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Guest post: Assistive tech giving control back to those without use of their hands

MarinaTrushkina Community member Posts: 1 Listener

This guest post was written by Marina Trushkina of GlassOuse.

According to the World Bank, more than one billion people, or around 15% of the global population, have some form of disability. Millions of these cannot use one or both hands.

For those who have lost the use of their hands, or who have had a condition since birth, everyday tasks can be significant challenges. And even in a world where technology is everything - it entertains us, it helps us accomplish tasks, it lets us keep in touch – disabled people without use of their hands can still find themselves excluded.

The traditional means of using computers and other devices, whether for work, entertainment or communication purposes – mice, keyboards, remote controls - are predicated on the user being able to use their hands. Unemployment rates of physically disabled people are tremendous, and many are unable to access the bountiful opportunities offered by the digital age. Surely with all of our technology, and as civilized human beings, we have a duty to include everyone in society and enable them to participate in everyday life?  

A different approach to digital technology use

It’s very important to not only develop modern technology, but to also provide equal access to it. That’s why we created GlassOuse – an easy to use and relatively inexpensive assistive device which is designed like a pair of glasses but works like a computer mouse via Bluetooth.

Using slight head movements, the user is able to move the cursor on a phone, tablet, laptop, computer or Smart TV. A small mouth-controlled “bite-click”, which is connected to the GlassOuse meanwhile, enables the user to effectively ‘click’ the left and right mouse buttons, using their teeth or lips, so that they can type, surf the web, and do many other things.

GlassOuse was originally designed by Mehmet Nemo Turker for his friend, who had suffered a spinal injury during a diving accident in 2014. The technology enabled him to continue to blog and use the internet in other ways, such as online selling.

Enabling computer use

DJ Luke Santos using GlassOuseAnother user who has utilised GlassOuse to continue to do work creatively after a life-changing accident is respected Argentinian DJ Luke Santos, who was paralysed from the shoulders down following a car accident. By using the device to move the mouse cursor and to click on his computer screen, he has been able to continue to create music and perform it live.

Other artistic users of the device include painters such as Rosalleen Moriarty Simmonds OBE and Tom Yendell, but it is of course also equally suitable for everyday tasks such as writing emails or surfing the web.Rosaleen Moriarty using GlassOuse

Ultimately, we hope that this device will encourage people with different abilities to pursue their dreams, help them give their talents to the world for the benefit of society, and that it will also allow companies to employ people with different abilities. If you’d like to find out more, take a look at the Glassouse website or view a video of the assistive tech in action  on YouTube.

Have you used assistive devices like this to access technology? What developments would you like to see in this field? Share your thoughts by commenting below.


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