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Guest post: Assistive tech giving control back to those without use of their hands
This guest post was written by Marina Trushkina of GlassOuse.
According to the World Bank, more than one billion people, or around 15% of the global population, have some form of disability. Millions of these cannot use one or both hands.
For those who have lost the use of their hands, or who have had a condition since birth, everyday tasks can be significant challenges. And even in a world where technology is everything - it entertains us, it helps us accomplish tasks, it lets us keep in touch – disabled people without use of their hands can still find themselves excluded.
The traditional means of using computers and other
devices, whether for work, entertainment or communication purposes – mice,
keyboards, remote controls - are predicated on the user being able to use their
hands. Unemployment rates of physically disabled people are
tremendous, and many are unable to access the bountiful opportunities offered
by the digital age. Surely with all of our technology, and as civilized human
beings, we have a duty to include everyone in society and enable them to
participate in everyday life?
A different approach to digital technology use
It’s very important to not only develop modern technology, but to also provide equal access to it. That’s why we created GlassOuse – an easy to use and relatively inexpensive assistive device which is designed like a pair of glasses but works like a computer mouse via Bluetooth.
Using slight head movements, the user is able to move the
cursor on a phone, tablet, laptop, computer or Smart TV. A small
mouth-controlled “bite-click”, which is connected to the GlassOuse meanwhile,
enables the user to effectively ‘click’ the left and right mouse buttons, using
their teeth or lips, so that they can type, surf the web, and do many other
GlassOuse was originally designed by Mehmet Nemo Turker for his friend, who had suffered a spinal injury during a diving accident in 2014. The technology enabled him to continue to blog and use the internet in other ways, such as online selling.
Enabling computer use
Another user who has utilised GlassOuse to continue to do work
creatively after a life-changing accident is respected Argentinian DJ Luke Santos, who was
paralysed from the shoulders down following a car accident. By using the device
to move the mouse cursor and to click on his computer screen, he has been able
to continue to create music and perform it live.
Other artistic users of the device include painters such as Rosalleen
Moriarty Simmonds OBE and Tom Yendell, but it is of course also equally
suitable for everyday tasks such as writing emails or surfing the web.
Ultimately, we hope that this device will encourage people with different abilities to pursue their dreams, help them give their talents to the world for the benefit of society, and that it will also allow companies to employ people with different abilities. If you’d like to find out more, take a look at the Glassouse website or view a video of the assistive tech in action on YouTube.
Have you used assistive devices like this to access technology? What developments would you like to see in this field? Share your thoughts by commenting below.