Much of what we see at CES focuses on technological innovation for innovation’s sake, or obvious attempts to tap into whatever trend is catching the internet’s attention that year. In the last few shows, though, there has been a heartening increase in the focus on assistive products designed to help improve the lives of people with disabilities and other diverse needs. I was pleased to see more development in the accessibility category at CES 2024, with many of the offerings being smart as well as more thoughtfully designed. It’s easy to get distracted by all the shiny, flashy, glamorous, and weird technology at CES, but I wanted to take the time to give my favorite accessibility products some due attention in Las Vegas.
Before I even posted my bags, multiple colleagues had sent me a link to GyroGlove’s website after being awarded several CES Innovation awards. The device is a hand stabilizing glove that uses gyroscopic power to minimize tremors in those with hand tremors. Because the demo unit on the show floor it was too big for meand more importantly, my hand does not tremble, I could not accurately assess the effectiveness of the glove.
However, I talked to a man with parkinson’s disease at the booth a few days ago. He said the GyroGlove helped him perform tasks like buttoning a shirt more easily, and he intends to buy one for himself. At $5,899, the device is quite expensive, which is the sad state of accessory products these days. But GyroGlove’s makers say they are in talks with some insurance providers in the US, which could lead to coverage for those who could benefit from it in America. This is one of the biggest reasons why we call GyroGlove one of them Our winners for CES 2024.
At CES 2024, I never thought I’d get an in-depth look at a person’s mouth and nose, but here we are. Sometimes you have to do weird things to check out unconventional gadgets. Mouth pillow as unusual as it is. It’s a tongue-in-cheek controller for phones, tablets, and laptops, and basically anything that will accept Bluetooth mouse input. Components include a touchpad built into the palette, which is basically a holder, as well as a battery and a Bluetooth radio.
As strange as the concept sounds, it could be a boon for people who can’t use their limbs, as your tongue as a muscle can offer more precise movement and control than, say, your eyes. If you’re worried about sticking the device in your mouth, it might help to know that the battery is from a company that makes medical-grade implants, and the rest of the tray is made of resin. commonly used in aligners and bite guards. The product is currently available as an early access package that includes installation and calibration assistance, and a new version (with longer battery life) will be available later this year.
Assistive technology company OrCam won Best CES Award for Accessibility in 2022, so I wanted to check out what’s in store this year. I was not disappointed. The company had several updated products to show off, but the most exciting was a new offering for people with hearing loss. The OrCam Hear system is a three-part package that includes a pair of earbuds, a dongle for your phone, and an app. Together, the various parts work to filter out background noise while identifying and isolating specific speakers in a multi-way conversation.
During a raucous event at CES 2024, I watched the voices of select people around me clear or muffle in the demo, and listened as company reps moved their icons in and out of my hearing field. I was especially impressed when the system was able to identify my editor next to me and let me focus on his voice or filter it out.
If you’re a gamer, you’ll know how important beeps are sometimes to a successful run. Developers often design the sound environment for their games not only to be rich and immersive, but also to include cues to approach enemies or danger. Hard-of-hearing players can miss out on this, and it’s unfair that they should be put at a disadvantage because of their disability.
A A product called Audio Radar according to the company, it can help turn audio signals into visual cues so players with hearing loss can “see the sound.” Installation is quite simple. The box connects to the game console to interpret the audio output and convert it to lights. A series of RGB light bars surround the screen and display different colors depending on the type of sound coming from the respective direction they represent.
CES 2024 not only saw the official launch of Audio Radar, but it was also where the company unveiled its SDK for game developers to create custom visual cues for players who are hard of hearing. The company’s founder and CEO Tim Murphy told Engadget that he’s partnering with Logitech to “support us as we further develop our product and map out our go-to-market strategy” with the gaming accessories maker.
Google Glass was resurrected at CES 2024. A new product called Transcribe Glass is a small screen that you can attach to any frame and the result is very similar a long-dead Google device. It connects to your phone and uses that device’s onboard processing to transcribe what it hears, then projects the text onto a small transparent display above the eye. Because TranscribeGlass uses third-party APIs for translation, you’ll be able to change the font size, adjust the scrolling speed, and select the language model of your choice. Yes, it also converts foreign languages into a language you understand.
The company is targeting a late-year launch and hopes to offer the device for $199. When I tried it out on the show floor, I was surprised at how light and adjustable the device was. I had to squint a bit to see the titles and experienced some Bluetooth lag, but otherwise the transcriptions happened fairly quickly and seemed accurate. TranscribeGlass should last about eight hours on a charge, which seems reasonable considering all it does.
Samsung’s subtitle accessibility features
Although we didn’t catch a demonstration of it in person, Samsung he briefly noted “Sign language feature on Samsung Neo QLED” and “easily operated by gestures for the hearing impaired” and Audio Subtitle feature [that] turns text subtitles into real-time spoken words for the visually impaired.” We didn’t find it at the show, but the concept certainly makes sense. Plus, the main appeal of Samsung TVs is that these features are more widely used than most of the niche products we’ve covered in this roundup.
We’re reporting live from CES 2024 in Las Vegas, January 6-12. Stay up to date with the latest news from the show here.