There is a reason why assistive technology pushes the envelope of innovation. Its development is revolutionary for individuals whose disabilities limit their prospects. From helping people accomplish everyday tasks to bringing the thrill of entertainment beyond the wall of limitations, it makes living life possible.
But what’s in the works for this technological niche? Dreamscape Foundation scoured the news for whispers of cutting-edge assistive technology entering or preparing to enter today’s world.
What is Assistive Technology?
Before we dive in, let’s cover a common question: what is assistive technology? For those who don’t know, assistive technology is any kind of software, equipment, or product that helps a disabled individual improve, increase, or maintain specific functional capabilities.
While we often cover assistive technology for the blind, it isn’t limited to this disability. Assistive technology also helps individuals who struggle with:
- Verbal Communication
- Hand and Finger Dexterity
- Cognitive Memory
- And More
You can find it anywhere, including at home, in schools, on public transport, and in the workplace.
4 Stunning Examples of New and Upcoming Assistive Technologies
Below are some of the latest assistive technology projects and tech that are either up-and-coming or on the market.
Disney’s “Feeling Fireworks”
Disney has an uncanny ability to bring the magic of imagination to life. The company’s Imagineers take every detail into painstaking consideration in order to fully immerse its visitors in an experience.
Their “Feeling Fireworks” project is a fine example. Disney Research describes it as a tactile show that is “making fireworks more inclusive for blind and visually impaired users, in a novel experience that can be shared by all.”
Their YouTube video gives a fascinating, in-depth look at how they use flexible latex and water jets to bring the firework display to life in a new way.
The sensational experience was showcased at the 2018 Assistive Technology Industry Association Conference. Currently, it is still undergoing research and development.
Nearby Explorer Develops an Indoor Exploration Feature
The American Printing House for the Blind developed an update on the Nearby Explorer App that makes navigating indoor environments possible. This version of the app is currently in its beta stage on Android and is available in supported venues on iOS.
This app uses GPS, your phone’s compass, and speaker to communicate information about your surroundings in real-time.
The Xbox Adaptive Controller
Microsoft’s Xbox console has multiple accessibility features to make it more user-friendly toward players with disabilities. However, their latest creation brings gaming to a whole new level. It’s called the Xbox Adaptive Controller.
Priced at $99.99 MSRP, it works with a variety of devices. Its button mapping is customizable for ease of use. The controller came together through partnerships with several organizations, including The Cerebral Palsy Foundation, SpecialEffect, Warfighter Engaged, AbleGamers Charity, and others.
The SmartVision2 Premium is a Cell Phone and e-Reader
Smartphones are already like having everything you need in the palm of your hand. However, the SmartVision2 Premium is specially designed to be the ultimate accessible device. Its large viewing screen features a simple, high-contrast display.
You can navigate through either the phone’s traditional keypad, voice commands, or the touchscreen itself. The phone also magnifies up to 7 times and has voice assisted GPS navigation.
Its OCR can scan and read printed text, plus it comes with an e-book creator and reader. Those who still need additional assistance can use its remote assistance option to contact friends, family, or support technicians based on your settings.
Priced at $899, this multi-faceted device is cheaper than the iPhone X while combining multiple essential accessibility features into its design.
Connect Assistive Technology with the People Who Need It
One of the major pieces of Dreamscape Foundation’s mission is connecting low vision and blind individuals with assistive technology that enhances their independence. There are many everyday activities we take for granted, such as reading and walking.
Assistive technology may be as simple as an app or as advanced as eSight Eyewear. However, their ability to turn challenges into possibilities is priceless.