In 2010, additional regulations were signed into effect to revise the area of Accessible Design in the Americans with Disabilities Act. These regulations encompass the need for safe and clear pathways, curbed ramps and more. For integrators, this law effects the planning of many digital signage applications—from kiosks that sell tickets to video wall displays and more.

For example, video walls that are between 27″ and 80″ off the floor must be less than 4″ off the walkway to allow for the visually impaired to easily walk past. ADA regulations also apply to the construction and functionality of kiosks. For example, if it has touch features, the maximum height is 48″, with a max reach of 10″. A reach larger than this requires a shorter kiosk. A multitude of additional options also exist to meet ADA compliance in digital signage, including voice responsiveness, Braille keyboards, and tactile signs.

What we, at Peerless-AV, have been most impressed with are the companies that have gone above and beyond these requirements to innovate new uses of technology to enhance the lives of those with disabilities.

 

starbucks

Starbucks Drive-Thru

A Starbucks in St. Augustine, Florida has a two-way camera that allows baristas to see folks placing an order. The customer is also able to see the employee and review materials on a menu board, making it the ideal drive-thru situation for the deaf community who can now communicate via sign language.

 

9-1-1 Text Service

Throughout this past month, numerous counties across the country have announced the availability of texting 9-1-1 to directly connect with emergency dispatchers. This is a game-charger for individuals who cannot hear or for those with speech impairments whose reliance on telecommunications devices for the deaf can slow responses to their emergencies.

 

Amazon Echo

amazon-echoWhile many think of products like Siri or Amazon Echo as unnecessary tech luxuries, the ability to speak to Alexa (Amazon Echo’s voice assistant) is a life changer for the blind. You can speak to her to receive the weather, to have her play music or podcasts, set timers, and so much more. And, the Amazon Echo can be connected to other smart devices you can control via voice, such as the Nest Thermostat. Voice control allows the blind to take advantage of so many of the smart features offered by technology that many of us take for granted.

 

In what ways has technology made your life easier? Have you been particularly impressed by a new innovation? Tell us below!