Tech solutions helping people with disabilities

One of my previous posts was about how technology is killing education. I might be sceptical about it sometimes, but as a person who barely remembers life before computers and smartphones, I definitely see the bright side of technology too.

To me, the best usage of technology or gadgets is not making our lives more interesting or even easier, but helping people in need. Below I’ll present some of the best (in my humble opinion) solutions for disabled people.

  • Liftware

I came across a movie about Liftware during one of many hours spent on scrolling my Facebook feed. I instantly fell in love with the solution, it’s brilliant and really helpful. It’s a handle to which you can attach utensils like fork or spoon. It’s designed for people with Parkinson or other diseases causing hand tremors. The main idea behind is counteracting unwanted movements so that the person can eat with ease and dignity. Take a look at the video below to understand how brilliant this is:

  • Talkitt

Another, truly amazing solution is Talkitt. It’s a software that helps people with speech and language disorders communicate with others. It can be run on any computer, smartphone or tablet and works for all languages! It first learns pattern speechs and then identifies what the person is saying and translates it so that others can understand.

Speech is one of the most important parts of being a human. It’s said that speech and thought are two things that make us distinct from animals. That’s why the need of being understood is huge and Talkitt helps people finally get that.

  • UNI

Speaking of helping people communicate, there are more oustanding solutions. UNI helps deaf and speech-impaired people communicate with others. It detects sign language (thanks to the camera installed in the device) and converts it to text. Thanks to that other people can understand a meaning of given signs. The second functionality is converting speech into signs. Thanks to that, UNI provides two-way communication.

It’s not only an amazing solution, but also inspiring story, as the whole company is deaf. Watch to see how it works:

  • Braille Edge 40 & Lechal shoes

The last two solutions are designed for visually impaired people. The first one, Braille Edge 40, is a device helping blind people control their smartphones or computers. It’s connected by Bluetooth or USB port and it converts text into Braille. Producer describes it as follows: ‘Braille EDGE 40 contains 2 four-way navigation keys and 8 function keys (Escape, Tab, Control, Alt, Shift, Insert, Windows and Applications) combining the convenience of entering text in Braille with the intuitive functionality of a PC keyboard.’ Finally blind people are not technologically-excluded!

Another deivce worth mentioning are Lechal shoes. These are GPS-enabled sneakes that ‘navigate’ a blind person by vibrating (to give a correct direction). The shoes can be connected via Bluetooth and are compatible with most of iOS and Android versions. They can be synced with Google apps and navigate you to any given location. To me, being blind in a city must be terrifying. Leachal shoes seem to make the world a little less scary.

I truly admire technology that makes people’s lifes better. Disabilities often lead to exclusion, both technological and social. Seeing people invent such devices and softwares gives a lot of hope that developing technology won’t destroy us, but will really help.

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Katarzyna Zalewska

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