Over 30 years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed into law, ensuring equal rights for individuals with disabilities. Up to 1 in 4 adults in the US have some type of disability so it’s increasingly important that accessibility is kept in mind, especially in today’s world where wireless technology is universal.
Wireless has become more accessible and inclusive than ever over the last three decades. Devices and services are customizable based on specific needs, which offers a more independent lifestyle for many. Today, innovative uses of augmented and virtual reality, smart devices, and new apps are pushing the boundaries of how wireless service can enhance lives.
Here are a few ways wireless innovation is creating meaningful connections for all:
Smartphones Aid Visually Impaired Individuals: Apps like Be My Eyes connect sighted volunteers with blind and visually impaired people who need help seeing anything in their daily lives from directions, groceries, letters, and more. Since users of the app can receive assistance instantly from their wireless device, those with visual impairments are able to experience increased independence.
VR Enables Disabled Users to Develop New Skills: Virtual Reality (VR) is a cutting-edge technology that creates realistic virtual environments, which can be leveraged to help people with visual impairments learn spatial awareness and navigation skills, or people with autism learn social and communication skills. VR can also provide virtual training to those new to using a wheelchair to practice navigation and learn how to use it with greater ease.
Wireless Apps Amplify Hearing for Impaired: Those with hearing impairments can use apps like Ear Machine and Petralex Hearing Aid on their cellphone, turning their device into a directional microphone. This allows users to place the phone near the person they want to hear, transmitting the speaker’s voice to the users’ headphones or hearing aids. The ease of use of this technology allows for increased inclusion for all in most settings.
Smart Home Tech Empowers Disabled Individuals: Smart displays and voice communication devices, like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant, make it easy to control aspects of a smart-home using voice commands, like opening a door, changing the temperature, and drawing the shades. These devices also provide instant access to useful information like the weather and news. Innovations like smart home technology transform what is convenient for some into independence for others, specifically those with mobility disabilities.
The ACTwireless community stands for access to the best wireless possible for all Americans, including those living with disabilities. With 5G offering faster speeds and near real-time responsiveness, coupled with the ability to connect more devices, the future impact on increasing accessibility is boundless.