Posts Tagged Assistive Technology

[ARTICLE] The past, present, and future of wearable AT. – Full Text PDF

Abstract

Document reviews major categories of high-tech wearable assistive technology (AT) available on the market today. Wearables (sometimes referred to as wearable technology or wearable tech) are devices or sensors that can be worn on or embedded in your body to assist you in performing a specific task or function. Examples of wearables include smartwatches, fitness trackers, headgear, smart clothing, and jewelry. Examples are also provided of newer high-tech wearables that are useful for people with hearing, cognitive, and visual disabilities.

Download article in Full Text .

Source: https://search.naric.com/research/rehab/redesign_record.cfm?search=2&type=all&criteria=O22257&phrase=no&rec=151480&article_source=Rehab&international=0&international_language=&international_location=

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

[Abstract] Smart home and communication technology for people with disability: a scoping review

Abstract

Purpose

The links between disability, activity limitation and participation restriction are well established. Recent and continued advancement of technology, particularly smart home and communication technologies, presents new ways in which some of the limitations and restrictions experienced by people with disabilities can be overcome. The aim of this scoping review was to explore the impact of smart home and communication technology on the outcomes of people with disabilities and complex needs.

Method

This review involved systematic searching of four databases, hand searches and data extraction. Eligibility criteria included [1] participant outcomes of [2] technology used within the home [3] among adults with a disability and complex needs.

Results

Of the 2400 studies identified, 21 met our inclusion criteria. Studies were characterized by significant diversity in relation to disability and type of technology. Overall, technology appeared to improve independence, participation and quality of life among people with a disability and complex needs. Despite this, ethical considerations were raised given the vulnerability of this population, including potential risks through social participation and privacy concerns of using monitoring technology.

Conclusions

Smart home and communication technology can improve outcomes for people living with disabilities and complex needs. However, a number of factors impact the successful implementation of technology, including personalization, flexibility and ongoing support to the person with a disability and their close others. Future research should utilize high-quality study designs and established measures of important outcomes for this group.

  • IMPLICATIONS FOR REHABILITATION
  • There is a broad range of smart home and communication technology devices and systems available that may support the independence and participation of people with disabilities and complex needs; however, high-quality evidence documenting the impact of technology is lacking.
  • Soft-technology supports, including assessment, training and evaluation of technology implementation, may play just as important a role in shaping outcomes as the technology itself.
  • Systematic research is required to ensure there is quality evidence to inform investment in both technologies, and the soft-technology supports that promote its successful use.

Source: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/17483107.2020.1818138?af=R&utm_source=researcher_app&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=RESR_MRKT_Researcher_inbound

, , , , , ,

Leave a comment

[Guide] Easy to access assistive technology and apps for individual success – PDF file

Abstract: The COVID-19 pandemic presents an opportunity to spend time with individuals exploring and learning to use different assistive technology (AT) and apps that can be used now and in the future. For individuals who are working during the pandemic, at a time when in-person supports from a job coach may be limited or not available, AT and apps can increase their ability to self-manage on the job. This brief focuses on the various AT options that can be accessed through smartphones and tablets, often for free, to support employment, personal, and independent-living goals. Much of the technology discussed in this publication can also be accessed via desktop and laptop computers.

Get this Document: https://covid19.communityinclusion.org/pdf/TO39_COVID_F.pdf.

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

[Guide] BIOFEEDBACK AT FOR DEPRESSION – Full Text PDF

Abstract

This guide describes a sampling of these at-home biofeedback assistive technology (AT) devices that may help users better understand, interpret, and manage depressive effects that involve your brain, heart, and muscles. Biofeedback AT devices are designed to assist with monitoring and voluntarily controlling certain mental and physical functions such as increasing mental focus, regulating breathing, or relaxing muscles to get brainwaves, heartrate, and muscle tension levels back to normal intensities.

Download Full Text PDF

, , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

[Abstract] Medical devices for self-help management: the case of stroke rehabilitation – Systematic Review

Abstract

Introduction: Self-help devices (SHD) have been used as an alternative to conventional treatment for post stroke rehabilitation. This review aims to look for evidence that a stroke survivor may have increased muscle strength with the use of SHD.

Methods: This article was conducted according to PRISMA, a statistical tool (state of the art by systematic review) and previously registered in PROSPERO (international prospective registry of systematic reviews) under number CRD42018091424. Studies addressing the use of SHD and its effect on muscle strength in stroke patients were included. The studies were read, selected and their metadata extracted. A Downs & Black scale was used to assess methodological quality.

