Five New Apps Changing Life for People with Disabilities

With new apps being developed all the time, it’s hard to keep up. Here’s a run-down on some new and coming soon apps likely to benefit people with disabilities.

Beam Smart Presence System
Remote shopping is nothing new, but this app, currently being tested by American Eagle Outfitters, a Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania-based clothing retailer, promises to make remote shopping a more personal, interactive experience. “The Beam Smart Presence System” will help people with mobility challenges that prevent them from traveling to a brick and mortar store to “beam” into an American Eagle location from a computer or tablet. When users “beam in” they can communicate with a sales clerk, who speaks to them through a tablet at the store. Using a second tablet, the shopper can remotely follow the clerk up and down the store aisles as the clerk shows the shopper store merchandise.

Ability App
Twelve-year-old Alexander Knoll has a bright future ahead of him. Alex is working on developing an app to provide information that people with disabilities can use to navigate public spaces. Writes Joe Fryer of NBC.com, the app tells users about where they can find “wheelchair ramps, disabled parking, braille menus and more.” Recently, Alex appeared on the Ellen DeGeneres show where he was presented with a check for $25,000 meant to help him finish developing the app. Hopefully, the app will be available soon.

Glimmer
A dating app for people who want to get beyond the superficial, Glimmer was created by Geoffrey Anderson and launched in Dec. 2016. Anderson developed the app for people like his brother, who has cognitive disabilities, and was frustrated with apps like Tinder, which place so much emphasis on physical appearance. Though Glimmer isn’t exclusively for people with disabilities, it “was designed to promote transparency between users and be welcoming to all people,” according to its website.

Friendi
While some people seek romantic relationships, others are just looking for friendship. People with disabilities — especially disabilities that impact social skills — may experience challenges when it comes to connecting with others. This new app helps parents of youngsters with disabilities find friends for their children. The app matches people based on where they live, their interests and ages. Says Friendi creator, Ben Raskin, “the app works like an ice-breaker,” and “allows parents to be in control and message one another to explore additional resources.”

FuelService
Developed by Niall El-Assaad, a wheelchair user in the U.K., this new app makes it easier for people with physical disabilities to negotiate self-service gas stations. It is now available throughout Canada. El-Assaad told CBS News in British Columbia “he created [the app] in response to his own frustration as a disabled driver. El-Assaad, who was paralyzed in a cycling accident, said he felt embarrassed by having to honk his horn and wave his disability card at gas stations to get assistance.” FuelService helps users to locate gas stations, choose gas pumps and alert station staff to the user’s arrival and need for assistance.

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