Disability affects 1 in 5 people



Around 70% of people with disabilities
are out of work



Disability affects 11% more women than men

Empowering people with disabilities through mobile technologies


Nearly 1 in every 5 people will experience at some stage of their lives a disability or impairment. In most cases, this disability or impairment is or will become a determent to carry on daily routines or fully enjoy and access different aspects of their lives. Universal Accessibility implies a transversal approach to the living environment of people with disabilities and makes reference to the elimination of existing barriers from the daily life of these people. These barriers can be related to communication, social life, physical environment, access to public services and employment, and transportation among others.

Digital and mobile technologies have contributed in the recent years to the promotion of Design for All and Universal Accessibility by providing new and innovative concepts in the form of services and products. However, their potential has not been fully addressed as the common lack of consideration of cognitive accessibility during the design and set up of mobile and digital services and products shows. A lot more can be done in supporting and empowering people with disabilities to live more independently and have a more fulfilling life.


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Why it matters


It has been estimated by the World Health Organization that 15-19% of the world population older than 15 years old have a moderate or severe disability, affecting between 785 and 975M of people. Overall, disability affects 11% more women than men and in addition to this, the responsibility of looking after family members with disabilities is mostly taken up by women, showing how gender considerations also matter when addressing the needs of people with disabilities and their supporting environments and networks.

People with disabilities are more affected by poverty, in part influenced by the difficulty to access education services and the labour market. The risk of poverty affects 32% of the population with disabilities in Spain, nearly 5% higher than the general population. Families also have to pay for supporting services, spending in average, 29-37% of their income in Australia and 20-37% in Ireland, representing an additional economic burden on the families.

Another study on employment carried by the United Nations showed that in developing countries, about 80-90% of people with disabilities are unemployed or outside the work force, being this percentage reduced to 50-70% in industrialized countries. In the case of Spain, unemployment affects 63% of people with disabilities that are within working age. The living, working and support conditions of people with disabilities have strongly worsen in Europe over the last few years due to the reduction of the public budgets allocated to these collectives.

In 2008, the Spanish Institute of Statistics calculated that 8,5% of the Spanish population had a disability. This implies 3.8M of people from which over 600,000 leave alone in their houses and 1.39M have a high degree of dependence and cannot do basic daily activities without support.


What we are looking for


This challenge aims to find truly disruptive and innovative solutions that can empower and have a positive impact in the lives of people with disabilities in aspects that can vary from access to education and the labour market, health and public services, or enjoyment of novel services that take into account areas so diverse as the management of emotions, or the safe access and use of mobile technologies by children with disabilities. By strengthening the role played by digital and mobile technologies and supporting the development of new and innovative services, barriers to access more personalised, financially accessible, and non-geographic bounded services can be overcome.

Ambassadors


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Share this challenge



Winners


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winner

Irisbond

Irisbond’s webcam eye tracker is a system that allows the user to control the mouse cursor by the movement of their eyes, using only a standard webcam instead of very complex and expensive devices.

winner

Wayfindr

Wayfindr enables people to navigate the world using audio instructions from their smart phones. Wayfindr provides digital navigation makers and owners of public spaces with the tools to provide people with consistent, high quality digital navigation services.
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TOP 8 Finalists


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Aira

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Be My Eyes

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BlindTouch

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Irisbond


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Outbarriers

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Sesame

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uSound

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Wayfindr


TOP 16 Finalists


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Aira

Aira is a visual interpreter for the blind. It is using Augmented Reality to literally augment a wide range of information. From exploring new neighborhoods and restaurants in the city, to traveling the globe – Aira empowers the blind to experience their world and surroundings like never before.
Country: USA
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App&Town

App&Town Compagnon
is a system for people with mobility impairments, that allows to use public transport with
precise guidance
provided by a mobile app
and a continuous monitoring
of the user
from a Control Center.
Country: Spain
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Be My Eyes

A free mobile app that aims to make the world more accessible by helping the blind & visually impaired in situations where a pair of eyes is needed. Be My Eyes connects individuals in need of visual assistance with sighted volunteers via a video call on a
smartphone.
Country: Denmark
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Blind Explorer

Blind Explorer provides a new
and innovative eyes/hands/mind-free 3D Sound Navigator Assistant for people with visual impairment, a personal guidance system that allows them autonomous and
safe movement in the outdoors, improving their mobility and
quality of life.
Country: Spain

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BlindTouch

BlindTouch is a complete product
that allows visually impaired users
full control over a
fundamentally sighted technology,
with a range of essential utilities
to increase independence,
connectivity
and self-esteem.
Country: Israel
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Eyesynth

Eyesynth system empowers the user with easy-to-use technology, providing spatial information through sounds. Special software algorithm converts 3-D information provided by cameras into understandable audio for the blind and visually impaired.
Country: Spain
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Feelif

Patented innovation Feelif is a multimedia device for blind and visually impaired people, consisting of touch screen device with a special app and a special relief grid.
With Feelif one can feel shapes, hear sounds, music, speech and see colors.
Country: Slovenia
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Irisbond

Irisbond’s webcam eye tracker
is a system that allows
the user to control
the mouse cursor
by the movement of their eyes,
using only a standard webcam
instead of very complex
and expensive devices.
Country: Spain

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Lazzus

Lazzus is an assistant that accompanies blind and visually impaired people as they move around, creating an auditory field of vision. It points out useful things around you, such as pedestrian crossings, street intersections, businesses, helping you to get around safely.
Country: Spain
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mouse4all

Mouse4all is an accessibility solution that allows to use tablets and Android phones without touching the screen.
It increases the autonomy of people who use it, facilitating access to the Internet, social networks and applications of all kinds.
Country: Spain
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Outbarriers

Outbarries is born from a real need to help people with vision problems. The Outbarriers’s App (available for Android and iOS) is the most universal, practical and economic solution for people with severe vision problems.It works in the majority of nowadays Smartphones.
Country: Spain
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Sesame

Sesame developed the first-of-its-kind Touch-Free technology for smartphones and tablets, designed by and for people with disabilities. Using the front facing camera together with advanced Computer Vision algorithms, the user can operate the entire device by just movements of his head.
Country: Israel

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Talkitt

Talkitt will enable people
who suffer from motor, speech,
and language disorders
to easily communicate
using their own voice
by translating
the unintelligible pronunciation
into understandable speech.

Country: Israel
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uSound

uSound is a Smart Audio System (uSound app + uSound Smart Earphones) that converts a smartphone into a hearing assistance device. It has intelligence, medical and clinical knowledge embedded in it. It’s interactive and can learn from the person’s need.
Country: Argentina
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Visualfy

Improving lives of deaf people. Visualfy app is translating smart phone sound events into flash-vibration patterns using the entire phone screen. Further, providing a truly inclusive app with accompanying installation and configuration instructions in sign language.
Country: Spain
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Wayfindr

Wayfindr enables people to navigate the world using audio instructions from their smart phones. Wayfindr provides digital navigation makers and owners of public spaces with the tools to provide people with consistent, high quality digital navigation services.
Country: UK