How Technology helps people with disabilities
Technology is advancing at such a fast rate these days that it’s hard to imagine what we can’t do. Is anything really impossible in the face of tech? But a lot of technological advancement is directed towards just making the big bucks. People are wondering what the latest iPhone will look like or what the next smart-device will be. Now, don’t get me wrong these things are very useful, I don’t know what I’d do without my phone or my laptop where I can have pretty much everything at the touch of a button. But, I can’t say that the technology that I use really benefits anyone. I use technology for entertainment purposes, as I’m sure a lot of us do. But, what if we could direct the production of new technology towards innovative ways of helping people. What I’m trying to say is: technology could be used in a more useful way than purely for entertainment purposes.
Within society, often a group that faces a lot of discrimination are people with disabilities. Especially, in the current political climate with President Trump ridiculing and publicly humiliating people with disabilities. I find it shocking that still, in 2017, of people with disabilities between the ages of 16 and 64 less than 27% of them are employed, while 68% of these people are actually seeking employment. This is not something that we should be tolerating and so collectively we need to look to other sources of power to help change the stereotypes that society has branded those who are less able. That other source of power can come from technology.
Technology has the ability to aid those with disabilities to allow them to go about their daily lives with a lot more ease. From hearing aids for the hearing impaired to a self-driving autonomous car, technology has the power to let anyone do anything. And, what’s amazing is that there are so many new products now on the market for people to use.
One product which I think is such a great idea is an app called ‘Be My Eyes’. Its function is to bring together people who are both visually impaired and those who are sighted. The app has created an online community which matches people together. If a blind person has a problem or a question they can go on to the app and the app will match them via video call with someone sighted to help. For example, if someone wanted to see the expiration date on a carton of milk they could ask someone else to read it for them. It’s as simple and easy as that. The app currently has over 600,000 sighted people and over 45,000 blind people using it. The app works around the volunteers’ schedule so if someone doesn’t have time to help, then the visually impaired will be matched with a different volunteer. It also gives you points once you’ve helped someone out which means that it encourages more and more people to get involved and become a part of the community. This app is a great idea as it uses technology as just a platform for help but really it brings people together. This bridges the gap that society has created between those with a disability and those without and I think it’s such a quick and easy thing for people to do. If this sounds like something you’d be interested in, you can download the app on the Apple Store and the Google Play Store.
With technology progressing at the rate it is I think it’s only right that we direct it towards benefiting people through apps such as ‘Be My Eyes’ or cars that can drive themselves or medicinal functions that can change a person’s life. It’s about time that we start progressing at the rate that technology is and aim to leave no one behind.