Tech with a New, Accessible Perspective

Overview Tech companies like Vispero are helping shine a light on how everyday tech and future innovations can be more accessible.

The world has seen firsthand how tech continues to change our lives for the better in a myriad of ways, from health and security to staying connected with each other.

But for those who are visually impaired, there may often be barriers when it comes to full access to the advantages of technology. From reading mail to catching a ride, the everyday needs and access points that many of us do not think twice about are the areas where future tech innovations can make a difference.

 

Independent Shopping

In a largely digital and touchscreen environment, interaction points at venues like grocery stores, shopping malls, fast food joints and airlines pose an inconvenience to those who are visually impaired.

Vispero, a leading assistive technology provider for the visually impaired, launched JAWS Kiosk — an addition to the JAWS screen-reading software — to deliver accessibility solutions to everyday services. The software allows users to plug in headphones or use a keyboard to privately complete transactions.

“In the world of all the technology that you may see at CES®, like a dishwasher, even self-driving cars, all of this technology could benefit people with disabilities if they’re built with an accessible plan,” said Matt Ater, vice president of corporate business development for Vispero, on the CES Tech Talk podcast.

 

Follow the Voice-Activated Instructions

Beyond commercial use, Vispero technology has also enabled devices that allow people with low vision to read print materials, such as birthday and holiday cards.

“You could count the number of things you interact with on the internet every month,” Ater said. “Are those accessible so that a person who is blind, or has another disability, can interact with it?”

As an example, Ater shared his experience of needing to video chat customer support to find control settings on his laundry washer-dryer. Ater described how Vispero also collaborates with other companies to solve accessibility problems that most don’t consider, such as creating vision-impaired-friendly cable guides and television controls.

“I worry about those who can’t apply for a job today because websites may not be accessible,” Ater said. “I worry about people just participating in society.”

In the world of all the technology that you may see at CES®, like a dishwasher, even self-driving cars, all of this technology could benefit people with disabilities if they’re built with an accessible plan

Matt Ater
vice President of Corporate Business Development, Vispero

Communicating with Self-Driving Vehicles

Much of technology that is accessible has benefited those without disabilities as well, such as closed captioning and voice activation. Among coming hot tech trends that have the potential to fall into this category is self-driving vehicles.

While ridesharing has proven to be helpful to those with disabilities, it also exists with an element of human exchange, where the driver is able to share information with a passenger about location and route changes.

As self-driving vehicles continue to advance, Ater highlighted how technology that allows the car to communicate drop-off changes or other needs can make the top tech more accessible.

Speaking about his work with the Consumer Technology Association (CTA)® Foundation and Vispero’s booth at CES, Ater said, “[Awareness of accessibility tech] really does open the eyes of people, [and] allows people to get a new perspective.”

Greater visibility of accessibility tech, or an increased understanding of the problems those with disabilities encounter, can help future innovators keep accessibility in mind in product design or partner with companies to create accessible experiences for their products.


Learn more about Vispero and accessibility tech on the CES Tech Talk podcast.

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