The digital age has made things both more easy and more difficult. For most of us, digital technology has made our lives a little bit easier; we can find almost anything we need on the internet and we sure love our mobile phones. For others, however, specifically those who are not very computer savvy, living in the digital age might prove a daily challenge.
The same also applies to people with disabilities. For many, the rise of digital technologies has opened up a world of possibilities. Take our programmers here at Enablecode, for example. For them, IT is a great sector to be employed in; working with computers is non-physical work for which they do not have to be mobile. For others, however, computers and other digital devices are less accessible. To list but a few examples, people whose upper body is paralyzed generally cannot operate a computer and people who are blind obviously cannot read what is on the screen. Even for them, though, digital technologies actually provide many amazing opportunities. Here we will list a few.
The DynaVox EyeMax System is a speech-generating device, which allows people with limited or no fine motor skills and who are unable to speak, to communicate, simply by using their eyes. The device’s camera tracks the user’s eye movements. The user can select words either by blinking or by looking at the desired word for several seconds.
Similar to the DynaVox EyeMax System, the KinesicMouse allows people who are unable to use their hands to access computers, simply by moving their head in front of a special camera. The camera contains a sensor and therefore no head-mounted devices are required to use the technology. The KinesicMouse is so advanced that it can even be used for computer gaming.
BRACI is a mobile application, which increases safety and comfort for people who are deaf or hard-of-hearing. The app lets you record important sounds in your home and environment, such as fire alarms or doorbell and, through vibrations and visuals, alerts you when it registers these sounds.
LOMAK stands for Light-Weight Operated Mouse And Keyboard and was designed for people who have limited use of or are unable to use their upper limbs or for some other reason are unable to use a regular keyboard. The keyboard is operated by a small laser-pointer. People can use either a head-pointer or a hand-pointer and operate the keyboard by directing the pointer at the desired key. In 2007, the LOMAK keyboard was awarded gold in the International Design Excellence Awards.
The Braille EDGE 40 is a braille display, a device that can be attached to a computer and which converts text on the screen into braille. Aside from enabling blind people to use computers, the Braille EDGE 40 also has features of a notetaker. Features include a notepad, a calendar, an alarm function, a calculator, a stopwatch and a timer. This device is available not only in English, but in many other languages as well.
DOT is the world’s first braille smartwatch. The watch tells time obviously, but it also allows the wearer to read texts in braille, provides directions and, while perhaps not the most convenient, can even be used to read e-books, among many other features. DOT’s inventors say that they are currently in the process of designing a DOT pad, as well.
Jouse3 is yet another assistive technology that enables people with limited or no use of their arms to use a computer or mobile device. This system is not like most other assistive technologies, though. Jouse3 is a joystick, which the user controls with their mouth. “Mouse clicks” are indicated through short sips and puffs into the joystick.
While most of these devices are extremely expensive, and therefore unfortunately out of reach for many people, we’ve got to admit, they’re pretty cool!
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