In today’s technological age, we get to do so many things. We can drive, we can access the internet at the tip of our fingers – we can even talk to our phones and computers and have them talk back! We take the ability to drive, to pick up a phone, to type an email, and a variety of other things as granted. But for some people they aren’t. There are those of us who for any reason cannot see, cannot hear, cannot walk, cannot talk, or may even be unable to move their limbs. Before, these people were often left without the ability to do certain things on their own. They relied on others for so many things that we take for granted every day! We don’t realize just how much Technology can help people. Here a few ways to see just how useful it is!
Orally Controlled objects.
This is a really amazing new piece of technology that is meant for quadriplegics. This technology allows a quadriplegic to control things by using their mouths and any head movement they have. For example, if someone unable to use their hands or feet wanted to surf the internet – previously, they would have needed to get help for this task to click buttons, etc. Now, with an orally controlled mouse, they are able to do this independently. Similar technology allows them to drive their own wheelchair, or dial a phone. It gives them some of their independence back!
Vocal and Auditory cues.
This is probably one of my favorites. For those who cannot see, or cannot move limbs – this is also amazingly helpful. We take voice dial for granted on our phones. However, with the glass screens of modern phones, a blind person may not be able to use a phone like that if not for voice commands and Spoken responses. With this, you can know who is calling, tell a phone who you want to call, look something up, etc. It’s even great when people need to make a call on the road! In addition, this same principal can be applied to a computer as well. It may take a program download or some settings changes, but once it is set up, these people are good to go!
For those who cannot hear, life can be difficult. This isn’t because deafness is a debilitating disability. In many ways, it is one of the most easily functional disabilities. People with hearing loss are still able to cook by themselves, still able to drive, still able to participate in class. Instead, it has different hardships – social isolation because of lack of hearing, possibly scary incidences when trying to follow directions in a busy place, not being able to hear things and being made fun of – deafness is not an easy disability to live with either and requires help too. They have technology to allow house lights to flash at the sound of a doorbell. Conversations can be converted into text on a phone, or video calling is a perfect option. Signs at crosswalks letting pedestrians know to walk – any type of assistive technology not only makes our lives easier, but can make a world of difference to those who use them every day.