As many millennials do these days, when I heard that I’d be writing for Mobility Management, I did a quick “Google” of the mobility, accessibility and complex rehab technology industries. What I thought would be a few Web pages helping me to understand the industry turned into a wormhole of educational information, videos on client success and amazing technological advances that helped to shape my view of the industry.
Included in my search results was an academic paper explaining eye gaze technology. I had heard the words before, as Editor Laurie Watanabe had said them to me in passing during a conversation about the industry. I had jotted the phrase down in my notebook with the intentions of looking it up, but was later side tracked.
But there it was: the fifth search result.
For a lot of those reading my blog, eye gaze technology is nothing new to you, so I won’t bore you with explaining what it is. For me, however, this leads into a world of understanding independence in the seated and wheeled mobility community.
The eye gaze technology shows just how far this industry’s professionals are willing to go to give freedom to someone who may only be able to physically move their eyes. From my research (and yes, I Googled it), I found that even if a person has no mobility of the extremities at all, they usually do have control of their eyes.
What this says to me is that someone saw a small bit of leniency and jumped on it. What a feat in perspective! Instead of doctors and providers asking a client to adjust the way they move, such as build up strength in a certain area to fit the constraints of a technology already made, they find out what is best and most comfortable for the client and tailor a solution to them.
I found this in several different instances: Perhaps the client can blow on a straw, use their fingertips or tap their foot. While eye gaze technology helps with communication or to navigate a computer, other small movements can be utilized to mobilize a wheelchair and give back some independence.
Again, this may seem like old news to a lot of those who will read my blog, but the recurring theme of meeting the client where they are rather than where you want them to be doesn’t happen in many other industries. The mobility sector is significantly unique, and you should be proud to be a part of it.