As much as we hate to admit it, we would be left far behind if we did not know or learn how to use the modern technologies of today. It would be difficult to communicate if we didn’t know what buttons to click for a scheduled company video conference. We can’t catch up with what’s new in the online shops if we didn’t have an idea what applications to download or even check out. And we wouldn’t understand if we didn’t learn how to text in the first place!
But what about those who are physically challenged, such as the blind? There is a large population of physically disabled individuals in the world who are in truth more determined and more capable of working efficiently but are not just given the opportunity because they cannot see. Some of them inevitably have more corporate skills than those who are visually normal. Has there been something done for them so that they are given a seat in the corporate world?
As a matter of fact, there is something that the modern world has fortunately made for them. This is called assistive technology.
Assistive Technology Defined
What is assistive technology and who benefits from it?
Assistive technology is a term that describes any software or hardware that is used by individuals with disabilities so that they are able to access computers, cell phones, and other electronic gadgets. They make use of these gadgets through certain technologies, and we will be discussing three of the most common ones here in this article.
Technologies for Accessing Electronic Gadgets
- Screen Reader. Screen readers are specific software programs that are designed to assist visually impaired individuals who use computers to read texts on the computer screen. This is by way of a speech synthesizer that transmits text to the screen through voice. While there are some screen readers that are available for free, most screen readers in the market are expensive, especially those who have more improved and updated features. Specific keys are assigned a command, and upon pressing these commands, the synthesizer either reads a text or spells a word, depending on the instruction that it receives.
- Braille Displays. A refreshable braille is also available. It can be connected to a screen reader so that the blind can use his fingers to feel electronic pins that pop up when touched. This device works through the principle of the Piezo effect, where the screen reader uses crystals that are enlarged when voltage levels are increased. The blind and deaf can benefit greatly from these refreshable braille displays.
- Digital screen magnification. This tool is obviously used to magnify texts, photos, and graphics on the computer screen more than 20 times. The software is downloaded on the computer and works basically as a magnifying glass, the texts and other characters on the computer enlarging while the visually impaired moves his cursor, making it easier for him to read. He can also shade the words so that it wouldn’t be difficult for him to find the word he’s looking for. There are different types of screen magnifiers sold in the market.
Cell phones, tablets, and computers have helped us hasten communication in so many ways, and assistive technologies have enabled the blind individuals all over the world to benefit from these modern gadgets as well. Whether they are using them at home or at work, they have been given a whole lot of opportunities that inspire them to be competitive, focused and determined to achieve their goals in life.