What the Tech? CES Day 3: Accessibility
At CES 2024 many companies are bringing accessibility to people with physical disabilities. New devices, gadgets, and technology are helping make it possible for everyone to access things most of us take for granted.
When I first heard there was a device at CES that allows people to control their computer or smartphone with their mouth, I thought it was one of the crazy weird gimmicky stuff I always see on the show floor.
I was wrong. The Mouth Pad from a company called Augmental is helping people who cannot control a computer mouse or tap and swipe on a smartphone screen.
“We’re working with folks with spinal cord injuries, quadriplegic, that sort of thing,” explained Corbin Halliwell while using the Mouth Pad to play a game of chess on his smartphone.
The Mouth Pad is Bluetooth-enabled and fully rechargeable. It fits in someone’s mouth much like any other mouthpiece. It’s so small I did not realize Halliwell was wearing it.
Your tongue becomes your computer mouse by moving it over the sensors.
“This month we’ll start working with people with ALS that’s very advanced and who have lost control of their arms,” Halliwell said.
Another new tech gadget helps deaf people play video games like their hearing counterparts.
“Audio Radar enables deaf and hard of hearing gamers to see sound and video games,” said Tim Murphy who invented the device after learning how difficult it is for deaf people to play video games because they cannot hear the action taking place.
Brenden Gilbert stopped playing multi-player games because he could not hear action behind him. He was always getting shot in the games.
Through an interpreter, Gilbert told me the Audio Radar device helps him see the sounds and special effects.
“It changes the sound to a visual representation of where the sound is coming from in the game,” Gilbert signed through an interpreter.
“The intense view that you see on the lights means there’s more action happening, depending on where you see it on the screen. It shows you where the action is taking place or where the sound might be coming from.
Another innovative technology I found is the Gyro Glove which helps people with Parkinson’s calm hand tremors.
“It takes a high-performance gyroscope and encapsulates on the back of your hand so it’s the world’s first medical device utilizing a mechanical gyroscope,” said Dr. Faii Ong the inventor of the glove.
Two people who suffer from Parkinson’s’ were in the booth to explain how it helps them daily.
Roberta Wilson-Garret told me without the glove she can have days where she cannot write or feed herself. Wearing the glove I would have never guessed she suffers from Parkinson’s.
“It not only settles my tremors here but my shoulder doesn’t rotate,” she said.
Tim Fredericks also has Parkinson’s but had surgery to ease the tremors in his hands. The surgery though left him without the ability to hold his arms out straight and kept him off balance.
“When I put that glove on, I couldn’t extend my arms but look. It’s amazing,” he said. Adding it also helps him keep his balance. Something that was a pleasant surprise.
Many of the accessibility devices on the show floor at CES are available now through the company’s websites.