Results: 41 publications were analyzed, of which only three met the proposed inclusion criteria. Two articles showed positive results in strength gain using SHD. One study presented a decrease in the mean reaching forces when compared to the intervention groups (subacute and chronic with assistance to grip) and controls but SHD assisted in performing the activity.

Conclusion: Studies using SHD suggest muscle strength improvement in stroke patients.

via Medical devices for self-help management: the case of stroke rehabilitation | International Journal of Advanced Engineering Research and Science

, , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

[ARTICLE] Hand Extension Robot Orthosis (HERO) Grip Glove: enabling independence amongst persons with severe hand impairments after stroke – Full Text

Abstract

Background

The Hand Extension Robot Orthosis (HERO) Grip Glove was iteratively designed to meet requests from therapists and persons after a stroke who have severe hand impairment to create a device that extends all five fingers, enhances grip strength and is portable, lightweight, easy to put on, comfortable and affordable.

Methods

Eleven persons who have minimal or no active finger extension (Chedoke McMaster Stage of Hand 1–4) post-stroke were recruited to evaluate how well they could perform activities of daily living and finger function assessments with and without wearing the HERO Grip Glove.

Results

The 11 participants showed statistically significant improvements (p < 0.01), while wearing the HERO Grip Glove, in the water bottle grasp and manipulation task (increase of 2.3 points, SD 1.2, scored using the Chedoke Hand and Arm Inventory scale from 1 to 7) and in index finger extension (increase of 147o, SD 44) and range of motion (increase of 145o, SD 36). The HERO Grip Glove provided 12.7 N (SD 8.9 N) of grip force and 11.0 N (SD 4.8) of pinch force to their affected hands, which enabled those without grip strength to grasp and manipulate blocks, a fork and a water bottle, as well as write with a pen. The participants were ‘more or less satisfied’ with the HERO Grip Glove as an assistive device (average of 3.3 out of 5 on the Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with Assistive Technology 2.0 Scale). The highest satisfaction scores were given for safety and security (4.6) and ease of use (3.8) and the lowest satisfaction scores were given for ease of donning (2.3), which required under 5 min with assistance. The most common requests were for greater grip strength and a smaller glove size for small hands.

Conclusions

The HERO Grip Glove is a safe and effective tool for enabling persons with a stroke that have severe hand impairment to incorporate their affected hand into activities of daily living, which may motivate greater use of the affected upper extremity in daily life to stimulate neuromuscular recovery.

Background

Fifteen million individuals worldwide experience a stroke each year with 50,000 of these cases occurring in Canada [1]. Approximately two-thirds of these individuals will experience neurological deficit [2] and half will never fully recover the hand function required to perform activities of daily living independently [3]. Stroke survivors with severe hand impairment have difficulty producing hand motion and grip force and their increased muscle tone, spasticity and contractures keep their hand clenched in a fist. These stroke survivors have the potential to attain functional improvements years after their stroke by constantly incorporating the affected hand into activities of daily living (ADLs) and additional goal-directed tasks during their therapy exercises and daily routines [4,5,6].

There are many barriers to incorporating the affected hand into exercises and daily routines including time, discomfort, safety risks and mental and physical effort. Personalized, high-intensity, coaching and motion assistance is required to overcome these barriers but is often inaccessible to stroke survivors. The time and resource commitments are too substantial for many clinics to supply at a sufficient intensity and additional rehabilitation technologies and services can be inaccessible due to high cost, location and availability [78]. As a result, stroke survivors often do not regain the hand range of motion (ROM), strength and coordination required to perform ADLs independently. Affordable and accessible rehabilitation technologies and services that enable stroke survivors with severe hand impairment to incorporate their affected hand into ADLs are needed to maximize neuromuscular recovery and daily independence.

Design targets for wearable hand robots

A main goal for wearable hand robots is to provide the hand function assistance and rehabilitation required to enable people after stroke to perform ADLs independently. Able-bodied individuals move their fingers through a ROM of 164o during activities of daily living, as calculated by summing the differences between the extension and flexion joint angles of the distal interphalangeal (DIP), proximal interphalangeal (PIP) and metacarpophalangeal (MCP) joints [9]. The thumb moves through a ROM of 40o, as calculated by summing the differences between the extension and flexion joint angles of the thumb’s interphalangeal (IP) and MCP joints [9]. Grip forces averaging 67 N are exerted [10] and a combination of hand postures are used (i.e. a tripod pinch was used during 38% of the activities of daily living evaluated, extended hand (13%), cylindrical grasp (12%), lumbrical grasp (10%), lateral pinch (9%)) [11].

