SEATTLE, Washington — Advancements in technology are directly related to economic growth, especially in developing countries. Investing in technological advancements not only assists with more reliable communication throughout the country, but it also helps reform the workforce. For disabled communities, which makes approximately 80% of developing countries’ population, assistive technologies have changed the outlook of disabled people’s life and survival. Diseases, violence and a lack of healthcare and sanitation services contribute to the disabled populations’ low standards of living. Providing disabled communities with accessible technology and resources will allow them to further their education, job opportunities and human rights.
Africa: Smart Lockers
Technovera, a start-up focused on improving societal impacts, created Pelebox Smart Lockers that has aided South African’s healthcare infrastructures. With Smart Lockers, patients can avoid long waits at public clinics that typically last several hours and instead collect their daily medication from designated lockers within two minutes.
Moreover, patients with chronic illnesses who need routine therapy for six months can now receive quicker and more efficient services. Due to South Africa’s extensive antiretroviral treatment for HIV and AIDS, patients needing chronic treatment can receive better care through Smart Lockers. The medicine comes pre-packaged, and patients can access it through their mobile phones. This way, people who have been diagnosed with HIV/AIDs can receive more privacy if needed.
As of 2017, more than 886,000 people
aged 65 and above lived in Singapore. The United Nations expects the elderly to make up at least half of Singapore’s population by 2050. SHINEseniors
is a project that involves providing seniors with smart homes. Smart homes are equipped with sensor data that keeps track of an individual’s daily activities without invading their privacy. This project benefits caregivers as they can provide the elderly with the proper care that they need, which is personally developed through the data collected. Moreover, smart homes lower the cost of services
and ensure each patient is catered by effectively monitoring their medications and behavior.
Those who suffer from malnutrition and cataracts in developing countries often become blind or develop visual impairment. Poor sanitation, glaucoma and a lack of health services also contribute to blindness. About 90% of the blind can no longer work, with 50% of the blind being isolated from society. Tellmate is a mobile app that, coupled with glasses, aid the blind and the vision-impaired in India. Moreover, the app provides sounds and whisper transfer to hearing aids, so those with visual impairments can continue their day to day tasks. Gaining independence outside of the braille system will give the disabled community better access to employment. Additionally, Tellmate can also read printed texts and comes at an affordable cost.
in India is a picture and text-based system that assists children with developmental disorders in advancing their communication skills
. With a focus on speech, Avaz helps kids in and out of the classroom better express themselves. A 20-year case study indicated that children with language issues were likely to become economically disadvantaged
, as well as their families. Avaz is readily available on Apple and Google Play with a free download.
Mexico: Sunu Band
Disabled communities in Mexico benefit from the Sunu Band
that aids navigation for the blind or visually impaired. Using echolocation and vibrations, the device user can warn users when objects near them approach. A guide dog can also be accompanied while using the Sunu Band. Along with the high-frequency sound waves, the user will also feel vibrations on their wrists to notice the distance between them and an object or person. The band syncs with a mobile app and is very easy to use.
China: Keenon’s Disinfection Robot
To provide aid for hospitals and those afflicted with COVID-19, the Chinese company Keenon
has created a new disinfection robot. The user has the option of cleaning with an ultraviolet spray or chemical spray. The robot is then sent on various routes that are saved into its system. Not only can the robot navigate on its own, but it can also return to its charging unit. The disinfection robot only operates when people are not around and spends around 15 minutes disinfecting a single room. Despite COVID-19 cases still on the rise, with approximately 85,160 cases
in China as of September, these robots are affordable and help prevent further infections.
Disabled communities in developing countries have a higher chance of improving their standard of living and their socio-economic status with technology advances. Moreover, by enhancing disabled communities’ accessibility, these inventions and technological advancements help break stigmas surrounding disabilities and aiding societal advancements. Additionally, inclusivity in the workspace and school help disabled communities contribute to a country’s economy. Prioritizing their needs instead of underestimating their abilities will push nations forward and increase preventative health discrepancies.