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Everyone can use an extra hand now and then, especially when it comes to household tasks but disabled person is not able to help out with these jobs because of their physical limitations. This gives rise to the demand for smart assistive devices, especially for assistive devices for elderly. These smart devices are specifically designed to give assistance, to help people with disabilities or mobility issues, and to perform things they had not been able to do before. These assistive technologies come in the form of smart devices or connected devices. Whether you have a visual impairment or a physical disability, these devices can help you accomplish tasks you didn’t think were possible. Let’s take a look at some of the best smart assistive devices you can get for disabled people in your life today.
For many people in these horizons with various disabilities, there are assistive devices that can make their daily life easier. They can help people with disabilities to do more with less effort. These devices can help them accomplish tasks with ease and comfort. This includes reading books, doing housework, getting dressed, using the bathroom, and much more similar to these. These devices come in different sizes and shapes to suit the needs of highlighted people with various disabilities. It is easy to get overwhelmed when you think about all the different kinds of assistive devices for elderly or disabled that are available in the market.
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What Are Smart Assistive Devices?
Smart assistive devices for elderly or disabled are smart electronic devices that are designed to help people who have difficulty performing day-to-day activities. This includes tasks such as lifting heavy objects, carrying groceries, and using the toilet. There are numerous smart assistive devices available that help people with different disabilities carry out many of these tasks. Some of them include wheelchairs, walkers, ASL (Assistive learning system), Braille Translators, Speech Recognition, orthotics, etc. All of the above mentioned serve the purpose of reducing mobility issues.
The type of device that you need depends on the extent of your disability or disorders. These devices usually have a wide range of features. For example, some have wheels to make mobility issues easier. Others have built-in computers, sensors, smart speakers and scanners etc. While some advanced devices have touchscreen technology to allow users to operate them. The devices are linked with smart hubs placed in your home and provide home automation.
The Types of Smart Assistive Devices
Following are the types of assistive devices for elderly or disabled used commonly:
- Speech Recognition Software
- Braille Translators
- Brake Assist Devices
- Assistive Listening Systems
- Smart Wheelchairs
Orthotics are the types of shoe inserts that are designed specifically to support the arches of your feet. These shoes come with a wide range of features such as, they can help you to avoid heel pain, provide comfort & can prevent injuries.
They are used by people who suffer from arthritis and provide support to make walking comfortable and prevent injuries. Orthotics include custom-made shoes for athletes. They help to improve your posture and the user maintains a better balance while wearing them.
People who suffer from arthritis and other conditions that make it difficult to walk should consider buying orthotic devices for better mobility. Orthotics for athletes are usually made from a special material that is more durable than foam or gel. They have a hard exterior and a softer interior. They are specially designed assistive devices for elderly people to fit the contours of the foot.
It is a software program that allows you to operate your computer by simply speaking into it. You will be able to dictate text to the computer while using the computer. Speech recognition software helps you to work on the computer faster and that’s also hands-free. You can even dictate your thoughts to your computer without having to write them first.
It allows you to enter text quicker than you can while using a keyboard. There is no need to hit the “enter” key. Text can also be dictated to the computer. This saves you the hassle of entering each word you speak into the keyboard.
Using speech recognition software is easy. All you have to do is push a button on your computer. The program will recognize your plain voice and begin recording what you are saying. Before you begin recording, ensure sure that the microphone is switched on. You will just press a button on your computer to listen to your recorded message. The message will be played for you.
Braille Readers & Translators
Braille Readers are one of assistive devices for elderly and disabled persons that allow visually impaired ones to read books and magazines. These devices can also be used by blind persons to communicate with others. They work by translating the letters that appear on a page into dots. When you use a Braille Reader, you can read almost anything that appears on a page. You can read books, newspapers, magazines, and even comics. Some Braille Readers can also be used as voice recorders. You can listen to recorded books while you are reading them. This can save a lot of time and energy.
Brake Assist Devices
It is a well-known fact that owning a vehicle is costly to maintain. Keeping vehicles in great condition requires a lot of time and effort. No disabled person wants to be a burden to their family or friends. So as to minimize this burden drive assistance systems are designed. They are used by drivers who are unable to apply pressure to the brake pedal in normal conditions. These smart assistive devices help them to operate the brakes of the vehicle safely and to avoid collisions.
These devices include a sensor that is installed on the brake pedal. This sensor will signal the computer of the car whenever the driver wants to apply the brakes. The computer will then help the driver to apply the brakes. The drive assistance system lets the user control their car using voice commands. You can use these commands to lock, unlock, start/stop, adjust the volume, and even change music channels. There are systems that come with a built-in microphone to help you with driving. The microphone stays powered while you listen to music or have a conversation. The assistive device works through the power of the driver’s foot to brake.
Listening Assistive Devices for Elderly
They are termed hearing aids or hearing devices to help those who are deaf or having a hard time communicating with others. These hearing aids assist blind persons in reading text messages. People who have problems with hearing can use Assistive Listening Systems to hear and comprehend what others are saying. Some people are hard of hearing for different reasons. They may not be able to hear certain sounds, like high-pitched noises. Others may not be able to hear at all. This is why Assistive Listening Systems are making their place in the market. They are portable hearing aids that may accompany you wherever you go.