Capabilities of wearable hand robots

Wearable hand robots have manipulated able-bodied participants’ relaxed hands to provide 129o of index finger ROM, 83 N of grip strength as measured using a hand dynamometer, and 7 hand postures in Rose et al. [10]. However, when these robots are evaluated with impaired hands the assistive capabilities have been much lower. For studies by Cappello et al. and Soekadar et al. with six and nine persons with impaired hands following a spinal cord injury, wearable hand robots have increased grip strength to 4 N [12] and ADL performance to 5.5 out of 7 on the Toronto Rehabilitation Institute – Hand Function Test by assisting pinch and palmar grasp postures [1213]. For a study by Yurkewich et al. with five persons with severely impaired hands following stroke (no voluntary index finger extension), a previous version of the HERO Grip Glove named the HERO Glove increased ROM to 79o and improved water bottle and block grasping performance [14]. Refer to [14] for a supplementary table detailing recently developed wearable hand robots, their capabilities and their evaluation results. Hand robots need to be improved to generate strong extension and grip forces that overcome muscle tone and securely stabilize various object geometries, such as a water bottle and a fork. These robots should also be easy to put on clenched hands, comfortable during multiple hours of use, lightweight so as not to affect the motion of weak arms and affordable so they are accessible to people with limited income even though these considerations create design tradeoffs that sacrifice assistive capabilities [1415].

A number of sensor types (i.e. button [121416], electromyography [1718], motion [1014], force [19], voice [20], vision [2122] and electroencephalography [13] have been selected to control robot assistance based on varied motivations such as robust operation or motivating neuromuscular activation. However, other than button control, these control strategies are still in an experimental stage that requires experts to manually tune each user’s orthosis [17].

A single study evaluating two stroke survivors’ satisfaction with a wearable hand robot was completed by Yap et al. [16] to understand their needs and preferences in wearable hand robot design. More rigorous studies would further inform designers on how to adapt their wearable hand robots to maximize the intended users’ satisfaction and arm and hand use.

This article presents the portable Hand Extension Robot Orthosis (HERO) Grip Glove, including its novel design features and the evaluation of its assistive capabilities and usability with 11 stroke survivors with severe hand impairments. The HERO Grip Glove, shown in Fig. 1, assists five-finger extension, thumb abduction and tripod pinch grasping using particular cable materials and routing patterns and only two linear actuators. A fold-over wrist brace is used to mount the electronic components, support the wrist, and ease donning. The robot is controlled by hand motion or a button. The robot is open source for broad access, untethered and lightweight for unencumbered use throughout daily routines, and soft to conform to hands and objects of varying geometries. The HERO Grip Glove increases range of motion and ADL performance with large and small objects and increases grip strength for those without grip strength. The participants’ quantitative and qualitative feedback from their user satisfaction questionnaires provides guidance for assistive technology developers and motivation for deploying the HERO Grip Glove to stroke survivors for use throughout their daily routines.

 

figure1

The HERO Grip Glove assists finger and thumb extension and flexion to enable users to grasp large and small objects. The HERO Grip Glove consists of (a) cable tie guides, (b) an open-palm glove, (c) cable tie tendons for extension, (d) a 9 V battery case with the battery inside and the microcontroller with an inertial measurement unit mounted between the case and the glove, (e) buttons to control the manual mode and select between the manual and automatic modes used in [14], (f) a linear actuator, (g) a foldable wrist brace, (h) cable tie pawls for pre-tensioning, (i) fishing wire tendons for flexion, (j) tendon anchor points on the wrist brace and (k) Velcro straps to secure the glove. The glove folds open to ease donning. The dorsal and palmar tendons’ routing paths are highlighted in yellow

[…]

Continue —->  Hand Extension Robot Orthosis (HERO) Grip Glove: enabling independence amongst persons with severe hand impairments after stroke | Journal of NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation | Full Text

, , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

[WEB PAGE] Assistive technology: top 10 apps for disabled people

Top 10 apps for disabled people

We all like to live as independently as possible, and for disabled people, technology and apps are an invaluable aid to achieving this. It seems that everyone nowadays owns a smartphone and tablet, and with that comes a seemingly unlimited world of apps to choose from. But which should you consider and how could they enhance your life? 

