Mobile phone and tablet technology is changing the world. People are more connected than ever and, thanks to ingenious apps and inventions, can expand their lives and participate in new activities and learn new skills.
Another advantage of the mobile-connected world is the way it is helping us to navigate the world around us. Whether it’s using Google Maps to find our way home from somewhere unfamiliar, or scouring online reviews so that we can find the best restaurants when we’re on holiday, so many things are available at our fingertips that previous generations had no access to.
For disabled people, too, apps can be life changing. Functionality that, in the past, might have cost hundreds or thousands of pounds can be available for a few dollars or even for free, and app and software developers are racing to create the best products that will make a real difference to people’s lives.
Here are some of our favourite apps that are currently available for disabled people to benefit from:
Emergency Info is an app that anybody could benefit from, but that would work incredibly effectively for disabled or elderly people. It is a simple idea but incredibly effective; the user inputs their personal information and the contact details of their next of kin in case of emergencies. It also has space for details of medical problems and any medication the user is taking.
Tap to Talk
Tap to Talk is an app that can verbalise words for somebody who has trouble with their speech. The user simply clicks on words or symbols that are on the screen and the app ‘speaks’ on their behalf.
For anybody who has problems communicating, this app could make a significant difference to how well they can cope with their daily life.
For Deaf people, not being able to make telephone calls can make life more difficult than it is for people who can hear. Roger Voice is an app that translates what a person says on the phone into text on the user’s screen, enabling telephone calls to happen even if one or both of the parties can’t hear.
Who would have thought that a free mobile phone app could become a potential replacement for hearing aids? When a user plugs headphones into their phone or tablet device, SoundAMP Lite amplifies the noise around them, but avoids the problem that a lot of hearing aid users face with unwanted background noises being amplified along with the speech or music they want to listen to.
Be My Eyes
For blind and visually impaired people, it is often the simplest issues that cause the biggest problems. Does this top match these trousers? Is this food out of date? Where is the exit to this shop?
Be My Eyes pairs up blind and visually impaired people with volunteers around the world who are willing to be their eyes. The blind person would use their phone’s camera to take a photo or video of what they are trying to see, and the volunteer can interpret it on their behalf.
For children and adults with learning disabilities, certain daily tasks can be confusing and difficult to remember. Stepping Stones is an app that allows users to create visual guides, or paths, to remind them of – or help them understand – regular activities such as making toast or doing the washing.
This can make a really big difference to a person’s independence – allowing them to manage tasks that have been difficult in the past, or learn to do new things that interest them or are important for living independently.