How assistive technologies are transforming the lives of disabled people?
A disability is a condition that impacts the mental, sensory, or mobility function of a person. According to the United Nations, there are about 1 billion disabled people in the world which makes disabled people the biggest minority group on Earth. Living with a disability can be extremely hard and simple day-to-day tasks can become impossible without support or specialized tools. But with the advancement in technology, assistive technologies are being invented every day that are making living with a disability a lot easier than it used to be. Technologies like VR treatments, connected care, and assistive apps are revolutionizing the lives of hundreds of people with disabilities. With the help of assistive technologies, people are able to do things that were once impossible for them, like switching on a light bulb.
In Australia, over 4.4 million people have some form of disability. It means 1 in every 5 people is living with a disability in Australia. 35.9% of Australia’s 8.9 million households have at least 1 person living with a disability. About 76% of people with disabilities reported a physical disorder as their main condition. 45% of Australians between the age of 16-85 face a mental health problem in their life. 1 in every 6 Australians is affected by hearing loss. 2.5 million Australians of working age (15-60 years) are living with a disability. About half (47.6%) of these 2.5 million disabled Australians are employed. Graduates with disabilities have a harder time finding full-time jobs than the rest of their cohort. About 18.9% or 1 in 5 of people with disabilities have faced discrimination against them due to their disability. And in most cases, the cause of this discrimination is their employer.
How does the market look to invest in assistive technologies?

Technology has progressed tremendously over the past few decades. New tech devices are coming with higher than ever computing power and in smaller form. Technology is becoming accessible worldwide.

Technology was once a luxury so the field of assistive technology could not be mass focused as the number of people who were able to afford assistive technologies for their disabilities was very small. But this is changing as technology is getting cheaper and accessible day by day.

The market for assistive technology is up for grabs. Tech giants like Facebook and Google are open sourcing their products and frameworks. This allows anyone to build solutions that are developed using these frameworks, free of cost. Cost-efficient and effective ways to solve the same problem are being discovered using different frameworks and protocols. The Cloud has solved hardware scalability concerns and reduced the cost of setup/maintenance of the infrastructure.

So, the time to invest in assistive technology couldn’t be more perfect. The field of technology is reigning the world and assistive technology is no different. The edge of investing in assistive tech is that it is an unexplored market and the consumer base just increased due to cheap and accessible technology.

Solutions for disabled people:
1. VR treatments: how does VR help disabled people?

The most direct way Virtual Reality or VR helps disabled people is by providing safe experiences to places that might have been cut off for them. Different platforms exist that allow users to do physical activities like surfing, skating, hiking, and more that they cannot perform due to their physical disability. Virtual Reality can also offer safer treatments to trauma survivors as they can go through the experience with the knowledge that they are safe, can help them completely process their emotions and feelings, and find healing.

Research has shown that VR can help stroke victims re-learn how to do tasks like walking or using their hands. This works because virtual reality can trick the brain into reusing or rerouting around neural pathways that had become disused due to disease or injury.

2. Connected Care

Connected care is another area of assistive technology that is helping millions of disabled people across the globe. Connected care is helping vulnerable people lead normal lives. By having a real-time connection with their health provider, people with disabilities can have ongoing access to care and are better equipped to deal with whatever life throws their way.

The current pandemic proved to be another reason why connected care is the best option for some people with disabilities. With the whole world being shut, people with disabilities are getting the support and help from their connected care communities that they need.

3. Assistive apps: how is this technology helping disabled learners?

Assistive apps are another way assistive tech is helping disabled people. These are making lives easier by enabling people to perform tasks that they previously faced problems accomplishing. Some examples are:

  • Computer Access Aid: such as modifies keyboards, voice to text software, light pointer or switches that are activated by voice.
  • Environment Control System: help people control several appliances like switches for lights, tv, phone, or computer. And these can be activated by breath, eyebrows, or pressure.
  • Alternative Communication Devices: allows people with speech impairment or low communication voice to communicate by using communication software, voice generating devices, or voice amplification aids.

Assistive technology is also now being offered in the form of mobile apps. For example, there is a mobile application available for people with hearing problems that helps them know when they get a text or call on their phone. Once the hearing aid is worn, the users can enjoy features like Mono Audio, Sound Balance, Flash Notification, Adapt Sound, Turn Off All Sounds, and Create Vibration to help in check on incoming messages and ensuring the users don’t miss the sound notifications.
Other assistive apps like Hearing are built to support:

  • Vision
  • Dexterity
  • Interaction
4. AI: Increasing communication

Artificial Intelligence is easing the life of disabled people in ways you cannot imagine, from increasing communication to more accessibility for disabled people.

People with visual impairment rely on voice-assisted AI tech like Siri and the Google Assistant to communicate to their smart devices and use them. In addition to this Google’s text-to-speech and speech-to-text helps people recovering from brain injuries, or those affected by cerebral palsy to communicate better.

Another way AI is helping people with disabilities is through accessibility. Some of the AI-assisted technologies are designed to recognize text on signs and scenery to support those with visual impairments, making it easier for them to be more mobile independently.

Many people with disabilities rely on others to help them move around the house, cook, or complete other daily tasks. AI-assisted technology has opened up new possibilities in terms of usability. With its AI capabilities, smart home technology enables independent living. For example, using voice technology to turn off lights, adjust the air conditioning, or use the stove are the things that make independent living easier for people with disabilities.

The service assistive technology is providing people with disabilities is amazing. As tech becomes more and more accessible and cheap day by day, assistive technologies are bound to come into the range of average families. Assistive technology has revolutionized the field of supporting people with disabilities, and the possibilities are limitless as technology advances. Developing your NDIS based app can be hassle-free and easy if you choose the right development team to build and support it. Our process of “Simplify. Align. Enable.” can turn your complex, high-maintenance IT products into IT assets that are simple to manage, aligned with your business goals, and enables you to stay ahead in the competition.

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