Assistive Technologies: the Future Really is Now
Hardly anyone skates all through life untouched by disease or unanticipated accident. Sometime when these things happen, we find our quality of life can be lacking. With a little courage and help from assistive technologies, we might find we can still maintain an enjoyable and productive life no matter what our situation. This article explores some of the work being done in this area. And it’s a reminder, the future is now.
Assistive technologies refer to devices and software programs that help individuals with disabilities to live a more independent and fulfilling life. Over the years, assistive technologies have evolved dramatically, becoming more sophisticated and providing individuals with disabilities a wider range of options to support their daily activities. In this article, we will review the current state of assistive technologies for people with disabilities, including new funding opportunities for development and the impact of smart technologies on the quest for better assistive technologies.
New Funding for Development
In recent years, there has been a significant increase in funding for the development of assistive technologies. Governments, private organizations, and philanthropic foundations have all committed to investing in the development of innovative and effective assistive technologies. For example, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) has established the National Institute of Biomedical Imaging and Bioengineering (NIBIB), which focuses on the development of innovative technologies that help individuals with disabilities to live a more independent life.
Another example of funding for the development of assistive technologies is the Assistive Technology Industry Association (ATIA), which provides grants and awards for individuals and organizations working to develop innovative assistive technologies. The ATIA also provides training and educational opportunities for assistive technology professionals and users.
Smart technologies have revolutionized the assistive technology industry, providing individuals with disabilities with new and innovative options for support. Smart technologies such as wearable devices, smartphones, and tablet computers have created new opportunities for individuals with disabilities to access information, communicate with others, and control their environment.
For example, the Apple Watch is a wearable device that has been designed with accessibility in mind. It includes features such as VoiceOver, which provides audio descriptions of everything on the screen, and TapTap, which allows individuals with motor impairments to control the device using only their fingers.
Another example of smart technology that has impacted the assistive technology industry is the Amazon Echo, which is a voice-activated device that can control smart home devices, provide information and news, and even play music. Individuals with disabilities can use the Amazon Echo to control their environment, access information, and communicate with others, all using voice commands.
Smart technologies have also impacted the development of assistive technologies for individuals with vision impairments. For example, the KNFB Reader is a mobile app that uses the camera on a smartphone to take a picture of text and then read it aloud to the user. This technology has made it easier for individuals with vision impairments to access information, and has helped to break down many of the barriers that once existed for individuals with disabilities.
Smart home technologies have also had a significant impact on the assistive technology industry. For example, the Nest Thermostat is a smart home device that can be controlled using a smartphone or tablet computer. This device provides individuals with disabilities with the ability to control their environment, making it easier for them to live independently.
Another example of smart home technology is the Amazon Echo Show, which is a voice-controlled device that provides visual information, such as the weather, news, and videos. The Amazon Echo Show can also control smart home devices, allowing individuals with disabilities to control their environment and access information with ease.
In conclusion, the current state of assistive technologies for individuals with disabilities is robust, with many new and innovative technologies available to support their daily activities. The availability of funding for the development of assistive technologies and the impact of smart technologies have played a major role in the rejuvenation of the quest for better assistive technologies. By providing individuals with disabilities with new and innovative options for support, smart technologies have helped to create a more accessible and inclusive world for all.