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Computers for the disabled
Can you hear or feel pictures? Can you move something without touching it? Dan Jellinek went to Los Angeles and found out that you can do all these things…and more.
Computers have started to change the lives of some disabled people. They can help them to communicate and to live more independently. The 14th international conference on computers and disabled people showed some exciting examples.
vOICe is a program that changes pictures into sounds. Different colours and shapes have different sounds. With practice, blind people can listen to the sounds and ‘see’ them by using their ears.
The program MouseCAT changes pictures into vibrations on the screen. Blind people can touch the screen and ‘feel’ the images. They can also use this program to speak – they write words and the computer says them.
Mindmouse can identify brain activity. It is like a hat. You put it around your head and operate the computer by thinking.
CharM is a computer system that can identify people’s emotions. In this way, people who can’t speak can communicate how they feel to other people.
Handy 1 is a robot arm with five different kinds of movement. It can help very disabled people do activities like eating and drinking.
It is often difficult for them to meet other children. DO-IT is an Internet program that helps them get help and support from other children who suffer the same problems.