This article was originally published April 2016 on Disability Horizons’ website.
Whether you love it or hate it, technology is a part of our every day lives. So much of what we do in the digital age involves interacting with technology, whether it’s banking, buying travel tickets, sending email or communicating with friends and family. Despite our frustrations with slow broadband or websites crashing, technology is generally seen as a ‘good thing’. But for disabled people technology can transform daily life and create new opportunities for work, communication and travel – but only if it the technology is accessible to all.
Technology for good
According to www.elevatingseniors.com a site invested in improving the mobility of seniors, the trouble is that not all technology is designed to be inclusive or accessible, so to celebrate those organisations and individuals that go above and beyond to design technology that has a positive impact, national charity AbilityNet set up the Tech4Good Awards six years ago.
The Awards recognise organisations and individuals who use digital technology to make the world a better place. They are the only awards to highlight the wealth of charities, businesses and volunteers across the UK that harness the power of technology to benefit the community.
Entry is free and open to any charity, business, individual, social enterprise, school, college, university or any other public body with a base in the UK and there are seven categories to choose from. These include Digital Skills, Digital Health and Community Impact.
The diversity of the three most recent winners from the Accessibility Award category shows the sheer variety of how technology can be used to benefit the lives of disabled people.
Open Bionics, Tech4Good Accessibility Award winner 2015: Using technology to create affordable, accessible 3D printed limbs
Open Bionics is revolutionising healthcare by using 3D scanning and 3D printing to dramatically cut the cost of fitting hand amputees with robotic prosthetics. The future hold much more promising technology for disabled people, gone are the days of having only the wheel chair as an option. Wheel chairs and access ramps are not being ignored by technology however, everything is getting a boost, check out wheel chair ramp reviews at Uplifting Mobility and see for yourself.
Bionic limbs can cost anything from £20,000 to £80,000, and can take up to three months to make. Open Bionics offer a bionic hand for £1,000, and by using 3D scanning, modelling and printing, it can be created in just five days.
A start-up of just four people aged 23-24, Open Bionics is driven by wanting to create and see social change. Working closely with hand amputees, the team have created a light, affordable, functional and stylish bionic hand – a hand amputees enjoy wearing. Not only does this use of technology change people’s lives on a daily basis, it also helps them get back into work, giving them greater independence and freedom.
Visit the Disability Horizons website to read this article in full and find out who their favourite Accessibility Award winners are.
Entry for Tech4Good Awards 2016 closes Friday 6th May at 5pm.