Here, our writers Carrie Aimes and Emma Purcell round up the top 10 apps for disabled people and why you should try them out, all updated for 2019.

AccessAble app

AccessAble app

AccessAble is a UK accessible travel app that takes the chance out of going out for disabled people. The app contains 75,000 detailed access guides telling you how accessible a venue, tourist attraction or public place is for your needs.

You can use the app’s accessibility symbols to filter results and places that suit you. For example, if you enjoy shopping and you’re a wheelchair user, you would search for a shopping centre that has wheelchair access, Blue Badge parking, step-free access, ramps, lifts and accessible toilets.

There is also accessibility information for people with other mobility issues, sensory impairments and intellectual disabilities. Moreover, you can check out photographs of a venue and save access guides for later.

AccessAble is free to download for iOS and Android devices.

Dragon Anywhere app

Dragon Anywhere dictation app

This dictation app enables you to create and edit documents of any length on your phone, tablet or laptop, all using your voice. By simply speaking into the device you can create text messages, compose emails and edit long documents, and then sync them with your Dropbox or cloud so they can be accessed on your computer.

The Dragon Anywhere app is aimed at busy professionals needing to work while commuting. But it has obvious benefits for disabled people too. Apple iPhone and Andriod users can download it for free, but after a trial, you’ll have to pay (£9.99 a month and £99.99 a year).

Our tech writer Tom Housden has tried out this app, along with some of Dragon’s other dictation apps. See his article on dictation apps for a full breakdown of how it works and what else is on offer.

Changing Places Toilet Finder app

Changing Places Toilet Finder app

No matter what your disability, being able to reach an accessible public toilet in good time is a daily challenge. The free Changing Places Toilet Finder app, from the RADAR Key company, lists thousands of accessible toilets across the UK.

It is a comprehensive guide of more than 1,000 Changing Places toilets, which are extra-large toilets with changing facilities. The app shows you how far you are from one of the toilets, how to get there, the opening hours of the toilet, how to open the door, whether it is normally locked and information regarding hoists and slings.

The app is free and available on iTunes for iPhone users and Google Play for Android users. You can also visit the Changing Places website to learn more about Changing Places toilets.

HelpTalk app

Halp Talk app for disabled people

This app is a communication aid for people who are non-verbal or have a speech impairment. You can create a profile containing the spoken actions most useful to any situation, such as a specific event, travelling, working, education, socialising, plus much more, and suited for your day-to-day life. In addition, for people with reduced dexterity, there are a big Yes/No buttons.

This app is available in multiple languages and includes an emergency contact and location request services if you were to be in danger or go missing. HelpTalk can only be downloaded on Google Play.

Disabled Motoring app

Disabled Motoring UK app

Disabled Motoring UK is a campaigning charity and magazine that aims to make life easier for disabled drivers, passengers and Blue Badge holders. Its app allows you to find accredited disabled parking, get help refuelling your vehicle and browse information on Blue Badges, as well as the latest news from the charity.

The app is free to download on iOS and Android devices but, for a fee, there are additional benefits you can sign up for. Becoming an online member will give you access to the members’ area on its website, as well as a monthly newsletter.

Alternatively, you can become a full/associate member and receive the monthly magazine and discounts on everyday goods, from groceries to holidays. It’ll also enable you to get help with motoring-related problems, such as parking tickets and local authority issues. The full/associate membership will cost £24 a year.

To find out more about Disabled Mobility UK, visit its website, and download the app on Google Play.

Physiotherapy Exercises

Physiotherapy Exercises app for disabled people

The Physiotherapy Exercises app contains more than 1,000 images illustrating 600 exercises suitable for those with spinal cord injury and neurological conditions. Search, select and save exercises for future reference and even suggest others if you wish.

Developed by physiotherapists, this is an invaluable source that does not require an internet connection once downloaded. Get the Physiotherapy Exercises app for free on iTunes.

UPDATE 2019: The developer of this app needs to update it to work with iOS 11.

Red Panic button app

Red Panic Button app

To be able to immediately and urgently notify a number of contacts of your whereabouts can be hugely beneficial if you’re disabled. If you’re older, have learning disabilities, or live on your own but rely on others, you might want to consider the Red Panic Button.

