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[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

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[WEB SITE] This Smart Glove Could Be the Future of Physical Therapy

BY  01.10.2019

Rapael Smart Glove (Photo Credit: Neofect)

Recovering after a stroke isn’t easy, but Neofect is here to help patients track their rehabilitation progress with an innovative wearable solution.

At CES 2019, the company exhibited its Rapael Smart Glove, a high-tech rehab device that helps stroke patients improve their hand movements. The device also syncs with an app, where patients can play rehabilitation games and track milestones.

Neofect didn’t disclose a price for the Rapael Smart Glove, but customers can go on the company’s website to buy it. The Rapael Smart Glove is also available for clinics that need stroke rehabilitation equipment.

https://mashable.com/videos/blueprint:yanmAj9rnK/embed/?player=offsite?wmode=transparent

Using the Rapael Smart Glove is very easy: Gently slide on the device, connect to the Rapael App with a smartphone or tablet, and play a variety of rehabilitation games. The app’s fun games include virtual tennis matches and house painting, and they’re available in different levels to balance challenge and motivation. Plus, the Rapael App collects practice data for patients, so they can track their hand recovery progress.

With the Rapael Smart Glove, patients can practice hand exercises and improve dexterity over time. An advantage of the Rapael Smart Glove is that it can help stroke patients who might not have immediate access to hospitals or physical therapy facilities, so they can work on their hand movements without leaving home.

“We aim to help patients all around the world including, but not limited to, those unable to receive appropriate treatment due to economic or geographic reasons,” says Neofect’s website. “By providing rehab training products and services that are available anytime and anywhere, we are committed to improving patient’s rehab experiences and quality of life.”

 

via This Smart Glove Could Be the Future of Physical Therapy – Geek.com

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[Abstract] Mobile Game-based Virtual Reality Program for Upper Extremity Stroke Rehabilitation

Abstract

Stroke rehabilitation requires repetitive, intensive, goal-oriented therapy. Virtual reality (VR) has the potential to satisfy these requirements. Game-based therapy can promote patients’ engagement in rehabilitation therapy as a more interesting and a motivating tool. Mobile devices such as smartphones and tablet PCs can provide personalized home-based therapy with interactive communication between patients and clinicians. In this study, a mobile VR upper extremity rehabilitation program using game applications was developed. The findings from the study show that the mobile game-based VR program effectively promotes upper extremity recovery in patients with stroke. In addition, patients completed two weeks of treatment using the program without adverse effects and were generally satisfied with the program. This mobile game-based VR upper extremity rehabilitation program can substitute for some parts of the conventional therapy that are delivered one-on-one by an occupational therapist. This time-efficient, easy to implement, and clinically effective program would be a good candidate tool for tele-rehabilitation for upper extremity recovery in patients with stroke. Patients and therapists can collaborate remotely through these e-health rehabilitation programs while reducing economic and social costs.

 

via Mobile Game-based Virtual Reality Program for Upper Extremity Stroke Rehabilitation. – PubMed – NCBI

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[Thesis] Mobile Tablet-Based Stroke Rehabilitation in the Acute Care Setting – uOttawa Research

Title: Mobile Tablet-Based Stroke Rehabilitation in the Acute Care Setting
Authors: Pugliese, Michael
Date: 2017
Abstract: Introduction: The number of stroke survivors living with post-stroke deficits is increasing worldwide. Although stroke rehabilitation can improve these deficits and promote the recovery of function when initiated early post-stroke, many survivors are not able to access rehabilitation because of a lack of resources. Early mobile tablet-based stroke rehabilitation may be a feasible means of improving access to recovery promoting therapies.

Objective: To summarize and advance the knowledge of early mobile tablet-based therapies (MTBTs) for stroke survivors with regards to feasibility and barriers to care.

Methods: This thesis is comprised of two major studies. (1) A scoping review summarizing the literature for MTBTs following stroke. (2) A cohort study testing the feasibility of a MTBT for post-stroke communication, cognitive, and fine-motor deficits.

