Assistive technology can help people with disabilities to live more independently, and makes the world a more inclusive place to live in. For example, although equipment like electric wheelchairs were a fantasy decades ago, they’re now commonplace.
Technology is moving at a rapid rate nowadays, and assistive technology is no exception. Here, we look at some of the latest innovations in the assistive tech universe.
The most innovative assistive technology
While some of these products are readily available on the market today, others are still in the development phase.
Read on for some of the most exciting innovations in assistive technology for people living with disability.
Braille smartwatches make wearables accessible via assistive technology
Smart watches are undeniably the most successful wearable tech item globally. Being able to take calls, read messages, and (obviously) tell the time makes it easier to live life on the go.
If you’re visually impaired, smart watches can be hard to operate. The dot watch, for example, is a lightweight smart watch with a braille interface. It allows you to tell time (up to seconds) and can connect to your smartphone to notify you of calls, messages, and more. Plus, its battery lasts up to 10 days. Check out the video for a live demonstration:
Other smartwatches monitor things like your heart rate, steps, and exercise goals. They’ve encouraged more people to be aware of their health and exercise needs. If you’re visually impaired and want a smartwatch to help you meet your exercise goals, there are several options.
These days, quite a few smart watches offer accessibility features like text to voice. Check out this article for detailed reviews of some of the best ones available. And while you’re at it, read our article on everyday gadgets which are useful for people with disabilities.
And if this has encouraged you to get a smart watch and start monitoring your own health, check out our tips on exercising with limited mobility.
Electric car for wheelchair users
Electric cars are becoming more popular as the world becomes more environmentally conscious. But for wheelchair users, electric cars have never really been a reality.
Kenguru is the world’s first electric car specifically designed for wheelchair users. It is controlled via a motorcycle like handle. It isn’t perfect, but it’s certainly innovative when it comes to the world of assistive technology.
Designed in Hungary, Kenguru can only carry one person and has a maximum speed of 45 km/h. It’s currently available in America and the UK, but not Australia.
We can’t wait to see this become a reality worldwide, and we hope that it gives rise to even more advanced electric cars for wheelchair users in the future. It’s huge step forward into wheelchair-accessible electric vehicles, and we love that.
Here’s Kenguru in action:
Assistive technology to interpret and translate sign language
A new technology called DeepASL aims to make it easier for those with hearing impairments to communicate with the rest of the hearing and speaking world. DeepASL uses a camera device to capture hand motions, and then translates it into sentences. Currently, it can only do American Sign Language to English translations. But who knows – maybe one day you’d be able to translate into multiple languages.
If you can’t quite imagine what it looks like, here’s a video:
Assistive technology for when you need someone to ‘be your eyes’
Be My Eyes is an app available for both Android and Apple. As the name suggests, it connects volunteers (who have sight) to visually impaired people. This way, people with sight lend their eyes to those with visual impairments to help them navigate everyday life more easily.
How does it work, exactly? A blind or visually impaired person requests assistance via the app. They’re then connected via live video call to a volunteer, who communicates directly with them to solve a problem and guides them on where to focus or turn their camera. The request for assistance could range from knowing whether to turn right or left at a street to checking whether your chicken has expired or not. So handy.
Currently, there’s nearly 5 million volunteers and over 300 000 visually impaired users. So, the odds of getting help are pretty good. Now that’s assistive technology at it’s best!
Don’t believe us? Watch the video to see more:
We’ve got you covered when it comes to “regular” assistive technology like wheelchairs, mobility scooters, and adapted cars. We offer customised insurance solutions to fit your needs, because we know that your mobility equipment is important to you.
Plus, did you know that we offer up to 25% off car insurance premiums for disability parking permit holders? Contact us now for a quote.
Over to you
Which of these innovations are you most excited by? Or do you have an idea for an app or device that you’d love to see in real life? Let us know in the comments.