Decades ago, having a disability meant making many compromises on how you could live life, as well as relying on other people. However, today’s technology has advanced to the point that it no longer has to be a ‘lesser’ existence where someone is prevented from living their lives to their full potential.
Many Brits are living with a disability and rely daily on technology to help improve their mobility and lives overall. Improvements are continuously being made to provide even better options for people. So much so, that in the next few decades, the lines between able-bodied and disabled individuals might begin to blur entirely. But what are these marvellous inventions and how might they evolve in the coming years?
Driverless cars – Major companies such as Uber have already piloted self-driving cars and are rolling them out in various parts of the world, primarily in the US. This is one advancement that would have a monumental impact on the lives of disabled people as far as independence is concerned. Even those who cannot use their lower limbs will be able to own their own vehicle and take charge of their own destinies. We’re still a few years away from widespread adoption, of course, but it’s no longer the stuff of science fiction.
Smart devices – These are already a major part of people’s everyday lives and have already had a major improvement on the lives of people living with limited mobility. The Amazon Echo with Alexa has become a common feature of living rooms around the world and can be used with simple voice commands to control everything from the thermostat to the television. Smartphones can also be fitted with apps that allow disabled users of all kinds and apps like DisableGo, that gives those who require disabled access to a building exclusive access prior to their arrival.
Solar-powered wheelchairs – This product would help alleviate the pain and repetitive strain that comes with having to manually push or be pushed. Again, this will also provide more freedom for users to travel freely and independently. At the moment, these chairs are only at the prototype stage but it’s a concept that could really take off as solar panels become smaller and more efficient. Even better, how about a solar-powered stair climbing wheelchair? A group of Swiss students have already completed the prototype, so this could be a viable option for many to benefit from in the not too distant future.
Wearable technology – Smartwatches such as the Apple Watch allow in-depth visibility on a patients health in real-time, which will help alert the relevant care providers to ensure they are being checked on constantly. It will also ensure that any changes in health can be reacted to quickly and effectively. The latest Apple Watch is even able to accurately track the levels of oxygen in your blood and we’ve only just scratched the surface as far as the potential is concerned.