Results: (1) Twenty-three studies of MTBTs following stroke were identified. Most of these therapies targeted communication or fine-motor deficits, and involved patients in the chronic stages of stroke. Barriers to care were summarized. (2) A 48% recruitment rate was achieved and therapy was administered a median of four days post-stroke. However, therapy adherence was very low because of frequently encountered barriers to care.

Conclusions: Stroke survivors are interested in using tablet technology to assist with their post-stroke recovery. However, early MTBT post-stroke may be challenging for some survivors because of encountered barriers to care. Regular patient-therapist communication using a convenient method of interaction appears necessary to minimize barriers and to help patients overcome barriers when they occur.

URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10393/37016
http://dx.doi.org/10.20381/ruor-21288
Collection Thèses, 2011 – // Theses, 2011 –

Full Text PDF

via Recherche uO Research: Mobile Tablet-Based Stroke Rehabilitation in the Acute Care Setting

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[WEB SITE] Stroke rehabilitation device lets the patient do the shocking

 

When a person’s arm has become paralyzed due to a stroke, therapists often try to get it moving again using what’s known as functional electrical stimulation – this involves delivering electric shocks to the arm, causing its muscles to move. Studies have shown, however, that it works better when the patient is in charge of delivering those shocks themselves. A new device lets them do so, and it has met with promising results.

The system was developed by Intento, a company affiliated with Switzerland’s EPFL research institute. It consists of three parts: electrodes that the patient places on their arm, a controller that is operated by their “good” hand, and a tablet running custom software.

The therapist starts by selecting a desired arm movement on the tablet, and then loading it into the controller. A display on the tablet’s screen then shows the patient where the electrodes should be placed. Once those are attached, the patient sets about using the controller to deliver shocks to their arm muscles, resulting in the targeted movement – this could be something like pressing a button or picking up an object.

Ideally, once the action has been repeated enough times, the muscles will be “trained” and it will be possible for the patient to perform the movement without any external stimulation.

In a clinical trial performed at Lausanne University Hospital, 11 severely stroke-paralyzed patients – for whom other therapies hadn’t worked – used for the device for 1.5-hour daily sessions, over a course of 10 days. A claimed 70 percent of them subsequently “showed a significant improvement in their motor functions,” as opposed to just 30 percent who were undergoing conventional occupational therapy.

A larger clinical study is now being planned, after which the device will hopefully be commercialized. The research is described in a paper that was recently published in the journal Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.

Source: EPFL

Source: Stroke rehabilitation device lets the patient do the shocking

 

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[Conference paper] VRAndroid System Based on Cognitive Therapeutic Exercises for Stroke Patients – Abstract+References

Abstract

It is presented VRAndroid System designed in Android and implemented on an Android Tablet, the system consists in a set of nine shapes based on cognitive therapeutic exercises for the motor rehabilitation in upper limbs, this tools provides perceptive feedback (vibration) to the patient as he follows the correct shape with his finger. There are two performed rehabilitation phases: (1) Through the Perffeti Technique (15 sessions), (2) Through VRAndroid System (15 sessions), the evolution and results of the rehabilitation are evaluated by the BOX AND BLOCK test, which shows that, the rehabilitation through this techniques help in the motor recovery of the upper limbs, moreover, the VRAndroid System is a useful tool to be used as a traditional rehabilitation supplement.

Source: VRAndroid System Based on Cognitive Therapeutic Exercises for Stroke Patients | SpringerLink

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[WEB SITE] 5 Top Apps For People With Limited Mobility – Assistive Technology Blog

 

This post was written by Andrew Atkinson from www.mobilitysmart.cc.

Using a wheelchair or mobility scooter can mean that certain places and activities are off-limits.

The world is not designed for people on wheels. Many with disabilities, including the elderly, find themselves restricted in their day-to-day lives.

