BIOTECH: How Technology is Helping Specially-Abled People

Dr S.S. Verma is a professor at Department of Physics, Sant Longowal Institute of Engineering and Technology, Sangrur, Punjab


HeadMouse Nano.

HeadMouse Nano replaces the standard computer mouse for people who cannot use or have limited use of their hands. Mounted on the top of a laptop’s screen and showing an onscreen keyboard, it tracks and translates natural movements of the user’s head into directly proportional mouse pointer movements—move your head and the mouse pointer moves as well. The HeadMouse has a wireless optical sensor that tracks a tiny disposable target worn by the user on forehead, glasses or even a hat. With HeadMouse Nano’s high tracking resolution, users can perform such tasks as drawing, photo editing, graphic illustration and computer-aided design.


Advances in 3D printing and bio-electronics are allowing replacement of lost limbs with prosthetics, giving specially abled people extra functionality. Bionics enables prosthetic limbs such as hands that can be controlled via a mobile app.

DEKA robotic arm.

This highly sophisticated and highly functional prosthetic arm for injured people has such precision and control that the user can peel a grape. The arm supports a number of customisable controls and modular components, making it easy to tailor to users’ individual needs, whether they require only a hand or an entire arm and shoulder socket. Another promising feature of the arm is its sensory feedback system.


It is a special sensor device for people in wheelchairs who face the problem of ‘pressure sores.’ Pressure sores are caused by sitting or lying in the same position for too long. This decreases blood circulation to the area under pressure, eventually leading to a breakdown of the skin in that area.

The RoboDesk sensor device fits snugly on a wheelchair seat and connects to a smartphone app via Bluetooth. If the app notices that the pressure over an area of the skin hasn’t changed over a certain period of time, it will notify the user as a reminder to move.

Developers of the device are contemplating a version for hospitals, where critical care patients are at an increased risk of developing bedsores.

RoboDesk for wheelchair-bound people (Image courtesy:
RoboDesk for wheelchair-bound people (Image courtesy:

HeadMouse Extreme.

It replaces the standard keyboard for those who can’t move their hands. It translates the head movements into proportional mouse pointer movements, performing the respective operation.

Gesture Search.

This Google app for Android helps users to find something quickly on their Android device. Users need to draw a single initial character to get a quick list of matching items on their device. The app helps users to quickly navigate through contacts, applications, settings, bookmarks and much more with utmost ease.

Key to success

People with disabilities often benefit from technology developed for regular consumers, but it also works the other way around. It has been found that when manufacturers design with special needs in mind, their products get better for everybody. While it’s a great news for specially abled people that tech companies are taking interest in making products for them, there’s still a long way to go as high cost of these products remains the biggest barrier to their adoption.




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