7 Ways Technology Makes A Difference To People With Disability

Today, people with disability no longer consider themselves helpless. Apart from special education and employment programs, a lot of people with disability are choosing to become independent. These 7 technologies help them become just that.

Google's Driverless Car

A driverless car still in development by Google could transform safe transportation for not just the blind, but also for others with physical or mental disability. Using artificial intelligence, Google Street View and a complex setup of sensors and cameras mounted onto the car, this self driving car is a futuristic dream.

Robotic Prosthetic Arms

A highly sophisticated and functional prosthetic arm for soldiers and people with amputations is exactly what you may need. Lightweight, precise and completely customisable, this robotic art comes with modular components and is designed to suit the individuals dimensions and needs. The arm also features sensory feedback system that allows the wearer to use it like an ordinary arm.

Wheelchairs That Climb Stairs!

Self balancing wheelchairs that can climb stairs is a big step in making people with disability more independent. While there are numerous places that offer special wheelchair access, stairs continue to dominate most buildings. This particular wheelchair design is based on the Segway and offers complete independence and safety to the user. Sometimes it is even called the ATV of the wheelchair world!

Cars Designed for Blind Drivers

Engineer Dennis Hong is designing a special car that can be driven by visually impaired people. With the integration of cameras, sensors and multiple computer systems, the car is capable of observing the surroundings and offering alternative sensory input to guide the driver. Vibration signals through the seat or gloves in addition to alerts and alarms can make this a practical and safe alternative for the blind.

Advanced Cochlear Implants

Cochlear implants have been a boon to the hearing impaired. Acting more than just another hearing aid, the cochlear implant picks up audio through a microphone which is then beamed into a small device placed behind the ear. This signal is then converted to digital and sent to the implant. When received the device stimulates auditory nerves to provide clear, crisp hearing.

Personal Navigation Devices

For visually impaired people, travelling alone can be challenging. With the possibility of bumping into objects or people, getting disoriented and taking the wrong turn, personal navigation devices come to the rescue. With a small GPS device placed on the person, it creates an audio output with location and direction. Users can also save locations and directions for frequently used routes for future reference.

Eye Tracking Speech Systems

Eye tracking speech systems like the DynaVox EyeMax are indispensible tools in helping severely disabled people communicate. Ideal for individuals with cerebral palsy, paralysis and stroke victims who are temporarily or permanently limited in mobility, this system uses eye movements to create words, phrases and sentences. With a sophisticated tracking systems, users can interact with translated speech. The system also has a large database of common words and phrases that can be used with a few commands.