Tech

4 Technology Devices Empowering People with Disabilities

Assistive technology can be a life changer!

6/14/2019

Technology is ever-evolving in today’s world. What does technology really mean? By definition, according to Merriam-Webster, technology is: (1) the practical application of knowledge especially in a particular area; a capability given by the practical application of knowledge; (2) a manner of accomplishing a task especially using technical processes, methods or knowledge.

So, how does that apply in our everyday lives? For some, technology takes form via sci-fi graphics in the movie theater or with the swipe of the screen on a mobile device. For many with disabilities, everyday technology is also about "capability" ─ as per the definition ─ in the form of assistive devices, like robotic prostheses, hearing aids, electric wheelchairs and adaptive video game controllers.

Thanks to continual advancements in the field of assistive devices, technology is a game changer… no, technology is a life changer! Here are four life-changing devices you should know about:

1. tecla-e

Price:$499 | gettecla.com

Smartphones are easily accessible for users who have full mobility; but these popular devices can feel far less accessible to those with impaired mobility. Fortunately, the hands-free tecla-e acts as “hands” by interacting with devices through a blend of switch ports and Bluetooth technology. The ports allow users to plug-in standard ability switches to control their favorite smart technology, such as tablets, smartphones and smart homes. Catered to an individual’s needs, there are various ability switch options, such as Sip-and-Puffs, SCATIR Switches or the controls of their wheelchair (check here). Weighing only half a pound, the tecla-e is portable and has a built in Environmental Control Unit so caregivers can have peace of mind by being able to, when necessary, monitor the whereabouts of a loved one.

Tyler, a featured tecla-e user has benefited so much from their independence device that he has become the president of the TSF Foundation. This nonprofit organization provides assistance and insight to people with disabilities, including quadriplegics, looking to learn about assistive technology options and about the installation of home assistive technologies.

 2. Dot Watch and Dot Mini

Price: $359 and up | dotincorp.com

Another small and sleek gadget is the Dot Watch and its new addition, the Dot Mini. Both help the blind and visually-impaired community with different tasks. The Watch converts app information, call notifications and text messages into braille in real-time and includes a built-in braille learning program in its software. The Dot Mini converts texts from documents, eBooks and websites into braille while a user listens, making thousands of untranslated books more accessible. The documents can be connected to the Dot Mini through Bluetooth, SD cards or USB cables.

3. Open Sesame App

Price:$699 (free for seven days, with an extra 30 days free after registration.) | sesame-enable.com

This app grants people with paralysis, or other conditions such as ALS, control over their Android tablet and phone with head movements. Since providing renewed independence for thousands of people in the digital world, this application has created a version for Windows PCs and laptops.  Check out a user’s story on YouTube.

assistive technology positively impacts people with disabilities
credit: Sesame-Enable.com

4. AXS Map

The founder of this app/website, who uses a scooter, realized how inconvenient it was to find out that places in his city weren’t truly accessible. So he came up with the wonderful (and much needed) idea of an online map where people could review and rate locations for their accessibility. Try it out at https://axsmap.com/. Your input can help others!

Technology can offer priceless benefits. However, the actual price tag can be a hindrance. Some companies may be able to help through discounts or payment plans, such as tecla’s Easy Payment Plan which allows users to make payments on a schedule.

How has technology and/or assistive devices positively impacted your life? Share with us on Facebook and Twitter!

Feature image credit: Dot Watch

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