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The tech breakthroughs that could empower people with disabilities

The tech breakthroughs that could empower people with disabilities

Though there are numerous ways that technology can transform the lives of people around the world, there are few spaces where innovations are more significant than in the healthcare space. In healthcare, “adaptive” solutions allow those with disabilities to live an independent life without the constant presence of nurses and doctors.

While some forms of adaptive tech are relatively simple, such as the walking stick, others are becoming more incredible by the moment. Here, we’ll look at just some of the breakthroughs throughout the years that have transformed the landscape for people with disabilities, and helped them to lead more fulfilling lives.

1. The DynaVox EyeMax System

Cerebral Palsy sufferers, stroke victims, and those suffering from long-term paralysis can often feel trapped and isolated by their inability to communicate with friends and care providers. The DynaVox EyeMax system provides these individuals with an opportunity to participate in audio communication using an eye-tracking system. Like the technology you might have seen being used by Mr. Stephen Hawking, this system allows paralyzed people to input words and phrases into their devices, which are then spoken by a computer.

 

2. Kapten Plus

Visually impaired individuals often have trouble traveling alone. Whether they’re visiting friends in a different town, or simply crossing the street, countless threats abound. The good news is that the Kapten Plus system allows people with eye-sight problems to understand exactly where they’re going with the help of a real-time GPS service. The device announces direction and location while the person is walking, to help the user keep track of where they are.

 

3. The Stair-Climbing Wheelchair from iBot

The chances are you’ve heard of lift for wheelchair devices before today, but you probably haven’t seen anything as innovative as the iBot stair-climbing chair. This chair is a self-balancing device that allows physically disabled people to climb up and down stairs without risking their health or safety. Using technology like that of the Segway, the iBot gives wheelchair-bound patients the freedom to navigate a range of different terrains.

 

4. The Vehicle for the Blind

Although there might be a way to go before we can safely have blind people driving around on local roads, an engineer called Dennis Hong has already begun to design a car that can be driven by visually-impaired users. The system uses a range of computer inputs and sensors to observe the environment around the vehicle and provide different forms of sensory input for the blind user, including vibrations and sounds.

 

5. The Driverless Car from Google

Perhaps a simpler solution for those who want the freedom to drive, but might not have the ability to manage a car themselves, is the Google driverless vehicle. Designed by Sebastian Thrun, the man behind the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Library, the driverless car operates on a combination of artificial intelligence, and information from Google street view, to ensure that the user never has to touch the wheel.

 

6. The Cochlear Implant

If you’ve been keeping up with technology in recent years, then you’ve probably seen the viral videos of children having their cochlear implant turned on for the first time. Originally perceived as little more than a sci-fi concept, the cochlear implant is now a commonplace solution for those with hearing issues. This device is incredibly innovative, and while it might not be new to the marketplace, the software and hardware involved continue to evolve to this day.

The cochlear implant works by picking up sounds from a microphone, which are transmitted to a computer behind the ear, before being delivered to the implant itself. The device directly stimulates the auditory nerve, to help deaf people hear again.

Source: DNH PR

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