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It’s estimated that 17% of people in the Pacific have some sort of disability, which is around 1.7 million people. Many of these disabilities will affect the person’s mobility, whether it’s that they need a wheelchair to move around or they’re blind and feel too afraid to go out at all. Technology is helping to improve mobility, both with pieces of equipment and assistive tools that help people to live more independently.
Filming yourself or having someone else film you can help you to see where you can improve, which is particularly good for people recovering from illness or an accident and they’re learning to walk or stand from a chair again. Using a camcorder or a smartphone, film your movements, watch the recording, tweak what you’re doing and record again until you have the movement mastered.
Virtual home assistants
Home assistants, like Alexa and Google Home, are becoming more and more common, and they have applications for people with reduced mobility. Using smart light bulbs means voice-controlled home assistants can turn the lights on and off for you if you ask it to. They can also control things like the TV and wake a sleeping computer. This makes everyday tasks a lot easier for people with reduced mobility.
The Dring smart cane is a very simply piece of tech incorporated into a very commonly used walking aid. The cane can detect when the user has fallen and will contact family and friends as soon as it happens. The cane also has a button that can be pressed by the user to alert them. It’s been known for people to fall and stay on the floor for days until someone finally finds them, so this smart cane can help to get them back up, checked over and moving around again.
Gaspard connected mat
WHO statistics suggest that an estimated 8,810 people in Fiji alone require a wheelchair. Whilst wheelchairs can transform lives, they can also lead to back pain, aches and inactivity. Gaspard is a mat for wheelchair users that helps to improve posture, eliminate back pain and increase mobility. It tracks the amount of times you push yourself up in the chair, how much you slouch and connects to your phone to prompt you to reposition and move more often to reduce the chance of back pain, aches and inactivity.
Be My Eyes app
Be My Eyes is designed for blind people and works by connecting volunteers with them from anywhere in the world. You simply go on to the app and ask someone for help with something that you can’t see yourself. Volunteers receive notifications of requests for help, which triggers a video call so that they can be the person’s eyes for them. This can really help blind or visually impaired people feel that they can access the world more confidently as it can remove obstacles that would usually be enough to stop them from going out by themselves.
Stair climbing wheelchair
Currently, many people who live in the Pacific Islands don’t have access to wheelchairs. As technology advances, the hope is that they’ll become cheaper and easily accessed by people who need them to help resolve this. Stair climbing wheelchairs are fairly new, but there are several companies working on different designs for them. Just think of all the places you can’t get to as a wheelchair user, even going upstairs in a friend’s home. A stair climbing wheelchair can really improve where you can go that you haven’t been able to before.
Tech is improving the lives of people with poor mobility, whether it’s devices that physically help you to move around or assistive tools to make the world friendlier and more accessible. It’s also developing quickly and becoming cheaper, so you can expect lots of new tech to help with everyday life.
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