Technology and disability, a market serving inclusion estimated at more than 20 billion worldwide

Whether it is a question of being able to communicate, to move around, to work or to live independently, inclusion as a state of a society which gives access to all, whatever the handicap and the level of handicap, is a major human issue. Technology can provide ever-changing livelihood solutions, both for people with disabilities, but also for older people. The WHO estimates in 2021 that one billion people will be disabled worldwide, with a growing economic stake in an assistive technology market that will reach around $20 billion in 2024.

Artificial intelligence brings a lot to people by erasing barriers related to disabilities, thanks to facial and image recognition, text summarization, audio description content, real-time subtitles and translations. The graphics can also allow for better ergonomics. Smartphones and website technology facilitate this digital accessibility, which should allow everyone to achieve the autonomy that is essential in a dematerialized world.

Smartphones remain the fetish object of developers in this area since many applications make it possible to meet needs, via artificial intelligence. Robotics and cobotics (collaboration between humans and robots) promote the inclusion of people commensurate with their abilities. Robots, decried as carrying dehumanization on the labor market, nevertheless boost the hiring of atypical profiles and create new suitable positions.

Arthur XimenesBrazilian lawyer with disabilities, created a robot guide, Lysa, to provide autonomy to a population of 6.5 million visually impaired people and founded his successful company,
hefestoshop. Morgane Haguel, a French sociologist, created U31, combining formal writing rules associated with an AI making texts more readable and clear. It now collaborates with a number of public institutions.

The metaverse is the flagship technology for creating virtual spaces accessible to everyone through avatars. This is the challenge of the collaboration of No├Ęsis Innovation led by the economist Isabelle Djian Lignon and the Disability Policy Observatory on the project for the world’s first disability art and history museum in metaverse format. This is a revolutionary means of accessing culture, which breaks people’s physical and mental isolation.

The social impact is eminent since people hitherto ignored in the economic world can assert their right of expression and existence, and reassess their financial power, by accessing work, entrepreneurship and presenting an opportunity. to participate in the economy, in the same way as able-bodied people.

It now remains to make these technologies more financially accessible. Particularly in the automotive industry, in order to address ignored consumers in the inexpensive ranges. Those who today must think of an adaptation of their vehicle themselves, or give it up.

According to the Disability Research Society report Return on Disability Group(1), the total disposable income in the market is $1.9 trillion.

Everywhere, it is aid that benefits the disabled, and more broadly the research and development of technologies, our lives and our economies of the future.

(1) Report Summary: The Global Economics of Disability

Tribune written by Capucine LEMAIRE, President of the Disability Policy Observatory

<<< Also read: Disability: Support For Telework, A Question Of Listening! >>>

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