The top 5 accessibility gadgets for people with a disability

Discover the Gecko Traxx, BrightSign Glove and more!

Just 30 years ago, the computer was fresh on the scene and artificial intelligence was just getting started – more a plotline for a sci-fi movie rather than a real-life tool with real-world applications. Today, we’re seeing technology transform how we live our lives and the world around us daily, and it’s moving fast.  

We have fridges that can notify you when you’re low on milk and add it to the grocery list. Bots that can meal plan for you or even write you a speech. Your smart home can notify you of a ringing doorbell or open your curtains before you wake. You can order almost anything to arrive at your door while your automatic lawn mower keeps the yard tidy, and you can even live your life in a simulation, if gaming is your thing.   

Some of these advancements have been born out of a desire to go where no one has before, and others are out of necessity. The pursuit of improving the quality of life for people with a disability has exploded in recent years, with more research and investment into new technologies, software and gadgets changing the world of accessibility. The focus now more than ever is to design products for people with a disability, rather than a product that ‘can’ be used by people with a disability.  

Here’s five of the coolest tech-enabled advancements that are giving people with a disability more independence and control over how they live their lives: 

1. KenesicMouse 

This software lets users control a computer hands-free using face tracking technology that picks up head movements and facial expressions. KenesicMouse allows the operator to use a joystick, keyboard or mouse without the touch of a button. This allows people with mobility challenges to engage with others, play games, and even the ability to work.    

2. Gecko Traxx 

Aussie entrepreneurs, Ryan and Huy are taking wheelchairs off-road with their invention – a portable, polyurethane tyre that allows manual wheelchairs and their users to live their lives off the beaten track. The tyre wraps around the on-road tyre and can even be fitted while seated in the chair. Simple yet effective, this handy gadget opens the world up for many people who are limited mainly by the terrain under their wheels.  

3. The BrightSign Glove 

The only sign language glove in the world that can translate sign language into spoken word – instantly. The glove supports any sign language and can translate into over 30 languages, with more than 450 voices, and opens a new world of independence for people with hearing and speech related disabilities because they no longer need to rely on translators or friends to converse freely.  

4. The Brite Brike  

Australian not-for-profit, Brite, is revolutionising the social enterprise space by developing a power assisted wheelchair bike, specifically designed for people with a disability and made by people with a disability. The three-wheeler comes with battery power assist, pedal cycle for transporting the rider and a passenger in a wheelchair, or a fixed seat.  

5. LusioMATE  

With physical therapy at-home adoption rates incredibly low, this Australian start-up created an app with wearable sensors to attach to any part of the body, allowing the user to participate in fun exercise-based games created to entertain and motivate players through their tailor-made PT programs. The app provides real time feedback and full remote monitoring capability ideal for tele-rehabilitation.  

It’s incredible to see some amazing minds putting their skills toward products that can have a big impact on how people with a disability live their lives. Whilst assistive technology can be expensive, NDIS’s funding for all ‘reasonable and necessary’ supports has created a commercial market, which will see more and more of this type of technology available in the future.