There are people all over the world with disabilities that make moving and communicating very difficult. Particularly for individuals with brain injuries, it can be incredibly tough for them to communicate what they need to those around them.
Technology and computers have brought with them thousands of solutions to make communication and experiences much easier for those who cannot do so without. Most people consider using IT and smart devices as ‘entertainment’, but to others, these devices are absolutely life changing.
Technology that doesn’t require speech or a keyboard:
In-built into Windows 10 is an on-screen keyboard (OSK) which displays a visual keyboard with all the standard keys. This gives users the ability to use a simple joystick, easily operated with a single finger, to complete tasks such as browse the internet, search for videos on YouTube, and write stories and emails.
These features are particularly useful to individuals who cannot speak to communicate. Giving someone the ability to write with limited movement can open many doors, it can ease frustrations and offer some rare independence.
Microsoft says it has a mission to empower every person through building inclusivity into technology, helping them to learn more easily, explore the world with maps, play games and communicate in writing.
Controlling an environment with technology:
Technology can also help disabled individuals to better control their environment. Using the Internet of Things (IoT), smart devices can be connected to other technologies to control room lighting, a temperature dial, speakers, music players, and even kettles.
Being able to turn on a light or television from a device built into a wheelchair makes the task much easier for those with limited movement.
It’s only a matter of time until even smarter technologies make it to UK shores, such as devices that enable people to control their computer using just their eyes – ‘Eyegaze’ is something that already exists in the US, invented by a company called LC Technologies. Smart glasses are expected to provide users with similar interactions in the near future too.
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