Technology Improving Global Accessibility
Africa, Asia-Pacific, Assistive Technology, Middle East, January 9 2018
2017 saw great strides in technology; helping to improve accessibility for all. Building on innovative schemes such as the wind-up laptop, which brought accessible and portable computers to poor communities across Africa, several new digital technologies have sprung up the world over to benefit impoverished communities. Inclusivity is the buzzword for many of these new technologies, as exemplified by Vietnams’ SDG 2017 competition.
There is, however, more that can be done. Other industries have responded to the necessary idea of accessibility – heritage funds are improving disabled access and construction companies are making their projects accessible first. 2017 has seen the establishment of a few key technologies that are set to grow and blossom in 2018.
Education and Focus
Technology is shifting its focus towards accessible and assistive technology and one of the ways it is achieving this is through education. Statistics and data collection on the requirements of those in impoverished communities is helping developers and educators to influence their future teaching. For example, Zimbabwe is one of the poorest countries in the world and with an estimated 1.4 million people diagnosed with disability, educators are organizing specific seminars on disseminating accessible news and technology requirements.
Solar panels have provided easy ways for people in impoverished communities to develop themselves. Relatively cheap and easily utilized, they provide a great energy source – especially in hotter countries. Improving solar panel technology has created new-found portability and versatility for impoverished communities. This has recently been exemplified by the fleeing Rohingya using solar panels to power devices and find ways for their accessibility and assistive needs to be completed in new communities.
Many of the deprived and impoverished areas in the world have also been impacted by war. The result is numerous members of the population diagnosed with conditions such as a loss of a limb, or other musculoskeletal or nervous system impairments that leads to accessibility needs.
Bionic limbs and other prosthetics have the stereotype of being futuristic and the hallmark of either the super rich or a small minority who are fortunate to find charity. However, scientific groups in Pakistan have reported on how bionic limbs are being made available in a much wider sense, allowing people diagnosed with accessibility issues from a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds to succeed.
Farming and Sustenance
Across the world there are challenges posed by climate change, water scarcity and crop blighting. Education is helping to improve knowledge of cost- and nutrition- effective crops around the world but producing food on an industrial scale is a challenge that needs to be met. This impacts directly on those with accessibility needs as impoverished communities are often stretched too thin by these requirements. New technology has optimized the ability of companies and governments to fertilize and grow their foods.
Assisting those with accessibility requirements to both embrace and flourish with technology is a unique challenge that is posed to technology corporations the world over. With a focus on education important, innovation is starting to real gear up with regards to meeting these needs.
Written by Jane Sandwood, a professional freelance writer and editor.