Enabling the differently-abled

Enabling the differently-abled

In a world where individual differences among humans are so large and diverse, people with disabilities often lag in terms of being recognised as one of them. However, with technological developments, new devices have been made in the past which has helped disabled people live easier lives. It is not easy for a disabled to live with the stamp of being ‘disabled’ when they are as human as us; just differently-abled.

 

An interdisciplinary group of Northeastern University students and faculty have combined their knowledge of engineering and physical therapy to design, develop, and then deliver two low-cost communication devices to disabled children living at a pair of orphanages in Ecuador.

 

There are a few types of devices to be used by disabled people and they can be categorised in the following ways:

 

  • Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs):

They help amplify the sounds you want to hear, especially where there’s a lot of background noise. ALDs can be used with a hearing aid or cochlear implant to help the user hear certain sounds better.

 

  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) devices:

They help people with communication disorders to express themselves. These devices can range from a simple picture board to a computer program that synthesises speech from text.

 

  • Alerting devices:

They help connect to a doorbell, telephone or alarm that emits a loud sound or blinking light to let someone with hearing loss know that an event is taking place.

 

The following is a list of a few devices which have help people tremendously:

 

Dot- It is a wearable braille smart watch that helps blind people read time, texts anywhere and anytime.

 

Talkkit- It is an innovative application to help people with speech and language disorders to communicate with someone elsewhere it translates unintelligible pronunciation into understandable speech to understand what they meant to say, despite the speech impediment.

 

UNI- UNI is a two communication tool for the deaf using gesture and speech technology where it detects hand and finger gestures with its specialised camera algorithm and converts it to text in a very short time to provide the meaning of a given sign language.

 

Transcence – Transcence offers a great solution that can still keep the deaf in group conversations while other devices only help in hearing one to one conversations.

 

Technology has developed so much that these little devices are changing the lives of people with disabilities tremendously which makes the above devices an asset to disabled people. We need to be aware of such stuff to help these kinds of people and see them as one of our own rather than people carrying the stigma of their ‘disabilities’ like a weakness. These are just different from us and technology is just the cherry on the cake of their qualities which makes them differently-abled.

 

Shivangi Sinha

 

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Shivangi Sinha

shivangisinha2828@gmail.com

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