Technology can help. As well as specific gadgets and devices, users of wheelchairs and scooters can get a lot from iPads and Android tablets.

Here are five of the best apps for people with limited mobility. Why not add an iPad holder to your electric or manual wheelchair, then check out these five applications to add to your device?

Wheelmap

Perhaps the most useful app that you can add to your device.

Wheelmap categorises buildings and public spaces as fully accessible, partially accessible or not accessible, so that you can see where your wheelchair will fit.

This is an app for everyone to get involved with. Many places are still categorised as unknown, so any user can contribute for the benefit of others.

In some towns and cities, Wheelmap is an extremely valuable and detailed resource. In others, it has the potential to be a wheelchair-user’s best digital friend.

Wheelmate

Whilst Wheelmap covers buildings, venues and public spaces, Wheelmate focuses specifically on life’s little practicalities – wheelchair accessible toilets and parking spaces.

The premise is much the same, though the aim is different. Wheelmate also includes mention of which car parks are free, and which you’ll need to pay for.

Skype

Navigating the world often requires two hands.

Install Skype to your device, clip it to your wheelchair or mobility scooter and talk to friends and family on the go.

Skype’s video call functionality makes it incredibly easy to have phonecalls whilst  in your local supermarket. Which flavour pasta sauce did your husband ask for, again?

Uber

For long-distance travel, Uber is a valuable app.

Uber taxis come in all shapes and sizes. You can book one at the touch of a button.

What’s more, you can specifically look for wheelchair accessible vehicles!

You don’t even need cash when you book your taxi. The service offers cashless payment, which is ideal if you’re stuck and need a little help getting home.

Tecla Access

The Tecla Access product is designed to make your smartphone or tablet completely hands-free. It’s ideal if you need to be occupied controlling your wheels, rather than controlling your phone.

Tecla is designed for mobility scooters and electric wheelchairs, and it does require the purchase of additional equipment. But, once it’s set up, you can use motions like blinking and blowing, and can also use the controls on your wheelchair or scooter, to access every feature on your usually-handheld device.

With the right app combination, you can use Tecla Access to control every aspect of your home as well. This means that it’s easy to develop a smart home that is more accessible than ever before.

Source: 5 Top Apps For People With Limited Mobility – Assistive Technology Blog

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[Abstract] A Rehabilitation-Internet-of-Things in the Home to Augment Motor Skills and Exercise Training

Abstract

Although motor learning theory has led to evidence-based practices, few trials have revealed the superiority of one theory-based therapy over another after stroke. Nor have improvements in skills been as clinically robust as one might hope.

We review some possible explanations, then potential technology-enabled solutions. Over the Internet, the type, quantity, and quality of practice and exercise in the home and community can be monitored remotely and feedback provided to optimize training frequency, intensity, and progression at home. A theory-driven foundation of synergistic interventions for walking, reaching and grasping, strengthening, and fitness could be provided by a bundle of home-based Rehabilitation Internet-of-Things (RIoT) devices. A RIoT might include wearable, activity-recognition sensors and instrumented rehabilitation devices with radio transmission to a smartphone or tablet to continuously measure repetitions, speed, accuracy, forces, and temporal spatial features of movement.

Using telerehabilitation resources, a therapist would interpret the data and provide behavioral training for self-management via goal setting and instruction to increase compliance and long-term carryover. On top of this user-friendly, safe, and conceptually sound foundation to support more opportunity for practice, experimental interventions could be tested or additions and replacements made, perhaps drawing from virtual reality and gaming programs or robots. RIoT devices continuously measure the actual amount of quality practice; improvements and plateaus over time in strength, fitness, and skills; and activity and participation in home and community settings. Investigators may gain more control over some of the confounders of their trials and patients will have access to inexpensive therapies.