One tap of the red button sends alerts to your contacts via text, email, Facebook and Twitter. All you need to do is enter the details of those you wish to alert ahead of using the app, and they will receive a Google Maps link with your location.

Many features are free to both Android and iOS users, though there is the option to upgrade at a fee, which means you can even send a photo attachment and record a 10-second voice message with your alert. Gain more independence and security with this handy and easy to use Red Panic Button app by visiting iTunes or Google Play.

Be My Eyes app

Be My Eyes app screenshot

This award-winning app allows people who are blind or visually impaired to request help from a sighted volunteer. You can receive assistance through a live video connection to a global network of volunteers who can assist you with a range of tasks.

The sighted volunteers will receive a notification on their phone when you ask for assistance. As soon as the first volunteer accepts the request, a live video link will be connected to you and the sighted volunteer.

You can then use your rear-facing camera to allow the sighted volunteer to see the item or subject you need assistance with or descriptions of. Support can be as simple as checking expiry dates or more complicated tasks such as navigating a public place.

The app can be used at any time of the day, anywhere in the world and is available in more than 180 languages. It is free to download on iTunes and Google Play.

Have You Heard

Have You Heard voice amplification app

Designed for people with hearing impairments, this app will amplify voices around you so that you can better understand conversations with people in busy and loud places, such as with a friend in a restaurant or a colleague in a meeting.

You can focus on conversations either close by or further away by using the ‘focus near/far’ feature, and adjust the volume to suit you. If you still haven’t quite heard something, you can replay the last 20 seconds of a conversation at the press of a button.

To use it, you’ll need to connect a headphone to your phone. It’s free and only available on iTunes for iPhone users.

UPDATE 2019: The developer of this app needs to update it to work with iOS 11.

Uber taxis app

Uber app for disabled people

Having a disability means that public transport often isn’t an option, leaving you to rely on taxis. To stop you getting stranded, you can download the Uber app, allowing you to request a taxi ride from where you are using your phone.

To do so, simply create an account with your card or PayPal – no cash required – and select a vehicle to suit your needs. If you do want to plan ahead, the Scheduled Rides feature allows you to book a vehicle up to 30 days in advance.

Uber has two services aimed at helping disabled passengers get around. Its uberACCESS taxis are equipped with a rear-entry ramp and four-point restraints, enabling wheelchair users to ride safely and comfortably with one additional passenger. Its other accessible service, uberASSIST, is designed for those who don’t need a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, but require additional assistance on their journey.

All uberACCESS and uberASSIST partners have received Disability Equality Training from Transport for All and Inclusion London, and both cost the same as using uberX, one of Uber’s lowest-cost services.

UberACCESS (previously called uberWAV) is available in London, Manchester and Birmingham, and uberASSIST is available in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, and Sheffield. There are plans to roll out both into other areas soon.

Uber is free to download to Android and iOS phones, from Google Play or iTunes.

By Carrie Aimes and Emma Purcell

Find out more about Emma on her blog, Rock For Disability, and Carrie by visiting www.lifeontheslowlane.co.uk.

Check out…

Get in touch by messaging us on Facebook, tweeting us @DHorizons, emailing us at editor@disabilityhorizons.com  

via Assistive technology: top 10 apps for disabled people

 

, , , , ,

Leave a comment

[WEB SITE] SeeingVR: A Set of Tools to Make Virtual Reality More Accessible to People with Low Vision – Microsoft Research

Download PDF

Current virtual reality applications do not support people who have low vision, i.e., vision loss that falls short of complete blindness but is not correctable by glasses. We present SeeingVR, a set of 14 tools that enhance a VR application for people with low vision by providing visual and audio augmentations. A user can select, adjust, and combine different tools based on their preferences. Nine of our tools modify an existing VR application post hoc via a plugin without developer effort. The rest require simple inputs from developers using a Unity toolkit we created that allows integrating all 14 of our low vision support tools during development. Our evaluation with 11 participants
with low vision showed that SeeingVR enabled users to better enjoy VR and complete tasks more quickly and accurately. Developers also found our Unity toolkit easy and convenient to use.

Publication Downloads

SeeingVR Toolkit

May 24, 2019

Current virtual reality applications do not support people who have low vision, i.e., vision loss that falls short of complete blindness but is not correctable by glasses. We present SeeingVR, a set of 14 tools that enhance a VR application for people with low vision by providing visual and audio augmentations.

