AT Specialists: 8 Picks from 2016

Last week, I wrote about 2016’s most read posts on different assistive technologies.  For this week’s post, I asked for feedback from our assistive technology specialists about what they enjoyed learning more about or working with this past year.

In case you didn’t know, there are two parts of our Assistive Technology Department: the INDATA Project and clinical services.  The following list is from the specialists in our clinical service program.  These specialists work directly with consumers and countless assistive technologies, so I knew I could count on them to give me a list of some of their favorites from the past year.

8 Assistive Technology Picks from 2016:

*Note: the following list is comprised of personal recommendations/opinions from our clinical staff.  The list includes what they personally enjoyed learning about, working with, and/or what they felt benefitted their consumers.

1. Amazon Echo:

A common favorite among many individuals on our team is the Amazon Echo smart home assistant.  With the Echo, individuals are able to control their smart appliances, stream music, get quick information, and more without lifting a finger!

Visit Amazon for more information on the Echo.

2. Google Home:

Another new favorite that was released recently (in November 2016) is Google Home.  In sum, Google Home is Google’s version of the Echo.  It is also a smart speaker and personal assistant.  Be sure to check out tomorrow’s post to learn more about Google Home!

In the meantime, check it out on Google!

3. Makerbot Replicator+:

One of the most recent additions to our Assistive Technology Lab here at Easterseals Crossroads is the Makerbot Replicator+.  If you’ve ever seen a 3D printer at work, then you understand why this made the list.  I have to admit how skeptical I was at first and asked myself, “How could this benefit individuals with disabilities?”  Well, we recently had a presentation on the product and erased my doubts.  The product is capable of making grips for utensils, styluses, and so much more.

Visit the Makerbot website for more information.

4. REST 24/7 Horse Therapy:

The walking gait of a horse has been proven to soothe individuals with autism, ADHD, PTSD, and so much more.  REST, or Relaxing Equine Simulator Therapy, is a device that mechanically replicates the walking gait of a horse.  REST is battery-operated and portable so individuals will be able to relax anytime, anywhere.

Check out the REST by Gait, LLC website for more information.

5. Blue Yeti USB Microphone:

Individuals of all abilities often use Dragon Naturally Speaking software to type on their computers.  However, a common hurdle is finding a microphone that picks up their voice most accurately.  One of our assistive technology specialists told me about the Blue Yeti USB Microphones.  According to the Blue Microphones website, “Yeti microphones produce pristine, studio-quality recordings with legendary ease.”

Click here to learn more about the Yeti USB Microphones.

6. SmartKlean Laundry Ball:

The SmartKlean Laundry Ball has been brought up several times this past year, and for good reason!  It is a great laundry detergent alternative that is great for you, your wallet, and the environment.  In sum, it is a ball that you toss in with your dirty laundry in lieu of detergent.  No more messy measuring, spills, or accidental ingestion risks for children and pets.  The Laundry Ball is compatible with all high-efficiency (HE) and traditional front and top loader washing machines.

Visit the SmartKlean website to learn more.

7. Wink Hub 2:

If you’re in the market for a new smart home automation system, look no further than the Wink Hub 2.  It is the newest addition of smart home hubs to the market and offers the most connectivity thus far.  Interested in learning more?  Be sure to check out yesterday’s post on the Wink Hub 2.

You can also learn more by checking out the Wink website.

8. Magnifier on iOS 10:

Another crowd favorite is Apple’s recent magnification feature on iOS 10.  Before the tech giant released iOS 10, individuals with low vision had to purchase and download a third-party magnifying app.  Now, once you enable the Magnifier on your iOS device, all you have to do is triple-click the Home button to activate the Magnifier.

To enable the Magnifier, follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app.
  2. Select General > Accessibility > Magnifier
  3. Toggle the Magnifier button to the ON position.

Be sure to check out other accessibility features available in iOS 10.