Touch screen enabled devices, motion capture cameras and voice recognition aren’t just cool gadgets to have. The technology can be used to help people with disabilities.
We see it in tablets, we see it in smart phones, however we are seeing it also in the newest TVs, and the remote is going to become, well, a remote memory as modern user interfaces are incorporated more and more into TVs.
All of this technology, designed to make life easier for everyone, helps with making technology accessible to everyone as well.
New Tools For Learning
Photo by Francois Schnell.
There are kids who can pick things up quickly, but for some reason they have a hard time learning to write with pen and paper or they can’t speak. You give them a touch screen, and suddenly they can spell.
This was the case for Julian, a three year old kid.
Thanks to more interactive forms of media, Julian was able to spell words that he couldn’t even say before. It remains to be seen if he will be able to write in the traditional way, but thanks to the interactivity of the device he was using, an entirely new area of learning is open to him.
Interactive And Digital Television
With cloud storage and new interfaces being developed, the lines between TV and computers are getting blurred. Things you would have done only on a computer before can now be done on the TV and vice versa.
Think of iPlayer for example, if you wanted to watch a program through streaming you could only do it with a computer. Now TVs and even gaming consoles have apps dedicated to that.
Even Windows is attempting to move away from the classic window style interface and into one that favours the use of many apps with version 8 of their operating system. They added a ‘tile based’ interface which works very well with touch screen technology (as well as mouse and keyboard.)
Whether you like Microsoft’s latest operating system or not, the point is this: from hardware to software companies are becoming more aware that normal interfaces are getting old and more, different, methods of interaction are needed.
Touch screen technology and interactive apps that give feedback when you use them correctly can be very important to disabled children, teenagers and adults alike. It can only be a good thing that such apps are making the leap to your TV!
Help For Those With Sensory Disabilities
Closed captioning is also a golden feature for people with auditory disability. If you can hear, subtitles might distract you, but if you can’t they will be extremely helpful. Close captioning allows the use of captions on demand, so they are only active if you turn them on.
For those who can’t see, there’s audio description. This is an added voice over that explains what goes on in a scene, so if someone is entering a room the voice over will state it.
With current feature rich TVs that have entire operating systems available out of the box, there’s really no reason why such technology can’t be used to help people with disabilities.
New interfaces can be visually stunning or cool all on their own, but they are even cooler when they support the people in need of extra help.