Naidex is a great chance to go and see the newest equipment that might help people with disabilities. Held at the National Exhibition Centre near Birmingham it showcases everything from ready prepared meals right through to campervans specially designed to maximise accessibility.
I had carefully marked off all of the important stands that I wanted to visit. Instead I wandered from stand to stand because nearly all of them had something very interesting to demonstrate!
Of course there are lots of technology companies showing off their latest products. Alongside these companies however are some companies that have very good ideas that seem very simple.
Nudgu is one of these services which allows carers of people with conditions like autism and autism to record phone messages and then have them played to their relatives at specific times. Handy if you want to remind someone to take their medication. You even get a message telling you if your message has been received or not.
REMAP were also at the show and they can come up with a custom solution if you have a problem and there isn't any commercially available technology that can help you out.
Ram Mounts were also at the show and it was interesting to see how their mounts actually connected onto wheelchairs.
Well known communication specialists such as Abilla Toby Churchill and Tobi Dynavox were also in attendance but small companies such as Dad in a Shed were there too with their Articuloud software which can turn any Android smartphone into a fully functional AAC device to help with communication. Tippy-talk were also there showing off their instant communication app which gives the chance for a non verbal child or adult to use pictures which are translated through text messages.
Moving away from communication, there were companies showing off OCR built into glasses so if you have conditions such as dyslexia you can have text read out to you with a discreet voice in your ear, Games controllers were also much in evidence with some nice hardware from Lepmis.
I think one of my favourite devices though was made by a company called VirtuCare who have brought the world of virtual reality into care centres where some of the patients might have dementia. If I didn’t know better I could have sworn I was watching the Northern Lights whilst wearing one of their VR headsets. It was so realistic I could hear the fire crackle outside of some 'virtual' log cabins!
Shows like Naidex do really show how technology is helping people with disabilities regain and keep their independence. I'm already looking forward to next year's show.