Accessible technology - beta version

Accessible technology - beta version

Digital inclusion for people with disabilities - part two

Here are some more innovative ideas / apps / technological pieces of hardware which could help some people who would otherwise experience accessibility issues.

  • Assistive touch
    • Assistive touch is available on smartphones, and some tablets; both Apple and Android.  It allows users to create their own shortcuts and gestures, as well as to adapt how they interact with the screen.  This could include, among others, changing how long you touch the screen for, and which actions are executed for various gestures such as swiping, pinching or two finger taps.

  • Touch-free technology
    • The most well-known instance of touch-free technology is the computer controlled by the cheek movements of Professor Stephen Hawking.  Since then, there has been an increase in mass-market ready products and eye-tracking technology, allowing people to control their computers and smartphones simply using eye or head movements.

  • Assistive apps
    • Whole apps are dedicated to ensuring everyone, whatever their needs, can enjoy modern technology. Some even go further to help users get the most out of all aspects of life.  Apps like Be My Eyes connect blind or low-vision people with trained people who provide visual assistance through video calling.  There are also apps which can provide a ‘voice’ for people who have trouble communicating verbally.

  • Smart glasses
    • There are currently glasses on the market which, with professional assessment and customisation, can help negate some effects of colour blindness, and also dyslexia.  While not yet mainstream, the technology for true ‘SMART’ glasses, is constantly developing. The Google Glass was the first attempt to bring this concept to the public, and no doubt, technology will soon catch up with the vision (pun intended).

  • Gaming controllers
    • In 2018, 14% of Xbox gamers had a temporary disability, while 8% have permanent mobility limitation.  With that in mind, Xbox released a new Adaptive Controller that caters to gamers with disabilities. The controller is compatible with external joysticks, pedals and more. There are also rumours that they will release a braille controller sometime in the future.

  • Gaming controllers
    • It’s not just gaming controllers that are being created to ensure people with disabilities are not left behind. Games themselves are evolving to adapt to different people’s requirements. Collapsus is a block-crunching game and has an abundance of disability options.  (75% of the designers have a disability.) Even bigger budget games are allowing gamers to individualise control and action changes, for example, changing button taps to holding. During development, Josh Straub, the editor-in-chief of DAGER, (Disabled Accessibility for Gaming Entertainment Rating System) who has cerebral palsy and has been wheelchair bound his whole life, was consulted.