Making the most of technology

Today is UN International Day of Persons with Disabilities. The theme for this year is the ‘Promise of Technology’ so we thought this would be the perfect opportunity to talk about some of our favourite tech innovations and update you on our work around technology.

The digital revolution has already had a huge impact on our lives – ever stopped to think how you managed before you had that life-changing tech device, app or website? Despite the rapid changes we have seen over the last decade, many would argue that this is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of how technology will change the way we live. Our report looking at the future of care published earlier this year, featured robots, monitoring devices that can help you manage health and well-being, and apps that can manage a remote care network. They all have big implications for the way we manage care. Although there will always be some people who are a little behind the curve in adopting new technology, its potential to make the world more accessible, convenient and easier to navigate is undeniable.

The rapid pace of technology development can feel a bit overwhelming, but it also means that new products can be developed faster and more cost effectively than ever before. For example, we are excited by the growing range of home automation products that allow you to control household devices like lights, heating, appliances and potentially any household object using a smart phone or tablet. These have the potential to make it easier for disabled people to be independent at home and are a fraction of the costs of existing specialist domestic technology systems.

What are we doing?

Here at Scope we are particularly interested in how disabled people and their families can make the best possible use of the technology that’s out there to make day to day life easier and more affordable. We’ve commissioned some research looking at how disabled people currently use technology and how they would like to be able to use it in the future. We have also been looking into what support is currently available to disabled people to help them find, use and buy technology. We are particularly keen to explore how we might enable and encourage disabled people and technology experts to share their experiences and knowledge so more people can find out about useful technology products and get the most out of them.

One example of a product we’d love more people to know about is the Giraffe Reader. This is an innovative and low-cost adaptation for use with the iPhone which allows people with visual impairments to read paper documents using the Optical Character Recognition. It’s lightweight, easy to carry, is sold for £32 and can be used instead of a piece of specialist equipment that usually costs between £500 and £2000!

We’d love to hear from you…

We want more people to share their opinions on what tech products are being used and what is out there. What do you like/ hate/ how do you find out about new things and what is missing from the market at the moment? With this in mind, if you are a disabled person or you help support a disabled person, then we’d love to know about your experience. Visit our forum to talk about your favourite piece of technology (app, website, device…), and we can start to share your tech wisdom with others.

We will continue to update this blog with progress and information on more of our projects, as well as with our insights on all things innovation; ideas, ventures and trends that we find. We look forward to hearing from you as we go!