What Is Assistive Technology About Anyway?
In late September, USA Today published a supplement about assistive technology in select media markets across the country. The article talked about how many people across the country use assistive technology but don’t consider themselves to have disabilities. It made me wonder if people really understand what assistive technology is about.
Think about this:
- Pushing a grocery cart and using the curb cut because it is easier than going over the curb … first developed for people in wheelchairs.
- Working out in the gym and watching TV with captions … developed for people with hearing impairment.
- Voice activated device like phones or magic readers that will turn the page for you on voice command … developed for people who did not have the strength or ability to hold an object.
- Touch screens on iPads or other computers … developed for people who lack dexterity.
All of these technologies were first developed for people with disabilities to increase their independence of daily living, but people who do not consider themselves disabled also use these technologies.
Eventually, we all start to losing mobility and or strength. Some of us will need canes, walkers, or wheelchairs. Some of us will need technology that is still in the development stage. We all know technology never stands still for long. What does the future look like to help us maintain our mobility and independence? It may be about robot suits with exoskeletons that can pick up signals from the brain to get our bodies to do what we need them to do, you never know!
FODAC Board Member
President, Combined Services, Inc.