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Technology has afforded us so many advantages, and those with disabilities have received many upgrades in quality of life as a result. The visually impaired  have been the recipients of some great improvements in their ability to compute and function more independently.

Amazon Echo Frames

Amazon Echo Frames

Assistive Technology for the Visually Impaired via Augmented Reality (AR) Glasses

Visual impairments are very common, and there also side effects of many injuries and diseases. We have written about screen readers and ‘on screen text’ magnifiers in the past.  There are also special monitors to help those with light sensitivity (or photophobia) use a computer.

Now, for all users, including the visually impaired, there are more sophisticated tools being released that will augment their ability to navigate daily life. For instance, the Amazon Echo Frames Glasses, which are 'smart glasses.' These glasses will communicate with an Amazon Echo Dot and allow the wearer to ask questions about where they are and what they are looking at.  When away from home, the Amazon Echo Frames Glasses will be able to communicate with the Echo Dot via Bluetooth in the wearer's Android or iPhone device.  For more about the Amazon Echo Dot, see our article about smart home devices here.

The recently released Envision Glasses are also great for the visually impaired, as they audibly read back text that is in the wearer's line of sight. There is a great website called Everyday Sight that is a wonderful resource about technologies and products that the sight-impaired can utilize, along with great software designed just for this audience.

Apple AR Glasses

Apple has been developing augmented reality (AR) Glasses that will synchronize with the user's iPhone to bring info like texts and emails in to the wearer's field of vision.  With Apple's strong history of accessibility features, there is little doubt that these will also benefit those who are visually impaired, and the elderly as well.

Brain Power "Empowered Brain" Glasses System for Autism

Brain Power Glasses

Brain Power Glasses

Brain Power has developed a form of  glasses and software that helps students with autism, ADHD, and other social-emotional challenges learn the life skills crucial for happy self-sufficiency.  Their Empowered Brain™ is designed to teach 'social-emotional learning (SEL),' and help wearers achieve new levels of independence.

Windows Eye Control Integration

We have written about the benefits of "eye trackers", which allow you to control your mouse and computer with your eyes.  These are great for those with movement disabilities.  There is a new development in that Windows computers are increasingly compatible with these devices. The feature is in a beta/testing phase in Windows 10 and will be more fully realized in Windows 11. You can visit the Microsoft website to read about this integration.

WOW Computers  For the Elderly

WOW Computers for the Elderly

My WOW Computers for the Elderly

Assistive technology for the elderly is an area that is going to explode with new developments in the coming years. One such product is the My WOW Computer - designed for the elderly.

Not only does the My WOW Computer have a large screen that is easy to see, it also has touch capabilities so that seniors who are suffering with arthritis and might have a difficulty using a mouse or keyboard can easily select options that are on the screen and browse the web, send emails, etc.

Get in Touch with an Expert at Northwest Ergonomics & Assistive Technology

Northwest Ergonomics and Assistive Technology is here to help with your assistive technology needs. Our trained  experts will consult with you to understand your specific needs and provide solutions that really work. We help people of all ages who have experienced an injury or other disability.

It is important to our caring specialists that you really get the benefit of these wonderful advancements in technology. For that reason we specialize in training and follow-up to make sure that everything is working as effectively as possible for you.

To contact us, use the form on our contact page, or call 206-707-8830

What is Assistive Technology?

Assistive technology describes any device that helps “assist” people with injuries or disabilities. Most typically, this label is applied to software that enhances one’s ability to use a computer. There are some wonderful tools available so that people who are visually impaired, or even blind, can take advantage of computers and technology.

Assistive Technology for the Blind and Visually Impaired

In the case of blind people and those who have “low vision” (or are visually impaired) it’s very common that they will take advantage of

JAWS® Screen Reader

JAWS® ,developed by Freedom Scientific, is the world’s most popular screen reader. JAWS® stands for Job Access With Speech. This software is voice activated in reads the screen out (on Windows devices) out loud to computer users whose vision loss prevents them from seeing screen content or navigating with a mouse.

JAWS provides speech and Braille output for the most popular computer applications on your PC. You will be able to navigate the Internet, write a document, read an e-mail, and create presentations from your office, remote desktop, or from home.

ZoomText and Fusion Professional

The company called ZoomText has developed its namesake software to magnify ‘on-screen’ text for those who have visual impairment (or “low vision” individuals).

A related product is “Fusion”, named such because it combines both the ZoomText, functionality with the JAWS® product discussed above. So users can get the magnified text as well as the screen reading functionality.

Accessible Feature Mobile Phones for People with Visual Impairments

At the time of this guide's publication, three feature phones stood out for their accessibility.

The Kyocera Kona and Kyocera Verve

Offered by Sprint/T-Mobile, the Kona is flip phone that includes a feature set that helps make it accessible to visually impaired individuals. The Verve is a candy-bar style phone is also available either with or without a contract. The Verve offers a slide out keyboard for those who wish to text frequently with accessibility. Read reviews for both the Verve and the Kona from AFB AccessWorld.

The Odin VI

The Odin VI

The Odin VI from Odin Mobile, a third-party cell provider that specializes in serving those with visual impairments, is a candy-bar style phone with a slide-out keypad. Read a review of the Odin VI in AFB AccessWorld.

Get in Touch with an Expert at Northwest Ergonomics & Assistive Technology

Northwest Ergonomics and Assistive Technology is here to help with your assistive technology needs. Our trained  experts will consult with you to understand your specific needs and provide solutions that really work. We help people of all ages who have experienced any kind of disability.

It is important to our caring specialists that you really get the benefit of these wonderful advancements in technology. For that reason we specialize in training and follow-up to make sure that everything is working as effectively as possible for you.

To contact us, use the form on our contact page, or call 206-707-8830

 

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