Assistive Technology for Improving Life in People Living With Muscular Dystrophy
People are already witnessing the rise of human-machine systems, the early forms of cyborgs, without even realizing it. They often spend most of their time attached to one device or another, a cell phone being the most common. In fact, cell phones usually don’t leave a person’s side once they are awake.
Humans and machines do not have to be physically attached to each other in order to combine. Even a healthy individual is dependent upon machines for many of their daily tasks. Gone are the days when people would search through physical encyclopedias or books for information; today, online search engines are the first choice when seeking out facts. What about communication? Aren’t they using devices and gadgets more often to communicate? Aren’t we seeing the rise of AI, voice recognition, robotics?
Today, every individual is busy and engaged in technology in some form or another. Everyone depends on machines to carry out a great number of day-to-day tasks. Technology is here to stay, and it has and will increasingly become a part of our daily lives. It can be very versatile and helpful for those living with degenerative diseases such as muscular dystrophy, or MD. This is a chronic medical condition that sets in at an early age. As of yet, no type of MD can be entirely cured, and it eventually leads to a progressive loss in the physical functioning of the afflicted individual. This gradual loss then slowly starts to affect the person’s mental abilities as well. However, there are multiple ways in which technology can be of help to these patients:
- Mobile devices: Whether it is a tablet, smartphone, or any other electronic medium, these mobile devices are essential for anyone, including those suffering from MD. Mobile devices are becoming smarter every day and possess an array of functional activities that are useful for medical patients. One cannot ignore the importance they carry for communication. Virtual reality is also becoming a viable option, and the use of voice chatting along with a virtual reality assistant can be used to solve many tasks. These are indispensable functions that can prove to be incredibly beneficial for disabled people. The touch-free feature is another function worth talking about, as it can be greatly valuable for individuals with a higher level of disability.
- Voice activation: Voice activation technology is also proving to be an excellent form of assistance for those suffering from disabilities. It is not about voice assertion or recognition just taking notes; the technology has gone a step further, being used for certain home functions, such as opening the garage door, drawing back the curtains, operating a machine, and so on.
- Wheelchairs and power scooters: MD causes the muscles to weaken over time, which leads to physical disability, and so the use of power-packed machines can allow a person to keep up with everyone else. Many of these are available with various functions and control methods, such as adjusting the seat inclination, changing the height of the footrest, and moving easily with the use of a joystick.
- Housing accommodations: Based on the architecture of the individual’s house, lifts are an important consideration. One can add in stair lifts, thereby allowing the disabled individual to move around or up and down the stairs while they are seated on a chair without any discomfort. Bathing equipment, too, can be specifically designed to help an MD patient bathe more easily and independently, since bathing is not just about good hygiene, but is also a method of rejuvenation.