Significant growth in innovations of assistive technologies for people with disabilities

 The United Nations praised in a report released on Tuesday the significant rise in innovations aimed at helping people with disabilities of all kinds, especially mobility and visual, and their increasing integration into consumer products.

The report on technology trends issued by the World Intellectual Property Organization of the United Nations noted that more than a billion people need assistive technology, and it is expected that this number will double during the next decade due to the phenomenon of population aging.

However, only one in ten people with disabilities in the world have access to the assistive products they need.

The need to meet this volume of demand has led to a boom in assistive technology innovations, as the report notes that they have witnessed double-digit growth in recent years.

In parallel, the intersection between consumer electronics and assistive products contributed to the expansion of the commercial spread of these technologies, as the organization said in a statement.

"People with disabilities have long relied on new technologies to achieve their independence and be able to interact with their environment in a better way," Darren Tang, Director-General of the Singaporean organization, said in the introduction to the report.

"From the invention of crutches in ancient Egypt to tablets that allow the blind today to read Braille, passing through prosthetic limbs in the Middle Ages, we are today at the beginning of a future in which self-driving wheelchairs, mind-controlled hearing devices, and health data and emotion monitoring devices contribute to this," he added. Reducing the impact of human impairments. "

The report stated that more than 130,000 patents for assistive technologies were published between 1998 and mid-2020, including 15592 during this period related to new assistive technologies alone, such as assistive robots, smart home applications, smart accessories for the visually impaired, and smart glasses.

The rate of patent applications for new assistive technologies increased more than three times (with an average annual growth rate of 17% during the period 2013-2017) the growth of applications for "traditional assistive technologies" that provide improvements to familiar products, such as wheelchair seats or wheels in order to be suitable for different types of Different from the terrain, the devices have Braille functionality for the visually impaired.

The report revealed that China, the United States, Germany, Japan and South Korea are the five countries with the most innovation in assistive technology.

He also indicated that universities and government research institutions occupy the most prominent position in the data collection related to new assistive technologies.

However, the private sector also plays a "major role" in developing assistive technologies, especially companies specializing in this field, such as "WS Audiology", "Cochlear", "Sonova", "Second Seth" and "Usur".

Consumer electronics manufacturers (such as "Panasonic", "Samsung", "IBM", "Google" and "Hitachi") and automobile sector companies ("Toyota" and "Honda") are also considered major players in this field, according to Organization report.

The UN agency also noted that technologies developed primarily for people with functional limitations are often being incorporated into consumer products. For example, a bone conduction dedicated to relieving certain hearing disabilities has been integrated into an application for headphones used for running, according to the organization.

The deputy director general of the organization, Marco Alemann, said that "devices that link the brain to the machine or that work with the eye movement recognition system, which help people with cerebral palsy to use computers, may also be integrated into applications within video games or communication tools."

He expressed his satisfaction that "these technologies that contribute to improving the quality of life will be widely commercialized and will benefit those who need them most."


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