We all use technology to improve our everyday lives. From using videoconferencing and virtual collaboration tools in order to work more closely and efficiently with clients and coworkers to using mobile apps like RedLaser to take pictures of product barcodes and comparison shop, we all benefit greatly and in various ways from advances and innovation in technology. So, it’s really nice to see this same advancement and innovation being applied to benefit those with disabilities. I was reading an article about several of these advancements, but found these to be the most notable:
Le Chal the haptic shoe for the visually impaired:
This is a sneaker designed by a researcher from Hewlett-Packard labs that has proximity sensors and GPS inside, which help guide the wearer to their desired destination. The user simply inputs where they want to go into their Smartphone, which communicates with the shoe via Bluetooth. The shoe then uses vibrations to direct the wearer (turn by turn) to their destination all while helping them avoid obstacles. This device isn’t yet on the market, but I imagine it will be very helpful when it is.
Touch screen brail:
This is a tablet application developed by students at Stanford University that allows the blind to read and type content on their device using vibrations in Braille patterns. Being that the application is designed for visually impaired users, the onscreen buttons calibrate based off of where the user places their fingers. As far as I can tell this hasn’t been released either as I was unable to find it on my iPad.
Robo-jockeys in Kebd:
This last one doesn’t exactly apply to people with disabilities, but it was interesting nonetheless. The link above is an image from REUTERS of a 6km camel race in Kebd where the camels are jockeyed by small robots instead of their human counterparts. This was a result of international pressure to reduce human trafficking as the camel owners were found to be perpetrators of buying small children to jockey the camels.
I love the power and potential of great ideas!
If you’ve run across any other technology like this let me know as I find it very fascinating. 🙂