How Technology Is Helping People With Disabilities

Assistive technology is an umbrella term, used for technology that enables people with medical disabilities to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish.  The emergence of mobile “assistive” technologies that work with the best wireless router technology has unlocked unprecedented new possibilities for communication, navigation, and independence of the disabled.  There are many apps and gadgets that can help ease the difficulties of people with disabilities like visual impairment, speech impairment, and motion disorders, on a daily basis. In this post, we will be telling you about some of these gadgets and apps.

Top Trends in Wireless Technology For Modern Lifestyle

This Infographic – Top Trends in Wireless Technology Communication Devices – Was Created By Thetrustcompass.com

Refreshable Braille Displays

Refreshable braille displays use electromechanically controlled pins to convey information. They do this using software that gathers a Web page’s content and converts the words and images into a digital version of braille. It then represents the text with a touchable row of finger-size rectangular cells, lined up side by side, like dominoes. Each cell has six or eight small holes through which rounded pins can extend, and retract, to represent various braille characters. Each time a person reads the row of braille with his fingers (left to right) the pin configurations refresh to represent the next line of a Web page’s text, and so on.

Dot

Dot is the world’s first Braille smartwatch. It’s a wearable solution that is more affordable than e-Braille display devices. With the aid of Dot, blind people can access messages, tweets, and even books, and it syncs via Bluetooth to smartphones to retrieve and translate the text from an email, into Braille, for its wearer.

Talkitt

Talkitt is an innovative voice app which helps enable people with speech, language, and motor-skill disorders to communicate easily using their own voice. It translates unintelligible pronunciation into understandable speech, so we can understand what they meant to say, despite the speech impediment. Talkitt works by learning the speaker’s speech pattern and creating its own personal dictionary. Thus, it can work in any language.

Sesame Phone

Regular mobile phones are not equipped for the needs of people with limited mobility and motor skills. The Sesame Phone, a touch-free smartphone that is specially designed for people with disabilities, helps them access all the features of a smartphone, without even touching this device. Gestures are recognized as if you were using a finger to operate it: swipe, browse, play and more. Voice control is also added to provide a real hands-free experience on the phones. This phone is designed to be used with small head movements, tracked by its front-facing camera.  

UNI

UNI is a two-way communication tool for the deaf, and it uses gesture and speech technology. It’s equipped with voice recognition software that converts speech into text. This tool works by detecting hand and finger gestures with its specialized camera algorithm, then converting it to text in very short time, to provide meaning to a given sign language. UNI also has a sign builder that can help the user create his own sign-language.

Finger Reader

The Finger Reader is a wearable tool to help read text. It has two functions: to help the visually impaired read printed text in a book or on an electronic device, and also to be used as a language translation tool.

A user can wear this device on a finger and then point it to a body of text, one line at a time. The small camera on the Finger Reader will scan the text and give real-time audio feedback of the words it detects. It also notifies the reader via vibrations when it is at the start of a line, end of a line, moving to a new line, or when the user is moving too far away from the text baseline.

BeMyEyes

BeMyEyes is an interactive app that can help blind people “see” the world. It works on a network of volunteers from around the world, who connect with the blind in order to give whatever help they require. It is an easy way to ask for help for simple tasks like checking on the expiry date on a milk carton. Volunteers receive requests for help, and if they are available, the request triggers a video call to volunteers so they can help the user.

AXS Map

Many public sites are not equipped with facilities for the disabled, like wheelchair-accessible restrooms. AXS Map is a crowd-sourced map that carries information and star-ratings about wheelchair-accessible ramps and restrooms in public places such as restaurants, hotels, shopping malls and more.

Transcence

Transcence is a great phone app for the deaf, especially applicable in group conversations. The deaf can communicate via one-on-one conversations using sign language or lip-reading, but not in a group-discussion. This is where Transcence comes into use. During a conversation or discussion, the app uses the microphone of each participant’s smartphone and catches what they are saying. It then converts the sounds into text in real time. Each speaker has its corresponding text bubble, differentiated by color, just like what one would find in a regular group messaging chat room.

Liftware

Liftware is a self-stabilizing handle which can be fixed on an eating apparatus such as a fork or a spoon. Liftware helps reduce the spilling of contents from the utensil before food reaches the patient’s mouth, by stabilizing up to seventy percent of the shaking or disruption. It’s very helpful for patients suffering from Parkinson’s disease or other forms of motion disorders that cause hand tremors.

Each Liftware comes with the stabilizing handle, a charger, and three utensils- a spoon, fork and soup spoon. Each charge can last for several meals, and the handle can be wiped down while the spoons and fork can be washed like a normal utensil.

