The Independent for Longer website has been profiled on the website magazine Ucan2, which highlights mobility aids, assistive technologies, and techniques for better management of a wide variety of disabilities, including learning and autism spectrum. The website showcases real-life TECS (technology enabled care solutions) in the form of seven ‘case studies’ spanning ages from 20 to 79: brain injury, stroke, epilepsy, collapse, ill health, heart failure, and learning difficulties. Each leads the viewer through how a home can be enabled through the selective use of equipment to support independent living. The eighth section is about ‘Billy the Dog’, the Dementia Dog funded through JustGiving in memory of Tynetec’s Billy and Lisa Graham. The ‘Interested in Telecare’ page, where the user can find a service provider, links to the ‘Consumers and Carers’ page of the TSA website, where the first tab is ‘Find a Service’. This website is funded by Tynetec, which is part of Legrand Assisted Living and Healthcare–but is unbranded. Tynetec and Legrand are long-time supporters of this website.
Hugh Herr heads the biomechatronics research group at the MIT Media Lab, designing bionic limbs that emulate natural human limbs. In his presentation for DigitasLBi’s New FrontUK conference last week, he wants to go them one better: “We will design nature and change nature under our own power. In the future people will be wearing robots. You don’t need a missing leg to exploit this technology – we will give ourselves new bodies.” He can speak from personal experience, having lost both legs in a climbing accident 30 years ago and designing his own prosthetic BiOM legs to be more powerful and exceeding his previous rock climbing ability. “With technology I am released from these shackles of disability. We will end disability in this century.” The need here is huge, including exoskeletons as assistive devices; the consideration is cost. Marketing (UK) Magazine
Related: his 2014 TedX talk.
Chris Lewis, a world-renowned telecoms expert and regular presenter on disability issues has kindly offered to share some thoughts with readers prior to his presentation at the Royal Society of Medicine event on the Medical Benefits of Wearables on 23rd November. This is the first of two he has written specially for TTA.
At this year’s Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona accessibility I took to one of the main stages for the first time. IBM, Microsoft, Google and the Mobile Manufacturers Forum (MMF) joined me to present perspectives on how accessibility is going mainstream.
I introduced the session with some of the key findings from the second Telefonica accessibility report “Digitising the Billion Disabled: Accessibility Gets Personal“. In summary, the billion disabled people represent a major spending group, combining earnings of some $2.3 Trillion and state support of $1.3 Trillion. Disabled people on average earn only 60% of their able-bodied peers and, of course, many disabled people don’t get the opportunity to work at all. 4% of children and 10% of the working population are disabled, but perhaps most striking, over three quarters of the elderly. Combine this dynamic with Douglas Adams’s theory of adopting technology getting harder as we get older and you can see the ticking time bomb of disability and age. (more…)
Abilitynet’s top ten apps
When so many items that present themselves for publication are in one way or another pushing a commercial angle, it is so nice to be able to highlight a completely altruistic listing of apps aimed specifically at helping disabled people.
It would clearly be wrong to deprive Abilitynet’s website of the traffic, so rather than list the apps, we will merely comment that they seem very well chosen to cover as wide a range of disabilities as possible. The presence on the list of a number of widely used apps underlines the oft-made observation that if you design something with disabilities in mind, it is easier for everyone to use.
Distimo app analytics
For those wanting to explore the success of their apps and what works in terms of promotion, or who are interested in app download ranking, Distimo has a hugely impressive website, well worth exploring as everything is free.
The absence of much info on health and wellbeing apps is notable though, perhaps because (more…)
According to the EC Workplan for 2014, item 21 is the European Accessibility Act.
“The initiative will improve the market of goods and services that are accessible for persons with disabilities and elderly persons, based on a “design for all” approach. This business friendly initiative will include binding measures to promote procurement and harmonisation of accessibility standards. The initiative is currently in a consultation process with industry and stakeholders.”
One such consultation covers electronic equipment. It is being managed by the organisation with the acronym BEREC (Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications). A workshop was led on 15/10/13 – details are here. There has been word of a further more significant meeting involving the EC in early December. (Note that leading the consultation are DG Enterprise and DG Justice, Fundamental Rights and Citizenship (not DG Connect)).
Why are we flagging this up? Well there seems little evidence to date of much engagement from the eHealth and telemedicine-related activities in the UK, so this is a call to appropriate readers to get engaged with BEREC, before decisions are taken that without appropriate UK involvement.
Written for the Technology Strategy Board and published by the Housing Learning & Improvement Network, the purpose of the main study is to “outline the case for a revolution in long term care all to be set in a time scale of 2012, 2020 and 2050. This includes evidence about the views of older people and their carers in the UK, lessons from abroad and the implications for industry/providers.” It is written as a ‘study of studies’ on a broadly-scoped problem; it focuses considerably on issues such as care provision, housing (including co-housing and communities) and putting the older person in more control of decisions, housing and tech design. Telehealth and telecare, while not the focus, have a hefty section (pages 32-41) but their conclusions will not be a huge surprise to our readers such as expanding inexpensive, simple assistive technologies, the need for more research and better design. The fact it is comparative is extremely helpful for those who want to see beyond borders, and there is a large section on ethical issues which is certainly unusual in studies of this type. We thank the lead author, Professor Anthea Tinker, Institute of Gerontology, Department of Social Science, Health and Medicine, King’s College London, for providing information on and the PDFs of the studies. Assisted Living Platform – The Long Term Care Revolution and A study of innovatory models to support older people with disabilities in the Netherlands