Source: A Rehabilitation-Internet-of-Things in the Home to Augment Motor Skills and Exercise Training

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[Abstract] A Rehabilitation-Internet-of-Things in the Home to Augment Motor Skills and Exercise Training

Abstract

Although motor learning theory has led to evidence-based practices, few trials have revealed the superiority of one theory-based therapy over another after stroke. Nor have improvements in skills been as clinically robust as one might hope. We review some possible explanations, then potential technology-enabled solutions. Over the Internet, the type, quantity, and quality of practice and exercise in the home and community can be monitored remotely and feedback provided to optimize training frequency, intensity, and progression at home. A theory-driven foundation of synergistic interventions for walking, reaching and grasping, strengthening, and fitness could be provided by a bundle of home-based Rehabilitation Internet-of-Things (RIoT) devices. A RIoT might include wearable, activity-recognition sensors and instrumented rehabilitation devices with radio transmission to a smartphone or tablet to continuously measure repetitions, speed, accuracy, forces, and temporal spatial features of movement. Using telerehabilitation resources, a therapist would interpret the data and provide behavioral training for self-management via goal setting and instruction to increase compliance and long-term carryover. On top of this user-friendly, safe, and conceptually sound foundation to support more opportunity for practice, experimental interventions could be tested or additions and replacements made, perhaps drawing from virtual reality and gaming programs or robots. RIoT devices continuously measure the actual amount of quality practice; improvements and plateaus over time in strength, fitness, and skills; and activity and participation in home and community settings. Investigators may gain more control over some of the confounders of their trials and patients will have access to inexpensive therapies.

Source: A Rehabilitation-Internet-of-Things in the Home to Augment Motor Skills and Exercise Training

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[WEB SITE] UK Researchers Develop gripAble Arm Physiotherapy Device – Rehab Managment

Published on October 10, 2016

GripableProduct

The gripAble device, developed by researchers from Imperial College London, is a lightweight electronic handgrip that interacts wirelessly with a standard PC tablet to enable users to play arm-training games.

To use the device, patients squeeze, turn, or lift the handgrip, and it vibrates in response to the patients’ performance. A mechanism within the device can detect even tiny flicker movements from severely paralyzed patients and channel them into controlling a computer game.

A study published recently in PLoS ONE notes that, according to the researchers, use of the gripAble device among stroke patients with arm paralysis may help increase the patients’ ability to direct movements on a tablet screen, compared to standard methods such as swiping or tapping, by up to 50%, according to a news release from Imperial College London.

Additionally, they note in the release, the device enabled more than half of the severely disabled patients in the study to engage with arm-training software, whereas none of the patients were able to use conventional control methods such as swiping and tapping on tablets and smartphones.

In the study, carried out at Charing Cross Hospital, part of Imperial College Healthcare Trust, between 2014 and 2015, the device was tested among stroke patients with arm paralysis. The researchers assessed the patients’ ability to use gripAble to control mobile gaming devices such as tablets, and compared this to their use of conventional methods such as swiping and tapping.

According to their examination, 93% of the patients were able to make meaningful movements to direct the cursor as a result of using gripAble. In contrast, 67% of patients were able to use mobile gaming devices by swiping on a tablet. For other types of control over the tablet, such as tapping or using joysticks, the number of patients able to make meaningful movements was lower, the release continues.

The success of the device was most apparent for patients with severe arm weakness, the researchers note: no patients in this group were able to use conventional controls to play training games, whereas 58% could use gripAble.

“We have developed the gripAble device to improve arm and cognitive function of patients who have mild to severe arm weaknesses. Unlike other therapies currently on the NHS, gripAble is a low-cost device, which can be used in hospitals and independently by patients at home. As such it could potentially help save the health service millions of pounds,” says lead researcher Dr Paul Bentley, a clinical senior lecturer at Imperial College London and Honorary Consultant Neurologist at Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, in the release.

“We now intend to further develop the device so we can help more patients who are currently suffering from the effects of poor arm and upper body mobility,” he adds.

[Source(s): Imperial College London, Science Daily]

Source: UK Researchers Develop gripAble Arm Physiotherapy Device – Rehab Managment

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