Assist-Mi

Assist-Mi is an assistance application that helps disabled people to get assistance in real-time. It basically connects service providers and caregivers with the disabled who may need their assistance at a moment’s notice. Services include help in getting to work, to go shopping for essentials or for travel. It works on a registration based data-source.

bTizzy.com – a new website for people with disabilities a guestpost from Vanessa López-Kopp


For the past year, we’ve been really busy.

bTizzy
bTizzy

Upgrading. Expanding. Shifting. Building. Facelifting. Renaming.
Some of you knew us as OUT OF STEP. We’ve shed that skin and are now called bTizzy. All the work we’ve been doing has put us in a, yep, you guessed it: a Tizzy. When we were brainstorming names, bTizzy seemed to best reflect the new direction we were headed.

More specifically, it has an attitude about it. What we are trying to do is shift the paradigm and existing perceptions about the disability community. We are leaving the pity party behind. We are embracing a more open dialog, fostering community, speaking to issues, passions and yes, frustrations, too: all the things that make up the diverse lifeblood of our population. And most critically, we aim to increase the economic power of people with disabilities (PWD).


Toward that end, bTizzy.com has an array of offerings that are about and for disability. A few highlights:

• K-TIZ RADIO. With four shows covering every corner of disability, we’re putting the mic in front of the movers and shakers as well as everyday advocates and heroes in our world.

• FORUM. We want to get people talking. And helping. Whether it’s finding a new apartment or a friend, the key is connecting.

• KNOW. This area is a vital resource for PWD. Legal, medical, events, relevant articles, it’s all here for you to know. And learn.

• SHOP. Products and Services by PWD have a new marketplace: bTizzy.com. Commercial success is critical to our success. And yours. Our goal is to level the economic playing field. To help disabled people become financially independent. To thrive.

We welcome you to stick around and check out the new digs.

We welcome your feedback. Post what you think about us, about the current state of disability, about your latest triumphs – whatever you are impassioned about — in our FORUM.

We welcome [and would be most grateful for] your social engagement online: spread the word, tell your friends and colleagues, post away. Communication is everything. We want folks to join the conversation. We’re at our best when we’re engaged.

We welcome you to bTizzy.com.

We welcome you to Get Into One.

 

bTizzy is a one-stop shop for all things disability.  From product and service offerings made by people with disabilities (PWD) to an extensive information hub featuring radio, community services and invaluable references, bTizzy’s ultimate mission is to increase economic opportunities and create positive social change for PWD.  

Join the conversation at: bTizzy.com

4 Essential Water Safety Tips for Parents of Kids with Disabilities – a guest post from Patricia Sarmiento


Every child should get to experience the joy of swimming. It’s an excellent

4 Essential Water Safety Tips for Parents of Kids with Disabilities
4 Essential Water Safety Tips for Parents of Kids with Disabilities

physical activity with proven mental health benefits as well. While every parent should educate their child on water safety, parents of children with disabilities must take extra precautions.

I recently read a statistic from the National Autism Association that drowning is a leading cause of death for autistic children. That was startling, and it got me thinking about what precautions my neighbors and I should be taking to help protect the children with special needs in our neighborhood this summer.

So, where to start? First, I wanted to educate myself about general water safety. I recommend this overview resource on swimming safety for all parents. It touches on a wide variety of topics related to water safety. Then, I did some research to try and figure out the biggest areas of concern for children with disabilities. Here are a few essential tips:

Look for an adaptive life jacket. This great video from Safe Kids Worldwide is full of tips and addresses the needs of children with different types of disabilities. Its information on the importance of finding the right adaptive life jacket for your child is especially helpful.


Always be within arm’s reach. Danger in the water can pop up for any child in a heartbeat. Because some children’s disabilities may prevent them from protecting themselves, as May Institute notes, a parent or caregiver should always be close by when they’re in or around the water, even when the child is wearing a life vest.

Know what to look for in a swim program. As BrightHubEducation.com points out, swimming has many physical and cognitive benefits for children with disabilities. The article also explains how to take advantage of those benefits by finding a swim class that works for your child. It recommends looking for small classes with an experienced, trained leader.

Double check barriers. Pool fences are an important way to protect all children. Neapolitan Family Magazine suggests taking it a step further and using an alarm system that will alert you when someone has breached the area.

Time in the water can be extremely beneficial and enjoyable for children with disabilities. By following these tips, parents can feel confident in taking their child for a swim and everyone can truly enjoy the summer.

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Patricia Sarmiento is a health and fitness buff. She loves blogging about health, wellness, fitness, and other health-related topics. A former high school and college athlete, she makes living an active lifestyle a goal for her and her family. She lives with her husband, two children, and their shih tzu in Maryland.