Technology has become an important part of everyone’s daily life. When it comes to people with any kind of disability, technology has broken down barriers that have existed for centuries.
Technology has become an important part of everyone’s daily life. When it comes to people with any kind of disability, technology has broken down barriers that have existed for centuries, but many significant challenges remain for a large segment of the population. It is because of these obstacles that computing design and technology development must continue to evolve.
Technology as an enabler of the inclusion of people with disabilities
Emerging technologies can have a very direct impact on the daily lives of people with disabilities: for example, for the visually impaired, there are new navigation apps that can provide guidance in public spaces and buildings. This solution can provide precise, turn-by-turn directions through a smartphone.
Another example is the optimization of sound devices for the hearing impaired. Most of our interactions take place online, via video or audio. It can be difficult for people with hearing loss to keep up with the flow. This population has also been very disadvantaged during the pandemic. Given this backdrop, the hearing aid market will experience significant growth and with it, the opportunity to integrate artificial intelligence and 3D printing to scale low-cost personalized hearing aids for patients. people around the world, especially in underserved markets.
For people with motor neurone disease (MND), there are voice banking solutions available through interactive websites. Anyone can record themselves reading a 1,000-word story aloud, which takes about 20 minutes. Then, the processed voices are transformed into a digital voice that people with MND can use on any speech-assistive device, allowing them to communicate with their own voice intonation, coming.
Accessible technologies drive innovation
Technology is an increasingly essential part of life, and accessible technologies facilitate access to education, employment, public services, shopping, entertainment, and more. To take these innovations to the next level, it is important to involve people with disabilities in research and development, from design to testing, to ensure that decisions about end products take into account these diverse perspectives.
Every person is unique, and the future of accessible technology is to truly democratize personalized computing experiences for everyone. Often when we think of accessibility, we think of the design of a laptop’s keyboard-mouse-screen experience, but to go further, we need to rethink the relationship between person and computer. Accessibility drives innovation and creates more human-centric computing experiences.
A more accessible future
The tech industry is at a major inflection point, creating breakthroughs with new technologies, data, AI, Internet of Things (IOT), graphics and software to name a few, to unlock a whole new series of apps that are coming of age.
For example, by applying machine learning algorithms to the processing we do on computers, we can begin to achieve specific anticipatory computing. The computer can begin to understand your intentions and is able to do things proactively rather than responding to a simple command. The interface could become a companion that understands your needs and acts more on your behalf.
Sensor technologies combined with AI can also begin to mimic human perception systems, our eyes, ears, nose, mouth, the systems that allow us to interpret the world. This could be a real advantage for people who have a deficit in one or more sensory abilities.
We have the ability to lead change and the idea that everyone deserves to participate in building the future is essential. If we embrace the “Do nothing for us without us” philosophy and work alongside people with disabilities, we can make amazing advances and reimagine computing as a whole.