One of the least spoken about but most worthwhile upsides of the constant and ever impressive technological advancements we’re lucky enough to be witnessing is how far the world of accessibility has come, with disabled people now far better catered for than ever before. While the cost of some of the newest technology doesn’t make it available to all – with some of what is being spoken about still very much experimental and not ready for wide release, too – it is all slowly finding its way to market across the board.
Making the lives of disabled people easier and everyday issues they face far more simple and straightforward to circumvent, the quality of life available to those with mobility issues has significantly increased – and that’s no small thing. While we’ve still some way to go before everywhere is truly accessible and all of the right accommodations have been made for those with mobility issues, these advancements will help those changes occur, and move society along for the better.
There are some buildings and spaces that either don’t have the room to install a lift, or are too old to have one safely installed retroactively. In those cases, people who’re wheelchair bound have been unfortunately turned away, with no alternative present – but with the introduction of a wheelchair that has been designed with an inbuilt ability to scale stairs, those problems could be a thing of the past. Not a stair lift in the traditional sense, the self-balancing wheelchair doesn’t require a lift or ramp to operate, as it has been engineered to go both up and down flights of stairs, with the ability to turn in tight spaces where required, too.
While this may seem like an invention from a science-fiction film, they’re actually getting increasingly close to coming to market, with several competing firms in the testing stage of their development. Using machine power to assist those with muscular problems, amputees or permanently wheelchair bound, the exo-skeleton wraps around the full body like a suit, providing back and neck support, while offering the use of limbs that may have otherwise been lost or severely limited.
An example that is helping people today, ride sharing taxi apps now have in built settings so that users requiring vehicles adapted for use with wheelchairs can be specifically hired. With companies like Allied Mobility offering services to customise vehicles for use with disabled passengers, this could be an area of real growth, too.
Photograph by Mabel Amber