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How Technology Can Help People with Disabilities

February 16, 2018

Anyone who uses the London Underground will recognise the monotonous tone of the robotic voice that tells us all to “mind the gap”. Transport organisations around the world use similar systems, hoping passengers will keep their eyes and ears open for long enough to avoid injury.

But for some people, minding the gap is not so simple. If you are blind or deaf, you’ll probably find it much harder to navigate. If you’re a wheelchair user, you might have to wait for assistance in order to get over that gap and on to the train, and that’s if you can even get to the platform in the first place. According to Transport for London, only 25% of tube stations and half of Overground stations have step-free access.

Solutions for people with disabilities can be incomplete, insufficient and sometimes completely non-existent. Amputees can get prosthetics, but often only after a long and painful process. And even some recreational pastimes, such as video games, can exclude those with disabilities, because nobody thought to make them accessible.

Can technology help? Can machines or apps make life easier for a person with a disability? And are these industries doing enough to make their products – and the world – accessible to all?

To look closer at some of the answers to these questions, Jordan Erica Webber is joined by Kat Hawkins, a reporter for BBC Click, Kevin Satizabal, a musician who works in digital marketing and is registered blind, and Ian Hamilton, an accessibility expert who specialises in the video games industry.

Source: The Guardian