The growing field of new technology has broadened horizons for many people with disabilities in quite a spectacular way. There are several great new tools on the market that can assist a disabled person and help them live fuller and more independent lives. These tools can also provide a greater sense of safety and wellbeing for disabled people.
The Kapten PLUS Personal Navigation Device was developed to assist the visually impaired and enable them to travel alone. Designed along the lines of a GPS system, the Kapten PLUS is more personalized and can help the visually impaired to travel solo more often and with confidence.
Routes and destinations can be programmed into the device ahead of time using a combination of buttons and voice commands. Routes using public transport systems can also be programmed and the device will guide a person from starting point to their destination. On route, the device will announce how many stops the public transport train or bus will make.
Walking routes can also be planned and executed quite easily with this device. The Kapten PLUS informs what streets lie ahead and which way the person needs to turn in order to reach the destination.
The Kapten PLUS is small and can fit in a person’s closed hand. It doesn’t have a screen but relies on speech to operate. Earbuds are available when using the voice controls in a public place. This device uses batteries and will operate for approximately 5 hours on one charge. A spare battery pack can be recharged ahead of time and utilized for any additional operating time.
Another great innovation is the DEKA Robotic Arm developed by Dean Kamen. This invention gives the user an incredible degree of mobility that’s never been seen in prosthetics before. The DEKA Robotic Arm, nicknamed the “Luke” Arm, for the famous character Luke Skywalker from the Star Wars movie, can perform precise and intricate tasks. The wearer can pick up a banana, peel the fruit and eat it. It can even peel a small piece of fruit, such as a grape. Tasks such as peeling fruit was an impossible accomplishment for a prosthetic arm before the invention of the incredible DEKA Robotic Arm or the Luke Arm.
The Luke Arm was carefully designed to be lightweight, controllable, agile, and modular. These are four specific characteristics Dean Karmen worked hard to give his invention. Weighing less than 8 pounds, this amazing robotic arm has 12 microprocessors that all work together to give feedback in order to help with agility and control. Sensors are located in strategic places and are connected to a small vibrating motor that will alert the person that the arm is moving out of set parameters or using too much force for the task.
Originally designed for soldiers that had lost one or both arms fighting in combat, the Luke Arm has the potential to allow these soldiers to perform tasks of everyday living they weren’t capable of executing since the loss of their limbs.
Another very useful tool on the market is the Intel Reader. This remarkable device uses Text-To-Speech software, or TTS, that can help visually impaired people read text. Like closed captioning services for the deaf, this technology can help the blind, and also persons with dyslexia or other learning disabilities that are unable to read. It can be of great assistance to disabled children attending school or to visually impaired adults seeking to further their education for job advancement.
TTS will scan the text using a built-in camera system and convert the photograph into digital content. Then the Intel Reader will read the information aloud in a natural-sounding voice to the visually impaired person.
Since reading is so necessary for daily life, this valuable tool can prove to be very helpful to a disabled person. Besides providing important information, this tool also provides entertainment for the visually impaired.