A+ Assistance: Assistive Technology in the Web 2.0 World

The majority of people might get confused when someone says “Web 2.0”, but understanding quickly dawns. Web 2.0 simply refers to the use of ever-advancing technology in our world, which increases every day. But is current Web 2.0 technology available to all populations in the world, and can everyone benefit from it?

Some would say no, pointing to demographics like people with disabilities. Critics of people with disabilities argue that because they may struggle with life skills and other tasks, they can’t benefit from sophisticated Web 2.0 technology. Others criticize assistive technology available to disabled people as a crutch. One example would be the argument that a child with severe dyslexia should not use a reading device because he or she isn’t truly learning.

However, assistive technology of all kinds continues to level the playing field for disabled people, making them able to do and experience more things. For example, cerebral palsy often prevents walking, or at least staying mobile for long periods. This used to mean a person with CP might be permanently relegated to a wheelchair. However, exoskeletons, active standers, and ergo skeletons now increase mobility. People with CP and other motor disabilities can also work at jobs that weren’t possible for them before, thanks to technology that enhances both mobility and worker safety.

Web 2.0 assistive technology also improves leisure activities. For example, there is a misconception that hard-of-hearing people can’t enjoy music. Eye Music, a sensory substitution device (SSD), makes this possible. Eye Music uses pixels and multicolored lights to help deaf and hard-of-hearing people enjoy music. For example, white lights signal vocals, while green lights signal reeds.

What about people who can’t move or speak? Yes, Web 2.0 technology also opens the world to them. They can now have “unscripted” conversations through a brain-scanning speller that is currently being developed.

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