Smartphone technology has been designed for people with good manual dexterity. As such, people with upper-body mobility issues, including those with physical disabilities, can experience difficulties using their smartphones. With funding from NSERC, IRAP, the Canadian Frailty Network and Age-Well, Ryerson University’s Deb Fels partnered with Komodo OpenLab to complete usability testing of Tecla Shield 3, a device that allows users with mobility impairment to operate a smartphone. The device customizes the controls to accept a wide range of hands-free gestures — even blinking, or blowing air — to activate a switch and access digital apps.
By helping to develop this inclusive technology, Fels is supporting a more independent lifestyle for people with mobility issues, producing an invaluable tool to help them communicate and make the workplace and home more accessible.