July 13, 2017
Necessity Is The Mother of Invention

Five More Ways People with Disabilities Are Driving Innovation

Round table covered with pieces of paper with the word "Ideas" written in various fonts.

Disabilities are a reality for about 15% of the world’s population.  As inhabitants of a world not always ideally built to suit their needs, members of the disability community innovate to make their lives easier. These accommodations not only help them, but promote inclusiveness, ultimately benefiting everyone. Here are a few examples of incredible innovations in the marketplace today.

  1. If you’re a person with a disability, it can be hard to find accessible businesses, like restaurants with low, wheelchair-friendly tables. Thanks to the ingenuity of a 12-year-old boy, now people with disabilities will soon have an app to help them. Alexander Knoll is creating the Abililty App. Similar to Yelp, this app will help people with disabilities, and their companions, navigate public spaces.   It provides information about wheelchair ramps, disabled parking, braille menus and more.
  2. Climbing a tree to access a treehouse is not an option for some people with physical disabilities. The all-accessible treehouse was designed to give people of all physical abilities a bird’s eye view, and an awe-inspiring experience.
  3. As many as 49% of autistic children over the age of four are prone to wandering. Christine Carr, the mother of an autistic child, created a solution. Nonni, a security drone, is designed to watch children who wander.  Nonni uses facial recognition to follow any child.  Carr predicts that Nonni may also be helpful for caregivers of individuals living with Alzheimer’s disease.
  4. When Gordon Hartman set out to create the first accessible water park, his main goal was to create an environment of inclusion for everyone. Morgan’s Inspiration Island water park takes accessibility to the next level. There are waterproof wheelchairs, and waterproof wristbands. There are also riverboats that rise up to meet people in wheelchairs. The park even has a way to change the water temperature quickly for guests sensitive to cold water—an accommodation benefiting anyone who’s not a member of the Polar Bear Swimming Club!
  5. Like every young person on the cusp of adulthood, young people with disabilities yearn for independence. While the notion of living away from the family unit that has provided constant care and support is a difficult one, independent-living apartment buildings like Cornerstone Creek make the decision less worrisome. The building provides housing for people with a variety of physical and mental disabilities, and also promotes autonomy.  Innovative facilities like these provide comfort and peace of mind for residents and their families.

The disability community is at the forefront of life-improving inventions. Join us this month in Orlando at the 2017 USBLN 20th Annual National Conference & Biz2Biz Expo, entitled “Disability: A Catalyst for Innovation,” and experience some of the breakthrough innovations presented. This three-day leadership conference is the preeminent national business-to-business event that focuses on sharing and developing proven strategies for including people with disabilities in the workplace, supply chain, and marketplace.


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