We’ve previously covered persistent alarm clocks, but never appreciated the need to address a complimentary problem: people who wake up early and don’t realize that others in their household still need to sleep. Now there’s the Stoplight Alarm Clock, which flashes red at “appropriate” sleeping times and green at customary wake-up times. Could be useful for some folks with autism or other cognitive disabilities.
From the world of Harry Potter comes a voice-activated flashlight that responds to whatever on and off commands you record. Could be great for people with dexterity or visual disabilities, and anyone in the middle of a power outage.
We’ve covered augmented reality interfaces, where a video image is superimposed with additonal content, such as the history of a building your camera is pointed at. Now researchers at the Technische Universität in Ilmenau, Germany are going the other way — removing objects from the camera’s output, in real time. This might work well as a wayfinding interface for people with low vision or cognitive disabilities. Imagine a street scene with all the signs still there, but none of the bustling, distracting people. Like a 10 megapixel neutron bomb.
SensoGlove knows from good golf grips, and tells you when yours is off. It’s got both video and output to help you adjust your finger positions. Something like this might be helpful for people who need dexterity retraining as a result of, say, a stroke, or need permanent assistance due to neuralgia or similar conditions.
Bödysöf is a new shower gadget that removes the need for squeezing bottles of bath gel. Instead, it lets you pull a lever to dispense gel into the stream of your shower. Looks pretty friendly for people with arthritis and other dexterity impairments. Available in chrome for $140 or plastic for $80; umlauts sold separately.
There are a couple of new products that could make water faucets more accommodating to people with various types of upper body impairments. The Smart Faucet is a lever you can add to your current faucet; water only flows when the lever is pressed, eliminating the need to twist knobs on and off. The Tapi is a rubber cup that turns the water flow into a drinking fountain when squeezed. If they require minimum activation pressure, they could work for a lot of people.
The Spatial Interaction Touchless Kitchen Tap is a new faucet design where a variety of options–temperature, flow rate, number of streams–can be adjusted via gesture. Reasonably accessible and touch-free; promising, assuming that it can accommodate a range of dexterous abilities.