Do you know someone with a vision impairment and want to help them function more independently? Are you looking at your future, wondering how you can prepare?
There are about 12 million visually impaired people aged 40 years or older in the U.S. today. That’s a lot of people who need assistance in their day-to-day lives.
There’s good news. We are making advances in assistive technology every day. Here are some examples of aids designed to improve your ability to function.
1. The Traditional Cane
Various types of canes are available to help a blind or visually impaired person navigate with confidence. An orientation and mobility specialist can train you how to use the cane in a non-visual way.
The traditional blind cane is both a personal aid and a way to tell a sighted person that the person has a visual impairment. Different colors on the cane indicate the level of impairment and a striped cane indicates they are deaf as well.
2. Screen Reader
Reading assistance technology has come a long way since the advent of the internet. Screen readers can read the text out loud or return it to you with a braille reader.
Different software include JAWS or Kurzweil Education and WindowEyes. There are lots of other options available depending on your operating system.
There are many magnification devices to assist in reading text. You can use the magnification on your desktop together with a stand-alone device to get the maximum effect.
Optical Character Recognition (OCR) systems can scan a document and convert it to text. Then a screen reader or braille embosser can read it.
3. Guide Dogs
Dogs aren’t exactly technology, but they are a tried and true option for a visually impaired person. You can combine them with an electronic mobility aid. These aids use ultrasonic waves that bounce off of obstacles in your path.
4. Dictation Technology
A visually impaired person can always type using a standard keyboard. They also have the option of a braille keyboard. Someone with an additional disability might need a speech-to-text program. These programs take your voice and translate it into a written document.
5. Self-Driving Cars
People with disabilities love the new partnership that intends to bring self-driving cars to the blind community. Lyft, Aptiv, and the National Federation of the Blind are working on the project.
So far, Lyft has created braille guides for blind passengers in a self-driving vehicle. They include a braille map of the route and a diagram of the vehicle itself.
Assistive Technology Can Improve Your Life
There are quite a few devices available to assist a visually impaired person. When you hear about recent advances in assistive technology, you realize how important they are to support those who need assistance.
We hope you found the answers you were looking for in this article. If so, be sure to use the simple search feature to check out more tips to help you navigate as a visually impaired individual. You can find more helpful advice on the Lifestyle tab as well.