Assistive technologies include hardware and low-tech solutions that improve the quality of life of persons with disabilities: special keyboards, alternative commands, communication aids, ergonomic aids, and special software.
Assistive technology services are classified according to the task in which it performs. Some of the tasks include:
- stability, sitting, and mobility
- access to computers
- motor aspects of writing
- writing text
- learning difficulties – reading, mathematics
- daily life activities and appliance management
- rest and recreation
Read more about assistive technology services below.
Assistive technology services used by the visually impaired include screen readers. These programs verbalize images and text, including names and descriptions of control buttons, menus, text, and characters’ punctuation. The screen reader converts the graphical interface to the audio interface.
There are special devices and programs for blind people that allow them to scan books and texts. They turn them into an electronic form and convert spoken text to sign language for the hearing and speech impaired.
Speech recognition systems or programs enable people to give commands and enter data using a voice instead of a mouse or keyboard.
Assistive technology services for hearing problems include:
- Portable word processors
- Signaling devices (visual or vibrating bell)
- Systems with additional non-verbal information
- Light signals on a computer
- Telephone amplifier
- Personal amplifier/hearing system aid
- Inductive loop as amplifier and sound filter
- FM Amplifier System
- System infrared signals
- Mobile phones as assistive technology
For people whose only or most reliable movement is head movement, the Tracker Pro may be the best solution. This device has two essential components: a small compact camera that attaches to the monitor of the computer and a target that is placed on the user’s forehead or glasses. The high-resolution camera allows the Tracker Pro for drawing, writing, or whatever applications require precise cursor control.
Tracking eye movements by a camera mounted on a computer screen. Eye-tracking devices intend for people who they are not able to move their hands.
Sophisticated software determines where a user’s view is directed and uses it as a cursor for computer control and management. A series of menu keys and exit keys allow users to use Eyegaze and communicate with the environment. There is no need to reset if the user is away and returns later.
Tobii PCEye Go – an eye-tracking device that facilitates access to a computer for people who cannot use their hands. It is a replacement for a standard mouse, so it can use to control the computer by eyes. This device can be used on computers running the Windows operating system. The device connects to the computer via a USB port, much like an ordinary mouse or keyboard. That is easy to carry, as well as plug and unplug. Tobii PCEye Go processes data so it does not burden the computer or tablet. The operation of the device is not affected by light conditions, contact lenses, glasses, or eye color.
Finally, the Kinect for Xbox360 is a device that allows the user to interact with the console without any physical joystick controller, which means that the user communicates with the Xbox only through physical movements and voice commands. Calibration or adjustment is simple.