The Impact of Emerging Technology Trends for Individuals with Disabilities
Join WATAP Assistive Technology Specialists Maria Kelley, OTL/R, ATP and Gaby de Jongh, ATACP for an ATIA sponsored webinar on emerging technology.
Five years ago, the landscape of technology looked very different than it does today. Apple released the iPad taking the novel technology of touch screen computing and gesture control to new levels. Sony and Microsoft marketed their body tracking motion controllers for their gaming systems allowing users to interact with other video gamers without having to hold a physical controller, instead they use their own body to move, interact, and trigger actions in the game world. These mainstream devices were intended for the general public, however the specific technology involved that makes using these products unique also have application that address functional needs for people with disabilities. These technologies have been integrated into everyday devices, and now individuals that have physical disabilities can use mainstream products on their own, without adaptation. This is just one example of emerging technology and its impact on individuals with disabilities.
During our presentation, we will delve further into the arena of emerging technologies. We will discuss what new types of wearable electronics are being developed to help monitor health needs, store data and deliver feedback to the wearer and to health care professionals, and can then deliver medication remotely. We will discuss the phenomena of Sixth Sense Technology and how we use this technology to bridge the gap between our digital devices and our physical world, allowing us to interact with devices and information via gestures. The use of robotics for encouraging social interaction for young children on the Autism spectrum, and telepresence robotics for remote elder care and as an alternate way for homebound students to interact with their classmates and teachers will be addressed. We have noticed trends with Smart Home technology, environmental control, and complete home automation however, no one has really addressed the ethics surrounding in home monitoring of the individual; we will touch on this topic as well. Finally, we will showcase devices that were specifically developed to address specific functional needs of individuals with disabilities, such as smart memory aids for individuals with cognitive disabilities, speech controlled devices that allow individuals with physical disabilities to perform multiple functions hands free, 3D printing as a teaching tool for individuals with visual impairments, smart apps that allow deaf or hard of hearing individuals to have face to face communication with hearing individuals in real time, and the importance and implications of crowdsource funding in reaching the financial goals of developing these types of technologies.