At home in the modern world
January/February 2017 magazine edition
Leveling the Playing Field
From wearable sensors to accessibility apps, smart technology is transforming the lives of seniors and people with disabilities.
Advances in technology are meant to make us more productive and efficient. But for some users, technology doesn’t just make life more convenient; it changes the game entirely. By focusing on the individual’s abilities, specially devised devices as well as familiar apps are helping break down the physical, social, and attitudinal barriers that have traditionally made access to state-of-the-art tools and insurmountable challenges. Here are some innovative solutions designed to leave no one behind.
THINK OUT LOUD
WHO: People with autism, cerebral palsy, ALS, and other verbal communication challenges
WHAT: The Smartstones team is developing a groundbreaking way to give a voice to those unable to speak by connecting the company’s: prose mobile app to EMOTIV’s wireless EEG headset or a handheld sensory device to translate movements and brain waves into spoken phrases and commands.
WHO: Wheelchair users and people with mobility challenges
WHAT: With the Access Earth app, wheelchair users can locate and rate accessible locations and share that information with other Access Earth users.
SIGN OF THE TIMES
WHO: People communicating with users of sign language.
WHAT: Graduates of Gallaudet University in Washington, D.C., developed the ASL App to introduce and teach conversational American Sign Language (ASL). Dubbed “ASL for the people,” the program aims to bring together the Deaf and the hearing communities with more than 800 signs, as well as instructional videos and useful phrases.
WHO: Those with dementia, memory loss.
WHAT: The GreyMatters tablet app is a customizable interactive storybook designed to stimulate memories, encourage communication, and improve quality of life for those with dementia and their loved ones. Accompanied by voice narration and favorite music selections and games, it allows users and caregivers to relive personal experiences by uploading and storing photos.
Article by: Kelly Vencill Sanches (Dwell Magazine – January/February 2017)