The Future of Assistive Technology

July 3, 2019 by Jorge Ramos

The Future of Assistive Technology

Thanks to advances in science and technology, the lives of human beings have changed for the better in many aspects. The communication between people, the functioning of companies and the market, and even our way of thinking, is not the same as a few years ago due to the total integration of technology in our daily lives.

Bear in mind that when we talk about technology that really has an impact, we must put all those dedicated to helping and improving the lives of people with disabilities at the forefront.

Thanks to advances in robotics, materials engineering, big data, and artificial intelligence, technological assistance has been developed on a large scale in the last decade. Here are some examples:

Bluetooth connectivity

You can control your phone, computer, tablet or any other device with Bluetooth compatibility with Android or Apple IOS from some motorized wheelchairs like Sunrise Medical's Q700M. Up to 4 devices can be connected.

USB ports / wireless charging

Connectivity always implies access. That is why it is helpful that the assistive technology products have USB ports to be able to connect / charge any device that the user or caregiver needs for their day to day. In other cases, they can be wireless chargers which simplifies the connection even more.

Switch-It Remote Seating App®

This is a Sunrise Medical exclusive application that connects via Bluetooth with your smartphone that measures tilt angles and stores the amount of time you remain in that position to improve your overall health through pressure management. These reports can be shared with health personnel such as doctors and therapists to design treatment plans as well as alerts to adjust the angle when necessary.

Biometrics

Based on several statistics, it was determined that when going from a supine position to a sitting position, it is necessary to go through an intermediary position which is tilt. Many times, this adjustment had to be done by the caregiver but with Sunrise Medical’s Biometric Repositioning® technology that goes from supine to tilted and then to sitting, an adequate positioning of the hip is achieved.

Data control and connection

The collection of health data is a trend that will not go away any time soon. It began with the steps we take daily, and we even accounted for the cups of water or cups of coffee we consume. The data collection in assistive technology is equally or more important since you do not always have the availability to reach a health care center, but you can send the data. This data helps to understand the care of the skin and the management of pressure sores to devise plans to prevent or treat them.

This same connectivity means that, for example, motorized chairs can be updated remotely, or diagnoses can be made remotely and solved in the same way. This is vital for users and caregivers who are not always able to go to care centers because of distance or access.

Simplified and accessible standing

Standing in assistive technology was, for many years, a luxury despite the enormous benefits it offers the user. In the last decade, many advances have been made in the accessibility and the cost. For example, there are manual chairs with motorized standing, like the Setonix wheelchair (available soon). It is a manual chair, but it offers all the benefits of standing like improving digestion, breathing, bladder emptying, among others, at a very affordable price.

Portability and performance

Assistive technology helps a person perform daily activities in an easy and simple way without exhausting their energies. As manufacturing and materials progress, some equipment becomes lighter, easier to store, and more portable, like the case of the Felix power chair. It is a folding power chair with excellent performance. It can travel from 25 to 30 km on a single charge.

Advancements in portability can also be seen in scooters. These have always been portable and very light, but this often compromises their performance both in the field and in battery life. Limosa for instance, is designed with higher ground clearance that can accommodate difficult terrain but remains compact for narrow places. Its portability, however, does not affect its performance. With a full battery charge, it can travel up to 18 km.

Limosa Scooter by Loh Medical

These are some examples of advancement in assistive technology that were seen as the future 10 years ago. Many more things will improve and, in the end, all of them aim to facilitate the life of the user and the caregiver.

Jorge Ramos, MD Sales Manager for the Caribbean

Health professional with marketing and sales skills, lover of technology, videojegos and sports. His weaknesses are coffee and his family.

Location: Santa Tecla, El Salvador Contact
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