‘Right to Communication’ is enshrined in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights as one of the most fundamental human right, but not all of us get the privilege of exercising this basic right to express and communicate. Certain physical and cognitive disorders make it impossible for nearly 1 billion people to communicate effectively. Imagine being able to think, feel, observe, and yet, not be understood. How would you feel if your freedom of expression was curtailed in such a manner?
On the bright side, however, there are people who are actively working to change the status quo with breakthrough innovations in assistive technology. On the occasion of this National Technology Day, let’s jot down some of the most useful technological inventions that hold the potential to significantly transform the lives of the specially-abled amongst us.
Assistive Technology for the Differently-Abled
1. Wearable technology
Lechal Smart Shoes: It’s like using GPS to navigate, but without looking at your smartphone. Lechal Smart Shoes are designed to be those helping hands that aid the visually-impaired in navigating through the world. For instance, one vibration on the left foot tells the user to take a left turn, while two vibrations on the right and one on the left notify a wrong turn.
Assistive Vision Smart Glasses: Built to help people with vision impairment, these smart glasses consist of 2 small cameras, GPS, gyroscope, headphones, compass, and a transparent OLED display. Using these hi-tech glasses, the blind can easily walk around unfamiliar places and identify obstacles on the way.
Vaakya: An app for the speech and hearing impaired, the Vaakya app works on the AAC (augmentative and alternate communication) principle. It is a picture-based app for Android smartphone users that also works in offline mode. With customisation as its core feature, it allows users to record full sentences in any language and associate them with a picture. It also allows to create multiple user accounts for the patient as well as the caregiver. Download here: http://bit.ly/2lLag23
Eye-D: The Eye-D app for the visually-challenged allows smartphones to talk back. The app offers features that make the blind person aware of his surroundings, navigate easily, and read out printed text. It helps the users function in a better way, by meeting most of their daily assistance needs.
3. Mobility Devices
Skinniest Disability Scooter: A four-wheeled scooter designed for the disabled, the Skinniest Disability Scooter works the same as any other scooter, but with added features and convenience for the specially-abled. It’s like a motorised wheelchair that helps the disabled navigate through traffic at the top speed of 10 miles per hour. With a canopy and lockable doors, it provides safety and comfort while riding out on the road.
Assistive Cars (Turn Plus): Making cars accessible for persons with physical disabilities, Turn Plus seats can be easily installed in any car. The mechanism of these seats allow flexibility for specially-abled persons, without interfering with the vehicle’s structure and functioning.
4. Assistive Devices
Braille eReader: A Kindle-style reader that helps the blind and partially-sighted indulge in the pleasures of reading. It also helps them understand graphics, figures and graphs.
Sesame Smartphone: Normal smartphones are not equipped with features to assist people with special needs, but the Sesame Smartphone is. Its front facing camera captures even the smallest of head movements, keeping gesture recognition at its core. Voice control too is an integral part of this smartphone, giving a hands-free experience to the user.
By empowering those with special needs, technology as an assistive companion has made lives far more comfortable and convenient. Apart from raising their quality of life, such technological advancements aid inclusion and equality by attempting to level the playing field.
If you’re aware of any such tech inventions that can help change lives of the specially-abled, share with us. Let’s help each other live better.