Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Enabling those with disabilities to use technology

There are many people around the world with disabilities that prevent them from communicating efficiently with others and using the benefits of technology to its full extent. These disabilities may include motor neuron disease, blindness, and deafness. While these people are unable to live a completely normal life, new advances in technology are evolving to allow them to use computers, smart glasses and talking hands in order to advance their ways of communication.
            The article “The tech giving people power to deal with disability” explained these different devices and how they work to an extent. It began with the EyeGaze Edge, which is a computer that people with motor neuron disease can use. The device works using a technology that monitors the person’s eyes and where they are looking. This is then used to control the computer because when the person looks at a certain area for a specified time it will then select what they were looking at. The next device that was mentioned is the HeadMouse Nano, which is used by people with the ability to move their head. It works with a camera, similar to the EyeGaze Edge, however instead of tracking eye movements it tracks a dot on the person’s forehead.
            The article then went on to discuss the devices to help those dealing with blindness, deafness or both. The first device mentioned was the “smart glasses” which work for those people that are blind but still have a level of light perception. The glasses create the images that someone with normal sight would see but instead with light using just the outline of the objects. In order to create depth in the images of the glasses, there is a scale where the closest images are the brightest and then as they are farther away they get darker. Finally, the article described how deaf or deafblind people can communicate with others using a glove. This glove has the technology to turn pinches on different parts of the glove into text on a computer or device and then it can also translate text back to the hand through the glove.
            While the article had interesting information about these new technologies that are changing how people with disabilities are able to communicate today, it did not go into depth about how the technology was used. There were many questions that were left unanswered about how the EyeGaze Edge is able to do things such as type words to communicate or search for things on the web using only a camera tracking very small movements of an eye. Another concern that I had while reading the article was how the deafblind people are taught to use pinches on a glove in order to communicate thoughts. While the article showed many of the ideas behind the technologies used, I believe that it could have gone into more detail describing how the devices worked and how many people were affected by these inventions.

Works cited
Belton, Padraig. "The Tech Giving People Power to Deal with Disability - BBC News." BBC News. 29 Jan. 2016. Web. 09 Feb. 2016.  <>

"Eyegaze Edge Tablet." LC Technologies, Inc. Web. 10 Feb. 2016.

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