Disability and gadgets: apps and taps for inclusive independence

Disability and gadgets: apps and taps for inclusive independence

Robert Wemyss is the IT guru at Really Useful Stuff. RUS is delighted to join in with Disability Horizons to offer a monthly roundup of all things tech and gadget. Robert takes a look at what the world of geeks and gadgets is up to.

#DHgurus

When you do not have a lived experience of disability or impairment it’s not always immediately obvious how everyday life can become tedious.

The good news is that there are some amazing #geeks out there who do and who love coming up with clever high tech – low tech solutions that can help turn the tedious into easy with #disabilitygadgets

Magic Shoes take you in the right direction

Lechal magic shoesWearable technology is the buzzword happening right now but I guess we usually think of a gadget we can wear, like Google glasses. Well imaging if your shoes could communicate and tell you where to go!

That’s the clever idea of an Indian high-tech startup that is promising to create snazzy GPS-enabled smart sports shoes that vibrates to give the wearer directions.

The shoes will also count the number of steps taken, distance travelled and calories burned, as well as alerting you if you move to far away from your smart phone .

The shoes will come with a detachable Bluetooth transceiver that links to a smartphone app to direct the wearer using Google maps, sending a vibrating signal to indicate a left or right turn. This kind of application could really open up a whole new world of inclusive independence.

High Tech glasses reveal a colourful world

Colour blindness correcting glasses can make traffic lights less of a scary experience for passengers!

The EnChroma Cx uses high-tech optics to enhance color before it reaches the eye, giving people who have colour blindness access to a new world of colour experience.

Red-green color blindness is a genetic condition where the light-sensing function of the red and green cones is more overlapping than normal. By filtering a narrow region of the spectrum where overlap is occurring, the normal separation of light can be restored. For many people with color blindness, the effect is a profound emotional experience, not to mention extremely helpful when the world’s traffic lights use red and green!

Apple watch can tap into your attention

Apple watchApple watch has a clever feature: you can set the Prominent Haptics so there is a vibration when a text message is received. There is a really useful feature on the Apple Watch which is Maps. This is where Haptics really come into its own – you can be directed without hearing or sight, but by a series of taps via the watch onto your wrist. For example 12 taps means turn right at the junction or 3 pairs of 2 taps means turn left.

The device can be used to grab your attention especially when you have a hearing and or sight loss and are perhaps in another room in the house – fellow users can also programme cool code to communicate with each other.

Technology is also using augmented reality in an audible way

Guide Dots combines Google Maps, Facebook and powerful crowdsourcing technology to provide visually impaired people with a broader awareness of the world around them.

From calling out locations to tagging route details to alerts when friends are near, Guide Dots provides a new level of independence.

The best part is it’s free on Google play.

By Robert Wemyss

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