 

SeeingVR: A Set of Tools to Make Virtual Reality More Accessible to People with Low Vision

Video figure accompanying a CHI 2019 paper on the same topic. The research paper will be available in January 2019.

 

via SeeingVR: A Set of Tools to Make Virtual Reality More Accessible to People with Low Vision – Microsoft Research

, , , ,

Leave a comment

[REHABDATA] 20 apps for student success – National Rehabilitation Information Center

NARIC Accession Number: O21594.  What’s this? Download article in Full Text .
Author(s): O’Sullivan, Paige.
Project Number: 90RT5021 (formerly H133B130014).
Publication Year: 2017.
Number of Pages: 5.
Abstract: This list identifies software applications (apps) that may be helpful in key areas in which students with and without mental health conditions may need additional support. Some of these apps are only for use on desktops, while most are available on iPhones or Android products.
Descriptor Terms: ACCOMMODATION, ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY, COMPUTER APPLICATIONS, COMPUTER-ASSISTED INSTRUCTION, HEALTH PROMOTION, MENTAL HEALTH, PSYCHIATRIC DISABILITIES, STUDENTS, TELECOMMUNICATIONS.

Can this document be ordered through NARIC’s document delivery service*?: Y.
Get this Document: http://tucollaborative.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/20-Apps-for-Student-Success.pdf.

Citation: O’Sullivan, Paige. (2017). 20 apps for student success. Retrieved 4/19/2019, from REHABDATA database.via Articles, Books, Reports, & Multimedia: Search REHABDATA | National Rehabilitation Information Center

, , , , , , , , , , , ,

Leave a comment

[Assistive technology] Top 10 apps for disabled people

Top 10 apps for disabled people

Top 10 apps for disabled people

We all like to live as independently as possible, and for disabled people, technology and apps are an invaluable aid to achieving this. It seems that everyone nowadays owns a smartphone and tablet, and with that comes a seemingly unlimited world of apps to choose from. But which should you consider and how could they enhance your life? 

Here, our writers Carrie Aimes and Emma Purcell round up the top 10 apps for disabled people and why you should try them out, all updated for 2018.

TripTripHurray app

TripTripHurray accessible travel app

If you live with any form of disability, you will appreciate how challenging it can be to plan an accessible yet enjoyable holiday, or even just a day out. But help is at hand. The TripTripHurray app is a travel platform for people with specific needs that lets you quickly and easily search for accommodation, public transport, places of interest, shops, restaurants and services. It’s effectively a personalised trip adviser.

You can get the TripTripHurray app for free on Google Play for Android users or iTunes for those with an iPhone. It displays relevant options both locally and worldwide.

It’s Accessible

It's Accessible app for disabled peopleIf you have mobility issues, It’s Accessible can help you find and share accessible hot spots, including bars, restaurants, hotels and car parks. It currently has more than 12,000 across the world rated in the app. It is community dependent, so the more people that use it, the more information there will be available.

It’s free to use and compatible with all Android and Apple devices. I urge you to check this one out as not only will it help you get out and about, it will enable you to help others too!

Find out more about the app on the It’s Accessible app website.

Dragon Anywhere app

Dragon Anywhere dictation app

 

This dictation app enables you to create and edit documents of any length on your phone, tablet or laptop, all using your voice. By simply speaking into the device you can create text messages, compose emails and edit long documents, and then sync them with your Dropbox or cloud so they can be accessed on your computer.

The Dragon Anywhere app is aimed at busy professionals needing to work while commuting. But it has obvious benefits for disabled people too. Apple iPhone and Andriod users can download it for free, but after a trial, you’ll have to pay (£9.99 a month and £99.99 a year).

Our tech writer Tom Housden has tried out this app, along with some of Dragon’s other dictation apps. See his article on dictation apps for a full breakdown of how it works and what else is on offer.

Changing Places Toilet Finder app

Changing Places Toilet Finder app

No matter what your disability, being able to reach an accessible public toilet in good time is a daily challenge. The free Changing Places Toilet Finder app, from the RADAR Key company, lists thousands of accessible toilets across the UK.

It is a comprehensive guide of more than 1,000 Changing Places toilets, which are extra large toilets with changing facilities. The app shows you how far you are from one of the toilets, how to get there, its opening hours, how to open the door, whether it is normally locked and information regarding hoists and slings.

The app is free and available on iTunes for iPhone users and Google Play for Android users. You can also visit the Changing Places website to learn more about Changing Places toilets.

