Info-tech

Tech for differently abled

Mahananda Bohidar Chennai | Updated on July 05, 2012

We, as a population, are spoilt for choice when it comes to technology. Companies vie for our attention and our moolah by trying to woo us with the fastest processor, the snappiest camera or the sleekest screen.

We are flooded with so many options that we filter out the majority and don’t usually look beyond one or two of the best smartphone or tablets in the market at the moment. What seems strange is the fact that despite such progress in personal tech, there has been very little of it designed and targeted to help the differently abled. Their options are limited, and innovations, if any, are usually not adapted vigorously.

DrawBraille phone

What could help the situation is number of concept designs have been presented to make personal technology better for the differently abled. Take for example ‘DrawBraille’, a concept smartphone designed by UK-based designer Shikun Sun. The device, designed exclusively for the visually-challenged , has its entire form factor, keyboard and user interface in Braille. Even the touch on the proposed design is based on Braille.

There are some software already available in the market that could be easily benefit those differently abled. Nuance Communications which has in its suite of applications a software called ‘Dragon NaturallySpeaking’. The software works to create and edit notes and articles without the need for typing. The voice-activated system listens to what people speak and reproduces them on screen in the written form.

Vision-controlled communication

Another tech designed for people with complex physical disabilities is the Eyegaze System by QuadAdapt. It's a vision-controlled communication and control system that tracks your eye movement to follow commands.

By focusing on control keys displayed on the screen, a person can dictate commands, control his home automation system such as lights, appliances, if any, run computer software and access the Internet and email. Selections can either be made by looking at boxes or keys displayed on the Eyegaze system's screen.

>mahananda@thehindu.co.in

Published on July 05, 2012

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