The 5 Ws and H of Assistive Tech

Assistive Tech

Sunil Rajguru
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What is Assistive Tech?


Let’s say there’s a power cut and it’s dark. You can still use your mobile in night mode to get along and use its torch too. That’s technology which is assisting you in times of need. If you can’t access the screen, then a voice assistant can help you around. If you are directionally challenged, (as most of us are these days), then there’s GPS. This are just simple and basic examples.

Both software, hardware and all sorts of electronic devices could be used to assist those with disabilities. Wheelchairs and head trackers are more examples. A smart cane fitted with facial recognition technology and GPS could aid the blind. An entire voice and motion ecosystem could be built around that including text to speech software.

In general, smart voice assistants and robots could in the future take care of almost all of our assistive technology needs.


Who is it for?

On the face of it, it is for people with disabilities. That itself covers a huge population. Senior citizens too fall into that category and even a healthy person could be temporarily disabled.

Where can it be used?


It should be a part of everyday life. It can be used anywhere and everywhere. Everyone may need assistive tech in some form or other throughout their life. Hence, the office, home and outdoors all should to be enabled with some form of assistive tech or the other.

When should we implement it?

Now. The time is long past. It is not a good thing that this is still in a discussion stage.


Why is it important?

If you are not convinced yet, then consider the facts. There are now 21 recognized disabilities that cover 7.5% of the world’s population. Anyone of us may become temporary disabled and we all will become senior citizens. Consider their families and you can see in some way or the other it touches each and every one of us. Anyone may need assistive tech for themselves or their loved ones at any point of time.

How can it be implemented?

In a way your smartphone is already an assistive tech device. Most people have to be made aware of this simple concept. Via apps and additional features, the smartphone can be the backbone. Smart Buildings can be built naturally around assistive tech, right from the planning to the implantation stage.

Awareness. Action plans. Assistive technologies baked right into protocols, devices and standards. Legislation. It will all go a long way in making effective assistive technologies a basic and integral part of all of our lives.