News 3 August 2015

8 brilliant new accessibility inventions

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Every wondered what smart glasses could look like or how you could make your computer entirely hands free?

Inventors and coders from around the world have put their heads together in the global ConnectAbility Challenge – a three month software competition to find the best new mobile and wireless technology to support people with disability live their lives.

$100,000 was up grabs in the challenge, with winners announced in New York on Monday to mark the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Sixty-three entrants from 15 countries came up with some brilliant ideas for affordable easy to use solutions to every day accessibility problems.

Entries were judged by a panel of IT experts and four “exemplars” who have different disabilities. These 8 prize winning accessibility inventions will make for a more inclusive world.

* Accessibility note – We have made these videos keyboard navigable, but these videos do not all have captions or transcripts. Every Australian Counts did not create this content and we don’t have the ability to create captions for these videos. Please use the links provided to contact the project creators for more information.

1. KenesicMouse

“Nextgen hands free computer access with 50+ input signals”, the Kenesic Mouse software lets users control a computer with a 3D camera that picks up facial expressions and head movement. Developed by a video gamer, it even allows the user to play demanding video games.

2. AVA

AVA is a mobile app that transcribes speech into text and lets you see in real time who says what around you.


The Laugh out Loud Aid! is a digital tool that sends the user reminders to train their brain with social and daily living skills. The concept was developed by Seth Truman who has Asperger’s and his dad to help kids with autism and ADHD remember things they’re supposed to do in the day.

4. DrumPants

DrumPants is a trigger activated personal assistant for people with limited mobility or difficulty in speaking. Simply taps wearable soft buttons to trigger phrases through an app on your phone.

5. EnLight

EnLight is beacon based navigation for the visually impaired. It allows people with vision disabilities to scan surrounding locations with their smartphone and be notified of where they are.

EnLight [AD] [Subtitled] from Ashwin Kumar on Vimeo.

ConnectAbility Hackathon video for our app EnLight, designed to help visually impaired people navigate new indoor locations using bluetooth technology.

6. MySupport

MySupport is designed to empower people with disability through self directed services by helping them choose, manage and track their own supports. It also makes it easy for workers and people with disability to keep track of upcoming shifts with free text message reminders.

7. InstaAid

InstaAid is an iPad app that is an accessible Nurse Call system that allows for people with neurological disability to ask for help or call a nurse. Has high contrast large buttons accessible to all users.

8. Braci

Braci is a Smart Ear that helps deaf people be alerted to all emergency sounds through their smart phones, tablets or watches.

The CollectAbility Challenge was set by telco AT&T and the New York University ABILITY Lab. You can check out all the entries, find out what inspired them and see how they work.

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