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Assistive Technology
Golden Guides

When we think back on movies from the 1980s or 1990s that referenced the future, it seems like we should all be in flying cars like the Jetsons right now. Sadly, I think we can all agree the years of flying personal cars is a long way out! Things may not have progressed that far, but the technology still has increased rapidly in various areas. Let's take a journey through some of the assistive technology that we highlighted in 2021.   


Number one, my mind shifts to smartphones. A smartphone equals so many different things to everyone. Why is that? I think it is because it depends on how we have interwoven the device into our daily routines and lives. To think that a small device the size of a paperback book can listen, read via camera, playback music, determine steps and direction, and alert us of upcoming appointments or a flight delay in milliseconds is amazing. My mind is still in shock of how many sensors are interconnected and how all these parts work together in concert (most of the time ?), and how at a moment's notice, it goes from answering a phone call to asking a digital assistant a question, and we get an answer immediately. It is truly amazing.  

Apple Device Apps 

We took a refresher of an Apple iPhone device using VoiceOver and how to utilize it. 

Android Device Apps 

Google Lookout  
An app that uses the phone’s camera for Optical Character Recognition (OCR) and adds voice to what it detects.  Letters, products, currency, and objects in a room now have a voice! 

Any Web Device (Laptop, Desktop, Tablet, or Phone) 

AirTurn  https://youtu.be/vbFceEFi-gE 

We discovered that a Bluetooth foot pedal can also be turned into a multi-use educational device. 

HelpKidzLearn!  We found that HelpKidzLearn apps combined with physical switches helps students with Cortical Visual Impairment (CVI) and other various needs use these apps more easily.  We utilized the AirTurn device alongside various switches for testing cause and effect and other various learning and testing abilities. 


Part 2 of AirTurn: Wireless Music Control with Standard Switches! 

Digital Assistants are only getting smarter (including the vendors)!  

Siri, Alexa, Google... Oh my!  I think I missed a couple others but 2022 will bring togetherness.  A partnership of Amazon, Apple, Google, Samsung, the Zigbee Alliance, and dozens of other companies are working together on an open standard called the Matter, or the Project Connected Home over IP (CHIP).  This will simplify smart home devices so things will begin to work together instead of individually across devices and brands. 

Overall, technology is making leaps and bounds in many areas, and we love to hear what has helped you the most in 2021! Please share your comments and questions with the tech department at NDVS/SB. 


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