Using AI to create your own accessibility tools

by ARC

AI is something that was covered heavily this year by many people so it's somewhat of a tired topic, some people love it and some people hate it, I've been using it a lot those past few days so i lean towards liking it.

I have no interest in AI art or any creative tool using AI, I enjoy the process of making art myself and AI art takes away a lot of that, so I'm only interested in AI that can help me with the tedious tasks such as helping me program my own accessibility tools that can fit my specific needs and other things in that realm.

A custom auto scroll chrome extension

I have zero programming knowledge, but in a few hours i was able to create a chrome extension that helps me auto scroll my Twitter feed or any website by just toggling on the auto scroll button, it stops whenever I move the mouse, this tool helps me a lot with giving my arm a break.

Scrolling might seem like a trivial task for most able bodied people, but with my disability I need to persevere my energy as much as possible and those kinds of tasks can get tiring very quickly. 

This chrome extension is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of things I could make now with the help of AI, I can create very specific tools that wouldn't otherwise exist.  

people with disabilities often require very specific things that other people wouldn't need, so there is no motive to create those tools, but now anyone with a disability can take advantage of AI to code his own simple tools and scripts without programming knowledge. 

After my experience with making the chrome extension and other scripts that were very useful it got me wondering about other low hanging fruit that AI can solve for people with disabilities, one of those issues is a very common one, the need for a fall alarm. 

A lot of people with disabilities need to have an alarm for when they need help, it's often life saving because when you fall and no one is around to help it can get deadly very quickly. there's a lot of products that offer a solution for this issue but most of them are extremely clunky and hard to use.

I bought one from Amazon that was a string you tie to your shirt and when you fall from the wheelchair the string gets pulled and an alarm goes off, it got me thinking "is this really the cutting edge tech for saving the lives of people with disabilities?" it was useless and did not work with my wheelchair setup.

My hope is with this rapid AI advancement we can soon have tools that monitor my seating position from a camera and automatically ring an alarm whenever it detects me sitting unusually, my seating position is often very rigid and does not change often, so it would be trivial for an AI to detect when something is unusual which means I've fallen or I'm not in the right position  

You might be thinking, how can you trust AI with such a life threatening system? AI can be unpredictable and dangerous and might not be suitable for such things.

You would be right in thinking that, but the alternatives are not any better, most products I've tried were extremely dangerous and engineered in an extremely careless way that often only fit elderly people or very few specific conditions.

with AI you can create something that learns and adapts to your very specific needs using off the shelf products such as a webcam and a microphone, with those inputs you can monitor all sorts of things and detect when there's an issue. 

I'll end the article here, I have a lot of thoughts on this topic but I don't want to go on for too long, I'm extremely impressed with the current state of AI and really hoping it gets used for developing things that makes the lives of people with disabilities easier and safer.


Artist, founder of #800x80