Technology is designed to make life easier. From banking apps to selfie sticks, innovative ideas from big tech companies and small startups alike have made daily life infinitely more simple for the average person. However, with all this advanced tech flying off the shelves for the everyday consumer, it's important to remember a population that would benefit from the tech more than most: those with disabilities.
Fortunately, there is a lot of tech out there designed to make our connected world a little more accessible for everyone.
Whether you're sight-impaired, immobile, or hard-of-hearing, a little technology can go a long way in making everyday tasks a whole lot easier. From sign language translators to braille smart watches, the tech world is doing its best to make the digital world more accessible to those with disabilities.
The Dot Watch
In a world teeming with visual online stimuli, being blind or sight-impaired can mean missing out. From push notifications to text messages, the connected life we lead is highly reliant on the ability to see. While audio options are available, privacy comes in to question for those more sensitive topics. Fortunately, there's a more subtle approach for the visually impaired, thanks to the Dot Watch.
This innovative smart watch has a braille touch display and a slim, stylish design. It uses 24 dots for a wide array of functions, connecting to a smartphone through Bluetooth.
Whether it's checking social media, utilizing GPS, or even controlling your smart home, this watch can make life easier and more enjoyable. You can even send messages with the two buttons on the side of the Dot Watch, giving better connectivity to users.
The Dot Watch costs $359 and comes in large or small sizes.
American Sign Language has helped many deaf and mute people to communicate from day-to-day. Unfortunately, only about half a million people in the US and Canada are familiar with the language, putting the hearing-impaired at a significant disadvantage. Yet again, technology is here to help.
UNI, a product developed by MotionSavvy, is “the world's first two-way communication software for the deaf.” By translating sign language to grammatically correct spoken language, it gives deaf and mute users the ability to communicate with loved ones and strangers like never before. With sign-to-speech and speech-to-text features, it has tremendous potential for broadening communications for the hearing-impaired.
The Dring Smart Cane
A lot of products are smart nowadays. Homes, phones, and even egg trays have been infused with WiFi and Bluetooth to make them more practical. The trend has admittedly gone a little overboard, but it has yielded some pretty incredible innovations when it comes to assisting seniors — the Dring Smart Cane is a great example.
This simple product can detect if the user has fallen and will contact a friend or family member immediately. The Dring Smart Cane works by alerting a set list of contacts to a fall as soon as it happens. Users can also click the button on the cane to alert family and friends of an emergency.
360 million people suffer from hearing loss around the world. What many don't realize is that half of them live in low income areas, leading to a sizable population without hearing aids or other assistance. Battery costs alone can make hearing aids impractical. But one company has made this problem obsolete — Solar Ear.
With easy-to-charge devices and dramatically lower prices, Solar Ear offers users a chance to hear a little better, without high battery costs. The hearing aids are claimed to last two to three years, and they can be charged with compact solar panels (pictured above). Plus, with vendors already set up in Botswana, Brazil, China, and Canada, it will only be a matter of time before anyone in the world with hearing loss will have an affordable solution.
Being confined to a wheelchair is never easy, but it can be made much worse when you have bad posture. Slouching in a chair all day isn't good for anyone, particularly when you don't have the option to get up and stretch your legs. Fortunately, one company has developed a product that can help keep you healthy in and out of a wheelchair.
Gaspard is a “connected mat” for wheelchairs. It has a wide range of functions designed to improve posture, eliminate back pain, and increase mobility.
By tracking push ups and time spent recumbent, the connected mobile app can help you make better choices while sitting down. Additionally, if you're in a bad position, the app will alert you to move, so as not to agitate your back. It can prevent inactivity and promote healthy behavior for users.