These are getting popular and they make mobility easier. There are three main components that make a wheelchair smart: wheels, brakes, and sensors. The multidirectional wheels help the wheelchair to move smoothly. The sensors are there for detecting obstacles and applying the brakes just at the right time.
A smart wheelchair has a small computer inside of it that can perform many functions. One of the most common features is the ability to self-navigate. If you don’t know where you are going, it’s difficult to get where you are going. However, with the help of the computer, you can navigate the wheelchair yourself. It’s easy to control. It has a large screen that displays directions. The computer also can read the text and can interpret speech. Another feature of a smart wheelchair is the ability to recognize people and places. It can learn your preferences and automatically change its settings. It can also be controlled remotely.
These smart technology devices are designed to help you walk more safely and provide you full control. They can make it easier for you to stay upright while you are walking. There are many ways that the smart walker can help you and provide aid in mobility. It helps to remain balanced and steady while you are walking and keep you from falling over. While using the walkers you will not have to lean forward to balance yourself.
It will help you to keep your balance when you are walking, sitting, or standing. When you are using a smart walker, you can easily turn it on and off. You can adjust the height of the stand and the wheel size. Some of the remarkable features are as follows;
- Equipped with sensors that help the person using the walker to monitor his or her steps, distance traveled, and calories burned.
- Walkers have speakers that allow you to talk to your child from a distance
- Their Lightweightness, portability, and large wheels feature make them easy to maneuver.
- Its brakes prevent the device from rolling too fast or too far and its structure is made from sturdy materials such as aluminum.
Benefits of Smart Assistive Devices
Having discussed the different assistive devices for elderly now let’s discuss the benefits or advantages of these devices. Some of the major benefits are as follows;
- They engage users through smart technology and they can keep a check on their health conditions through the technology. In case of any emergency, these devices notify the medical staff of the user.
- These devices can be used to communicate with others. This feature makes it easier for people with disabilities to communicate with others. It is one of the best ways to reduce the loneliness of the disabled.
- These assistive devices help users to manage tasks that they cannot complete on their own.
- These smart devices have the capability to collect data from the user’s home. It can be used to save all the information and share it with the medical staff.
Misuses of Smart Assistive devices
Assistive devices are devices that assist individuals with disabilities in performing tasks that are difficult or impossible to do without them but there are also some common misuses of these devices that are as follows;
1. Using Assistive Devices in inappropriate ways
For instance, many individuals use assistive devices while driving a car. This can make them vulnerable to accidents and injury. You should know what you can use when you drive. These smart devices engage users badly and can cause serious difficulties. You should also be aware of what not to use. For instance, it would be a good idea to not use any cell phones while driving. This is because there are many distractions. You can use cell phones only if you use speakerphones. You should also refrain from texting when you are driving. Your vision is also impaired when you text. Also, if you use a wheelchair, it is a good idea to avoid using headphones. The reason for this is that you can’t hear any warning signals from your vehicle. Using headphones while you are driving can also cause a distraction.
2. Using Assistive Devices for Monitoring
An abusive or corrupt individual, for example, may install monitoring software or utilize location tracking services to monitor a user who uses a computer or phone to communicate in event of an emergency or even in normal conditions.
3. Using as a Compensation
a. Assistive technology is useful for those with physical disabilities only. One should not use these technologies to replace your ability to perform basic activities like reading, writing, driving, walking, etc. For instance, if you have low vision, you might use a magnifying glass to read text. This device may make it easier for you to read text. However, you should not use this device to read a book because it will not improve your overall vision. If you do, you might develop headaches from staring at a page for hours. You might also suffer from eyestrain. In addition, you will be unable to see if the light in the room goes out.
b. The user should not use these devices to compensate for his lack of knowledge. A blind person might feel self-conscious if he uses a screen reader and is unable to communicate using voice, gestures, or other sensory input. A blind person might use a Braille display to read text or listen to audio files or a guide dog to navigate.
It’s okay to ask someone who has sight to help you to use a screen reader. The person will not be embarrassed because he can understand your problem, and it’s easier for him to read than for you to type out something. However, be careful not to rely on this kind of help. You must learn to use a screen reader on your own. When you do this, you will become more independent and more comfortable with computers.
Assistive devices and assistive technology are wonderful inventions. The main purpose of assistive technology is to help people who are disabled do the things that they couldn’t do before. There are lots of gadgets out there that claim to be smart. Some of them are very expensive. On the other hand, there are some devices that are cheap, but not so functional. Hence If the device is too complex and difficult to operate, it will not be useful.
Having read the article, If you are planning for a good smart assistive device for your loved ones, then there are a few things that you need to consider. the first thing that you need to consider is the price. The cost of the device should be a priority. There are many factors that affect the price of the device, including the price of its components. The second thing that you need to think about its functionality. Third, you should consider whether the device can help you do what you want to do. Hence live your life smartly and healthy with assistive devices.