Over a billion people worldwide need 1 or more assistive products and devices to support daily living and functioning. Assistive tech helps people live healthy and productive lives and increase participation in the labor and civic life. It also reduces exclusion and isolation of individuals with disabilities contributing to a reduced burden on the health system, families, and societies. Here are the latest assistive technologies that can help a broad range of people from children with disabilities to the elderly with infirmities or chronic diseases.
Enabling Children and Adults with Disabilities
Assistive technology helps those with handicap cope with their physical disabilities such as limited vision and hearing and learning difficulties. For example, children with cerebral palsy can benefit from AAC apps to improve communication and language comprehension. One of these special apps is MyTalkToolsMobile assisting users with communication issues say what they want using sequences of words, images, and sounds. For those with visual impairment, Orcam MyEye2 is a tiny device that is simply attached to any pair of eyeglasses. The reader reads all printed materials such as books, labels, menus, and so on. Using artificial vision technology, the device snaps up a photo of a text and reads it aloud assisting those with severe and low vision impairment to go about their daily life.
When it comes to physical mobility, WeWalk Smart Cane is a great tech advancement. Installed on top of canes, it is fitted with ultrasonic sensors that can detect elevated obstructions that people encounter such as tree branches, rocks, or street signs. It will vibrate to alert users and at the same time, it is possible to connect the smart cane to their phone to determine their location, guide them to different places, and even receive public transportation information.
Assisting The Elderly and Those with Chronic Diseases
Aging is a problem because cognitive and physical abilities are slowly deteriorating, In addition, they are likely to experience chronic diseases that have severe consequences on their physical and mental abilities. Disabilities, psychological disorders, poor cognitive functioning, communications problems, and mobility problems are some of the effects of aging and chronic diseases among the elderly and even younger groups.
Assistive and adaptive tech and devices can make life better for those experiencing the effects of aging and chronic diseases. Take KOMP, a one-button computer developed by a startup from Norway. It is designed for installation at the home of the elderly so that friends and family can communicate with them using a special app. When the user switches on the device, they can read messages, look at photos, or answer video calls. The main benefit of the device is that is easy to use requiring minimal input from operators.
For those on wheelchairs, Munevo has developed a pair of smart eyeglasses called Munevo Drive to assist them navigate their way using head movements. These movements are converted into signals to control the electric wheelchair. There is also a navigation menu that users can operate. In addition, it is possible to take pictures using its built-in camera, adjust seat positions, or even send emergency messages using the smart glasses.
Assistive tech and apps are evolving each day. From smart glasses to intuitive canes, technology helps in improving the mobility, functioning, and lives of people with disabilities and limitations.