Disability can sometimes hinder a person from performing even daily day-to-day activities with ease. Troubles faced can range from inability to read the expiry date on a carton of milk to difficulty in finding one’s way around unfamiliar surroundings.
Technology has touched and changed all aspects of our lives and has simplified a host of our routine day-to-day activities. Smartphones are the most personal and intimate of all devices we use, and the power it has to transform our lives is immense. The potential of web-enabled technologies is even greater in the case of people who have disability, enabling and empowering them in several ways.
There are applications for Android and Apple devices that help disabled users overcome their limitations and perform daily activities independently or with as little help as possible.
Here are some of the latest and most popular apps that you can use to minimize or mitigate disabilities and have a far more convenient life.
TalkITT is a game-changer for the close to 1.5% of the population that live with speech impairment. This app has been developed and designed in Israel and is currently in the alpha testing phase, and will be followed by extensive clinical trials in the beta phase. The app makes use of voice recognition technology and has the ability to extract words from mangled or incoherent speech of disabled people.
The app helps users to assign voices or sounds to various words saved in the app software. The app remembers the translation and the next time the user makes the particular sound or noise, the app converts it into the corresponding word.
This is very much like how a mother is able to make meaning out of the various sounds or voices a child makes.
TalkITT has got mentions on illustrious platforms but still hasn’t been officially launched on app stores for Android or iOS devices, but is expected to be available on Play Store and App Store soon.
2. Be My Eyes
Be My Eyes is an iOS app that can pairs blind users with assistance with just a couple of taps on the screen.
Be My Eyes hopes to take the place of FaceTune and Skype calls to help blind users see their way around. The app provides users with a wider base of helpers to tap into as opposed to the close circle of friends and family they always depend upon.
The app has two sets of users, volunteers who wish to help and the vision impaired who need it. Volunteers receive an alert message when their assistance is required by a user. Once you have set up a user account you can access anytime you need help.
The app is fairly simple to use with a single tap button taking up most of the screen space. A double tap will connect you to a volunteer with two-way audio and one-way video facility. The powerful rear camera helps the volunteer get clear images and help you out. You can use help to read something, search for a missing book in the room or read the error message on your computer screen.
The app was born in Denmark and is the brainchild of Hans Jørgen Wiberg who wanted efficient remote assistance without having to ask the same people for help all the time.
The app is currently available only for iOS devices and is free.
3. Wheelchair Calorimeter
If you are disabled and are a full-time wheelchair user you must be well aware of how easily pounds pile on when you have little or no physical activity.
Keeping in mind the health needs of wheelchair users Craig Chaillie has come out with Wheelchair Calorimeter, a robust calorie-count app.
The app makes use of GPS services on your iPhone to keep track of the movements of the wheelchair. It keeps count of how many calories you burn in wheelchair-based workouts. It can accurately measure up-hill and down-hill movements and remains stable during long workout sessions.
You can enter details like body weight, wheelchair weight and weight of additional workout equipment you may be using. The app factors in these inputs while counting calories burnt.
You can also keep an editable history log which includes distance covered, uphill/downhill climbs and calories burnt.
Ensure you use a durable and strong mobility vehicle like Victory LX which can give you ease of use.
The app is available on Play Store for $.99.
4. Speak for Yourself
Speak for Yourself is an award-winning, acclaimed and highly effective Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) solution created by speech-language pathologists. The app is highly useful to people who have difficulty in speaking or cannot speak. Sufferers of apraxia, stroke survivors, and children and adults suffering from autism, Down’s syndrome and cerebral palsy will find Speak for Yourself app helpful.
The app allows early learners and beginners to identify and understand new words and improve vocabulary.
One of the reasons this app is increasingly being preferred over and above other options is its simplicity of use. You can access virtually any word with just a single or double tap on the screen.
The app, which has been developed by ASHA-certified professionals with vast knowledge of AAC systems and implementation, takes into account the need for personalization and allows the app to grow along with improving vocabulary of the user.
One hundred and nineteen core words form the main screen of the app. You can click on the word to open sub-menus with more words linked to it, thus building on the vocabulary.
Features like Babble help open all words on the screen as the early beginners babble on all words at the same time. Speech impaired users and autistic children get to explore the world of words on their own and discover their favorites.
Hold Your Thought is another feature that allows the users to learn new words and form sentences or paragraphs. They can save the content until it is complete and they are ready to say it on their own. This is especially helpful to answer questions in class, make social conversations, make a speech etc. You can say sentences at a stretch without having to tap out each word. This vastly improves speech formation in the impaired.
The app is available on Apple Play Store for a price of $199.99.
There are many apps out there that drastically improve the quality of life of disabled people. Be familiar with the latest in tech offerings and choose apps that best suit your needs and requirements.