Types of Assistive Technology

Many people with disabilities rely on assistive technologies to carry out daily tasks and contribute actively and productively to their communities.

According to Coherent Industry Insights, the global assistive technology market would grow to $26 billion by 2024, nearly doubling from $14 billion in 2015. Zion Market Research is even more upbeat about the industry’s prospects, forecasting $31 billion in revenue in 2024 and a 7.4% yearly growth rate.

This article summarizes the various types of assistive technology.

Braille Notetaker

A braille device is a compact, portable electronic device that is used to write and read information in braille. The braille notetaker can synthesize speech and display braille test.

These notetakers are used by the blind, deaf-blind and visually handicapped to write, read, and take notes.

Braille notetakers do more than transform information into braille – they can also access the internet and have email functionality. Advanced models may include media players, clocks, calendars and PDF readers.

Single Switch Entry Devices

Single Switch Entry devices can be used standalone but are generally used with other input devices such as on-screen keyboards. The cursor moves over the keys and the user clicks the switch when the key they want is in focus.

When used on a browser, the pointer moves over the screen and the user can activate the switch if they want to click on a link or button that is in focus.

Dot

Dot is a “wearable” that also happens to be the first Braille smartwatch in the world. Dot is a realistic solution for the blind that is less expensive than traditional e-Braille systems, which can cost thousands of dollars. Dot allows blind people to access messages, tweets, and even books from any location and at any time.

This technology works by placing six dots on four cells on the smartwatch’s surface. It can pair with any smartphone through Bluetooth. Once paired it can retrieve and convert text (from an email or messaging app) into Braille.

Electronic Magnifiers

Unsurprisingly a text magnifier amplifies text. Electronic magnifiers are available in a variety of sizes and configurations. Some include camera system which displays a magnified image on a monitor.

It is beneficial when reading and performing daily duties. It is also useful for people who are color blind or have a sensitivity to glare.

Some electronic magnifiers are portable and hand-held, making them convenient to use on the go or in the classroom.

Text Reader

People with learning difficulties often have difficulty in reading. A text reader is helpful in this situation as it can synthesize voice to read the text and may include a highlighter to highlight keywords. One drawback is that text readers read text only and cannot identify multimedia such as images.