Disabled Motoring app

Disabled Motoring UK app

Disabled Motoring UK is a campaigning charity and magazine that aims to make life easier for disabled drivers, passengers and Blue Badge holders. Its app allows you to find accredited disabled parking, get help refuelling your vehicle and browse information on Blue Badges, as well as the latest news from the charity.

The app is free to download on iOS and Android devices but, for a fee, there are additional benefits you can sign up for. Becoming an online member will give you access to the members’ area on its website, as well as a monthly newsletter.

Alternatively, you can become a full/associate member and receive the monthly magazine and discounts on everyday goods, from groceries to holidays. It’ll also enable you to get help with motoring-related problems, such as parking tickets and local authority issues. The full/associate membership will cost £24 a year.

To find out more about Disabled Mobility UK, visit its website, and download the app on iTunes or Google Play.

Physiotherapy Exercises

Physiotherapy Exercises app for disabled people

The Physiotherapy Exercises app contains more than 1,000 images illustrating 600 exercises suitable for those with spinal cord injury and neurological conditions. Search, select and save exercises for future reference and even suggest others if you wish.

Developed by physiotherapists, this is an invaluable source that does not require an internet connection once downloaded. Get the Physiotherapy Exercises app for free on iTunes.

Red Panic button app

Red Panic Button app

To be able to immediately and urgently notify a number of contacts of your whereabouts can be hugely beneficial if you’re disabled. If you’re older, have learning disabilities, or live on your own but rely on others, you might want to consider the Red Panic Button.

One tap of the red button sends alerts to your contacts via text, email, Facebook and Twitter. All you need to do is enter the details of those you wish to alert ahead of using the app, and they will receive a Google Maps link with your location.

Many features are free to both Android and iOS users, though there is the option to upgrade at a fee, which means you can even send a photo attachment and record a 10-second voice message with your alert. Gain more independence and security with this handy and easy to use Red Panic Button app by visiting iTunes or Google Play.

Guide Dots app

Guide Dots navigation app

Guide Dots is a free Android app for people who are visually impaired. By combining Google maps, Facebook and powerful crowdsourcing technology, Guide Dots creates a broader and richer sense of the world around you.

You can experience an audio journey of your surroundings by easily instructing the app to give you building and route information through voice commands. It’ll also give you alerts when friends are nearby.

This is another community-driven app, so as more people use it, more information and detail will be available. Get involved by visiting the Guide Dots website.

If you’re visually impaired, check out our article on the top apps and gadgets for people with sight loss.

Have You Heard

Have You Heard voice amplification app

Designed for people with hearing impairments, this app will amplify voices around you so that you can better understand conversations with people in busy and loud places, such as with a friend in a restaurant or a colleague in a meeting.

You can focus on conversations either close by or further away by using the ‘focus near/far’ feature, and adjust the volume to suit you. If you still haven’t quite heard something, you can replay the last 20 seconds of a conversation at the press of a button.

To use it, you’ll need to connect a headphone to your phone. It’s free and only available on iTunes for iPhone users.

Uber taxis app

Uber app for disabled people

Having a disability means that public transport often isn’t an option, leaving you to rely on taxis. To stop you getting stranded, you can download the Uber app, allowing you to request a taxi ride from where you are using your phone.

To do so, simply create an account with your card or PayPal – no cash required – and select a vehicle to suit your needs. If you do want to plan ahead, the Scheduled Rides feature allows you to book a vehicle up to 30 days in advance.

Uber has two services aimed at helping disabled passengers get around. Its uberACCESS taxis are equipped with a rear-entry ramp and four-point restraints, enabling wheelchair users to ride safely and comfortably with one additional passenger. Its other accessible service, uberASSIST, is designed for those who don’t need a wheelchair-accessible vehicle, but require additional assistance on their journey.

All uberACCESS and uberASSIST partners have received Disability Equality Training from Transport for All and Inclusion London, and both cost the same as using uberX, one of Uber’s lowest-cost services.

UberACCESS (previously called uberWAV) is available in London, Manchester and Birmingham, and uberASSIST is available in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Leeds, and Sheffield. There are plans to roll out both into other areas soon.

Uber is free to download to Android and iOS phones, from Google Play or iTunes.

By Carrie Aimes and Emma Purcell

 

via Assistive technology: top 10 apps for disabled people

, , , ,

Leave a comment

%d bloggers like this: