Improving Quality of Life and Healthcare with Tech

26th November 2015
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Technology has revolutionised the healthcare industry in the past, and will do so again in the future. At present, there are reports of doctors testing the use of Google Glass in hospitals and an Apple Watch app which allows those suffering from asthma to better track how they are responding to their medication. New advances seem to surface weekly, and it’s great to see how people are innovating current technology to benefit this industry.

 

Virtual Vision System

iBeacon technology is now being used to help improve the quality of life of people who are visually impaired. A blind computer software engineer in Canada has designed a way for people with sight difficulties to easily navigate the indoors. The navigation system comprises of a series of iBeacons dotted around a building, which allows the user’s iPhone to pick up signals from the beacons through an app called BlindSquare. These signals trigger the user’s phone which tell them where they are. The phone will then speak out advice such as ‘Bathroom on the left’ or ‘Staircase on the right’.  The developer has described the system as giving him “virtual vision” and describes the possibilities for iBeacons, from identifying items on a grocery store aisle to informing users about a restaurant’s Braille menu.

 

Like Wayfindr, But Indoors

This system is a different take on the Wayfindr app which we wrote about back in October 2014. Wayfindr utilises iBeacons in order to give blind or partially sighted people directions when using London’s transport network. However, until now iBeacons have not been used in this way inside buildings. The benefits of this are clear. For example, hospitals can be difficult places to navigate as a person without visual difficulties – imagine getting around those winding corridors with a visual impairment. Instead, iBeacons would allow the user to confidently walk to certain wards or rooms. This technology gives people independence and makes everyday tasks simpler for those with disabilities, as well as lessening the financial cost of providing guides for those with visual impairments.

 

The Way Forward

Together, developers and those in the healthcare industry are working towards creating a more streamlined, user-friendly system. The technology is in place, it now just needs to be put in to practice.