Eye tracking technology is an incredible tool for helping people lead fuller lives, despite medical conditions that affect mobility. This technology is assisting so many people, whether they have spinal cord injuries, ALS, cerebral palsy, or are living with disability due to stroke. However, eye tracking technologies aren’t the only innovations working to improve lives.
Here are four assistive technologies you should know, which are improving people’s lives every day:
Sip and puff switch
This assistive device works similarly to the single-switch technology. Using this device, a person can control their breathing actions to communicate on/off signals to software on a computer or mechanisms on a wheelchair. Combining this hardware with a variety of software applications can help create a custom system for the user’s particular needs.
Voice recognition software
If a patient is able to speak clearly, another option for computer use is to install software that allows him or her to control the computer by speaking. However, some people with motor disabilities (such as cerebral palsy) may have difficulties speaking so that the software recognizes them. If that is not the case, voice recognition software can help people with disabilities surf the Internet, use email and other online tasks.
If someone has very limited mobility, a single-switch access device might be a good option. Even if the user can move only his or her head, for example, the switch can be placed to the side of the head so the user can click it with head movements. Special software on a computer interprets this head clicking, allowing the user to navigate the web. This type of system can be enhanced with auto-complete features for further ease of control.
Eye tracking technology
Eye tracking devices help individuals with no control, or only limited control, over their hand movements. Eye trackers follow the movement of the eyes to allow a person to navigate the web and to type on custom screens. People living with a number of disabilities and degenerative diseases are benefiting from eye tracking technology, including patients with ALS (Lou Gehrig’s disease), multiple sclerosis, brain injuries, muscular dystrophy, cerebral palsy, spinal cord injuries and more. Eye tracking devices allow users to harness the power of their eyes to communicate with the world.