A Pew Research study estimated that only 62% of adults with any disability in the US claim that they own a desktop or laptop technology. Also, only 72% of persons with disability owns a smartphone. But what about the rest of them that do not have access? They are missing out on what the internet and smart technology have in store for them in terms of lifestyle and convenience, especially those who are visually impaired.
For instance, looking at how Xfinity has accommodated its customers, its visually impaired customers can use the Xfinity remote to use Xfinity services. These Xfinity remotes come with a large button to deliver readability. Another option is to say “Accessibility” on the Xfinity voice remote to reach out to Xfinity customer service about using accessibility features. Hence, smart technology has changed everyone’s lives, including those who are visually impaired.
Smart home technology has opened up the possibilities of innovation to make life better with technology in so many ways.
SMART TECHNOLOGY FOR THE VISUALLY IMPAIRED
For any visually impaired person, his daily life tasks can be very challenging. Sight is one of the most important senses. Without it, navigating simple tasks can become a very big challenge. With the help of smart technology, there are various devices that visually impaired persons can use to make their daily tasks easy, some of which have been discussed below:
Glasses for Virtual Assistance
A visually impaired person can use these glasses as they have cameras in it which transmits the feed to another person at a remote location. From there, the other person guides the user using audio instructions.
If a visually impaired person has to cross a road, then by using such glasses, they can get guidance from the person on the other end of the video feed regarding the situation of the road, traffic, and signs.
Intelligent Camera App
There are phone softwares designed for the visually impaired. With such software, the user can use the camera of their phone and the app can identify the objects. It can help the person navigate through paths and avoid obstacles around them. It can also be used to identify people.
Moreover, the intelligent camera app can also describe facial expressions and emotions and predict their age. It is super useful when shopping to identify the things needed.
Another useful feature is that it can be used to have the written texts read out loud.
Sensors and alarms are very necessary for all homes. For someone with visual impairment, it can be difficult to investigate the source of the alarm. There are numerous alarms, such as smoke alarms, burglar alarms, etc.
These alarms can be incorporated with smart technology to provide audio feedback to the user. Especially when there are many sensors and alarms, the smart sensors can tell the exact location of disturbance to the person thus, making it easier for him to avoid the hazard and act accordingly.
Normal household tasks such as turning on the lights, adjusting the cooling system, controlling the fan, Locking and unlocking doors, and turning switches on and off can be cumbersome tasks for the visually impaired.
Smart home companions such as Alexa can be used to do all these tasks easily. Alexa is a voice-activated home companion which recognizes commands to automate the appliances and home. A visually impaired person can use Alexa for tasks with voice commands such as:
- Turning on and off the TV
- Changing channels and adjusting the volume of the TV
- Adjusting the temperature of the home
- Turning on and off appliances.
- Setting wake-up alarms
- Setting reminders for tasks.
- Reading the news and books.
- Ordering various items and food
- Playing music
- Setting up a daily routine.
People can use Alexa to set up routines like, “Alexa I am going to work”. This can be a command set to turn on the alarm, turn off the lights, turn on the Rumba and lock all the doors. This is just one command that incorporates many devices at once due to smart technology.
Visually impaired people rely on Braille to read. Braille is a system of using etched dots to represent words that the person feels with their finger and each configuration of dots represents a word. Thus, reading for a visually impaired person can be slow and tiresome.
Now, E-Reader has been developed by various companies such as Microsoft, which is a device that can be used by the visually impaired. It can instantly recognize complete sentences and read them to the visually impaired thus saving their time and effort. Apart from Braille E-Reader, there is software such as narrator which read out a lot of any text written.
Life is very challenging for a visually impaired person but due to incorporation of smart technologies in daily life, can provide a lot of comfort and convenience to do tasks that are otherwise difficult.
Aside from being a businessman, Josh Austria has been working in PR and media industry for more more than a decade. From his years of experience as the Marketing and Advertising Head of Village Pipol Magazine, he has built strong relationships with creative people, brands, and organizations.