Top 7 Devices & Apps for Wheelchair Users
Technology has transformed the lives of people all over the world, including those living with disabilities. From smartphones to virtual assistants, new technology has brought us closer together and given us access to information and experiences we couldn’t have otherwise dreamed of.
While some technology can be expensive, there are many affordable products that help expand our capabilities and enhance our lives, both at home and on the move.
We tried out some of the latest devices and apps to uncover some of the best technology to help improve accessibility and provide support to people with disabilities. Some of these are completely hands-free, however, some do require a level of dexterity in the fingers and hands in order to operate.
1. Amazon Echo
Amazon Echo is a hands-free device with an integrated virtual assistant called ‘Alexa’, which works similar to Apple’s ‘Siri’. Using voice commands you can ask Alexa to perform a variety of tasks like play music, make a call, write a note, set an alarm, send a text, book an Uber or even watch video.
The full list of Alexa’s commands can be found here.
You can read more about the Echo family of products which allow you to control different devices in your home with just your voice, making life much easier for those with a disability, or with mobility issues
2. Apple Watch
Apple is always on-the-ball when it comes to creating accessible, intuitive and easy-to-use products, suitable for a wide range of people with disabilities – watch this ad to find out more:
The Apple watch has some really handy features that are included specifically for users with disabilities, such as sensors that detect your heart rate, and motion sensors that can be programmed for wheelchairs.
3. Smart Garage Door Opener
It’s so easy to lose your garage door remote, and the buttons can be hard to press if you have limited hand strength or diminished dexterity in your fingers.
No wheelchair access vehicle is complete without a smart garage door opener, as it allows you to open the door from anywhere, links straight to your phone and can even communicate with other smart devices in your home, such as lights.
4. Smart Lighting
Smart lighting is one of the best tools to help improve access and visibility at night. But what is smart lighting? Smart lights link to your smart phone via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth to allow you to remotely control the lighting or set timers.
Smart light globes such as the Phillips Hue give you options to turn off and on, dim and even change the lighting colour to suit your mood.
Tecla is an assistive device that gives people with upper body mobility impairments the ability to interact with their iOS or Android smartphone and tablet devices – completely hands-free – from the convenience of your wheelchair, bed or car!
Although this technology isn’t cheap, it helps users become more independent by allowing you to control multiple devices at once and perform tasks such as sending emails, reading a book, turning on the TV or making a phone call. Where this differs to the Amazon Echo is that it has been specifically made for those with limited upper body mobility. It can also link to your smart home appliances such as lights or TVs.
Read more here about how Tecla can help you.
WheelMate is a great app that gives you an instant overview of your nearest wheelchair-friendly toilets and parking spaces on an interactive map. It’s powered by wheelchair users who add and verify every single location themselves.
7. Car Controls
Cars have also come a long way in becoming more accessible for wheelchair users, with features such as Bluetooth, push start and push handbrakes. But there are many more devices you can add to your vehicle to make it more accessible.
Mechanical driving aids such as push-pull hand controls can help someone with limited or no leg mobility to operate a vehicle with just their hands, and a spinner knob fitted to a steering wheel can assist with easier use of the steering wheel.
Combined with one of our drive from wheelchair car conversions, these driving aids will make a huge difference to your independence and quality of life, and show how technology is helping to break down ability barriers.
If you enjoyed reading about the latest accessibility tech and gadgets, take a look at Microsoft’s recently leaked accessible controller for Xbox which features over-sized buttons and d-pad!
Technology, smart devices and apps help empower people with disabilities to be more independent and gain more control of their lives. At Automobility, our main goal is to improve mobility and access, helping to give you back your freedom.
If you’d like to get out and about more, consider a wheelchair access vehicle. We’ll work with you to understand your needs, along with your family, therapist and/or carer, and offer you a tailored solution that will help you remain active and independent for as long as possible.
You can call our friendly team on 1300 660 773, or contact us online for an obligation-free vehicle demonstration and consultation at your home. Let us help you become more mobile, and experience all that life has to offer!