Case Management, Guardianship Support, Life Care Plan

Smartphones Overcome Barriers for Disabled Individuals

 May 27, 2015

By  Deborah L Weiner Katz, OTR/L, CCM, CLCP

For those with upper extremity mobility limitations or paralysis, technology solutions were always limited. Joysticks, head pointers, or perhaps using a webcam with a laptop. South Korean developer, Ahn Hyun-Jin has now launched a new solution for use with a smartphone. This technology advance will help people with spinal cord injuries, strokes, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, cerebral palsy, and many other conditions resulting in upper extremity mobility impairments.

The new app, known as Dowell, can be downloaded to the smartphone. The most exciting technological advance is the ability of the app to use head sensors to allow people to move a cursor, zoom in on information, or scroll through different parts of the screen. In one scenario, a special sensor was attached to a pair of glasses attached to a Head Mouse Extreme to allow the user to execute commands. Head movements in different directions provide sufficient input for commands. It can also be used with a mouth stick, trackball, or head tracking camera.

The use of smartphones as assistive technology opens the door for advances in independence. 

First, and most important, smartphones are far more portable than laptops. The practical implication is clear. The smartphone can be used in the community for any number of activities. Imagine the previously dependent quadriplegic using the smartphone to perform the following tasks on their own:

  • Purchase a train ticket and check in at the gate
  • Purchase a ticket to a museum
  • Pay for dinner with a credit card
  • Take pictures of his day our with his friends

Combine it with voice activated technology to find directions, read and respond to e-mail, and call friends, people who used to be isolated and dependent on others are able to do more on their own and stay connected.

There are many more technology advances coming down the pike. Keep reading to stay on top of the latest news in spinal cord injury, brain injury, rehabilitation, and advocacy.

Read more about Dowell at https://www.itnews.com/smartphones/92023/app-opens-smartphone-use-people-arm-paralysis



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