Computex 2015 – Technology at your Fingertips!
I’ve been wondering if there are any useful developments in technology that can be helpful for people with disabilities. It’s often the things that are not designed for people with disabilities specifically, that can help us as disabled people, to get the most out of our everyday lives. During my research, I found out about Computex – an annual technology show in Taiwan. I decided to blog about some of the devices that were demonstrated there and how they could potentially help the disability community.
Computex is Asia’s biggest computer and technology show, held in Taiwan. The focus this year was primarily on wearable devices and smartphone-activated technology.
Phones, PINS and Opening Doors
The BBC gave us the inside story. First up to be put to the test was smartphone-enabled technology, that allows you to control appliances in your home straight from your mobile phone. You can control fans, the heating and even open and close doors by simply using Apps on your device. You van also turn lights on and off using you smartphone. While at the moment, we have voice activated technology, the new smartphone technology could potentially be a lot of help to people who cannot control elements of their home by voice.
Android can not only be used in this way, but also to control a mouse and keyboard. This means that an Android device could be used to control an entire environment for a disabled person, which is amazing. This tech is not very commonly used at the moment – however, it is gaining in popularity. Another element of smartphone-enabled tech that the BBC discussed was the ability to heighten the security of your home. For example, you can set your smartphone to activate the front door using a PIN code or even your finger print!
This type of tech could prove very useful for people with disabilities. Having a device that is able to control appliances in the home both at home and before you even get there, could be really useful for someone who has limited mobility, but that can use an adapted android device. Although I’m not entirely sure if it would ever replace voice recognition technology, which is amazing and in some cases probably quicker than a smartphone to use!
I know that I always worry about my security maybe more than most because of my visual impairment and possibly being taken advantage of. It’s always worried me that someone could steal my keys without me noticing (although I’ve always been very careful!) and so the idea of opening and closing your door using your phone that recognises your finger print would definitely put my mind at ease. A PIN code is a good idea too, but it’s always worried me that somebody could work this out, so I prefer the finger print activation. Not to mention that the finger print recognition sounds like something out of James Bond!
A great new wearable demonstrated at the event was a ring which you can use to make purchases and unlock doors, but best of all it can help you during a medical emergency. Named the KEYDEX NFC SmartRing, the ring can be scanned by a passerby’s smartphone and as soon as they do this, medical information, including who the person is and any existing conditions that they may have, appear on the screen of the smartphone. This is an amazing development in terms of both technology and ensuring the safety of others. This ring would be especially useful for those with disabilities who perhaps might have a hearing or cognitive disability, making it more difficult for them to explain to a passerby what is wrong with them. It could also quicken the amount of information that the public can give to paramedics or health professionals about themselves or another person, so the device has the potential to save lives. I think this ring is something that could really take off- I’ve seen and blogged about other similar rings before – although none as amazing as this one! – and it is a good reassurance to know that technology is evolving all the time to make out world even safer.
Another Safety Feature
MediaTek is a company that demonstrates a lot of new ideas at Computex every year. However, the best that I’ve found this year is a heart rate monitoring smartphone camera! It’s powered by the Visual Processing Application , which is part of the company’s new smartphone, called the SoC. It uses a smartphone video camera to take a recording of a person’s heart rate by using the front facing camera, to gain their pulse in real time. Pretty amazing!
According to online technology magazine, The Inquirer, this feature is as accurate as an ECG monitor that they had attached to their fingers – give or take a few seconds for the heart rate monitor on the smartphone to match up. What makes me most excited about this technology is not necessarily what it can do now – but what it could possibly do in the future as well. While having this function on a smartphone could make things much easier for people with certain disabilities or life long conditions linked to these disabilities, it could also be adapted in time to do much more than just take a reading of a person’s pulse. It would be great if it was able to read blood pressure or blood sugar too, for example. I’m sure there are a multitude of things that this technology could become advanced enough to do to protect a person’s health and health is one of the most important things. Bring this on!
A new laptop was trialled at Computex, called the MSI GT72. It interacts with Tobii Eyetracking Software so that you can interact with your laptop without having to use your hands at all. You can compose messages, play games – all the usual stuff. This makes me very excited because it could be incredibly useful for those with limited mobility, or speech and learning difficulties. It would also open up a whole new world of technology to people , some of whom ,up til now, will not have been able to access it, not to mention loads of gaming opportunities. Sounds like a fantastic development.
And Finally…My Favourite
My favourite piece of new technology has to be the wearable ring. Since seeing them I’ve wanted one for a while but this new one really takes the biscuit with its built-in medical safety features. As well as this, the fact that it can open doors and that you can buy stuff with it is a winner as well. This really does sound like something from the Stormbreaker series. Form a queue for the tech, everyone – I’ll be first in line!
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