease) can easily eat without dropping their food. Liftware was developed by Verily which uses cutting edge technology on the intersection of Data Science and Medical Healthcare to work on diseases and other medical problems that stop people from living more comfortable and healthier lives. Liftware handles in utensils use sensors to detect the tremors and then two motors in the handle move it in the opposite direction from the tremor to stabilize the utensil. Liftware is a very important invention for the people with these diseases as it allows them to live a dignified life without continuously being a burden on anybody else.
Dot is a braille smartwatch for people with blindness. You can access all the common smartwatch functions using Dot such as Time and Date, Timer Alarm Clock, Stopwatch, etc. using just your sense of touch with braille. When you receive a call on your smartphone, you can check who called you as the name is displayed in braille. And if that’s your friend, you can pick the call immediately while if it’s your boss on the weekend, you could ignore the call! You can also connect your braille smartwatch to any smartphone using Bluetooth and read texts like emails, messages, etc. using braille.
3. Finger Reader
Finger Reader is a ring-like device that allows blind people to read text on paper or online without needing braille. It contains a small camera that scans the words that it is pointed towards while the blind person wears it like a ring and points it using their finger. After the Finger Reader has read the text, it then says those words out loud in real-time so that the reader can hear words continuously while they are pointing their finger. It also notifies when it has reached the start of a line, end of a line, etc. or when the reader is pointing too far away from the words by vibrating. The developers of the Finger Reader are also planning to use it as a language-translation tool in the future wherein people can read the text in a language and get audio translation simultaneously in another language.
4. Sesame Phone
Sesame is a Google Nexus 5 smartphone that can be operated without touching it. It was created specifically for people that are unable to use their arms and so cannot operate a normal smartphone. Users can open the Sesame Enable app on the smartphone by saying “Open Sesame” like Alibaba opened the cave! After this, the phone uses facial recognition to identify the key points on the user’s face. And then, facial expressions can be used to move the cursor on the phone and do different things. For example: If you want to move the cursor to the right, then turn your head right and the navigation icon appears if you stop turning your head which can be used to perform different activities.
Uni is a device that helps the deaf communicate with other people who can’t use sign language. In such a situation, the deaf person won’t be able to hear what the other person is saying and the other person won’t be able to express themselves in sign language. This is where Uni comes in! Uni uses two cameras to read the hand movements of a deaf person’s sign language and converts it into a 3D form. Then the software converts these movements into English words that are spoken by an artificial voice so that the other speaker can hear them. Uni also converts the speaker’s speech into a textual form using voice recognition so that the deaf person can read what the speaker was saying. Currently, Uni can understand around 300 words in addition to the alphabet but its developers are working on expanding its library.
Ava is an app that makes it possible for deaf people to participate in real-life group conversations that happen around them. Normally a deaf person can interact with another person by using sign language, text messages, lip-reading, etc. But what if multiple people are talking together in a group. In that case, it is very difficult for the deaf person to follow the conversation by any method. That’s where Ava is helpful! It uses the microphone in each person’s phone and converts what they are saying the group conversation into text so that the deaf person can read it. Ava also marks each speaker’s text in a different color, just like a group messaging chat room. This makes it very easy for the deaf person to follow the conversation and know who is talking and saying what.
Voiceitt helps provide a voice that is easily understandable to people with speech disabilities caused by medical conditions such as Autism, Cerebral Palsy, Brain Injury, Stroke, Autism, Parkinson’s Disease, etc. It is very different for these people to make others understand them using speech, and that’s where Voiceitt comes in! It recognizes the user’s speech patterns and learn’s the way they talk. Then it translates their words so that they are easily understandable by others. And what’s more, Voiceitt is usable with any language whether it be English, French, Japanese, Elvish, Dwarvish or anything else!
8. Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes is an app that helps blind people by connecting them to sighted people via a video call so that they can “be their eyes!”. In case a blind person needs some help like reading their milk’s expiry date, distinguishing different colors, etc. they can video call volunteers using Be My Eyes who will then communicate with them and help in solving their problem. Volunteers will get video calls for help and if they are busy or not able to assist at the moment, then the cal will be forwarded to some other volunteer so that they can help.
9. AXS Map
AXS Map is a map that displays all the handicapped and disabled accessible locations such as wheelchair ramps, wheelchair-accessible restrooms, etc. that are available in any particular region. This map is powered by normal users that can update all the disability-friendly places they observe and also add ratings and reviews of whether these places were up to the mark. This means that other disabled people can also view what places are friendly for them in their vicinity or when they travel and they can add their reviews later. This makes AXS Map a network for disabled people that can help then where the Google Map cannot!
Assist-Mi is an app that helps disabled people by connecting them to caregivers and volunteers who can assist whenever needed. In case a disabled person needs some help while going to work, going shopping, while traveling, etc. then Assist-Mi connects them to caregivers using Mi-Profile which specifies the type of help needed. Assist-Mi also has two-way communication which allows the volunteers to talk about the help needed and it also provides the GPS for better location information of the disabled person so that the caregiver can physically travel there easily.