There’s an App for That: Tech Trends for Wheelchair Independence


Living in a wheelchair can make everyday tasks feel like a chore. Simple things, like traveling on public transit and navigating small corridors, can be challenging at the least. But technology is evolving at lightning speed — and many of today’s tech solutions facilitate wheelchair independence.

Whether you want to travel, go shopping, dine out, or find accessible locations, there’s an app for that.

If, say, you’re looking for accessible hotels or retail stores, you no longer have to call in advance and ask about it. Instead, you can use Wheelmap, iAccess Life, or other apps to get reliable accessibility information. Downloading an app onto your smartphone takes just a few seconds, but it can be a game-changer. Now it’s easier than ever before to live life to the fullest — even when you’re in a wheelchair.

Interested to find out more? Let’s take a closer look at the latest tech trends and apps for mobility assistance!

Find Wheelchair-Accessible Places with Wheelmap

Finding wheelchair-accessible restaurants, stores, and other places is one of the biggest challenges for wheelchair users. Luckily, there’s an app for that.

Wheelmap, a free app compatible with Android and iOS devices, lists different locations from all around the world according to their wheelchair accessibility. This service is based on OpenStreetMap and supports 25 languages.

Anyone can update the map by adding new locations. Fully wheelchair accessible places are marked with green color. Users can also search for specific places by name, type, address, or accessibility rating.

A similar app for wheelchair independence is iAccess Life. This free service allows users to rate, review, and search for wheelchair-friendly stores, hotels, and other places.

Looking for Accessible Restrooms and Parking? Try WheelMate

As you know, there are significantly fewer parking spaces for wheelchair users as compared to regular parking spots. The same goes for restrooms. One way to overcome these challenges is to use an app like WheelMate. This online tool pinpoints wheelchair-accessible restrooms and parking spaces across 45 countries. Currently, its database includes more than 35,000 locations.

The app also provides directions and lists the nearest wheelchair-friendly spots. Like Wheelmap, it allows users to add, verify, and rate locations.

Buy or Rent Wheelchair-Accessible Vehicles with MobilityWorks

For most people, buying or renting a car is not a big deal. With some luck, anyone can get a used vehicle for next to nothing. Things are a lot more complicated for wheelchair users, though.

When you’re in a wheelchair, you can’t buy just any car. First, you need to make sure it has scooter lifts, deployable ramps, and other accessibility features. Plus, it should provide more space than a regular vehicle. Finding a wheelchair-friendly vehicle for rent when you’re on a vacation is even more difficult. This aspect alone could ruin your trip.

But there’s an app for that. It’s called MobilityWorks and features a huge database of new and used wheelchair-accessible vans. Depending on your needs, you can either buy or rent one for a day, a weekend, or several weeks. MobilityWorks enables users to sort vehicles by brand, year of manufacturing, location, price, style, and more. Each listing has detailed photos and provides information about the type of conversion, such as rear or side entry manual fold out.

Customers can request at-home drive tests and place their orders online or over the phone.

The Activity App Promotes a Healthy Lifestyle

Wheelchair users are prone to obesity and its complications, such as high cholesterol and elevated blood sugar. Physical inactivity is often the culprit. In clinical trials, regular exercise improved cardiometabolic health and reduced pain in those living in a wheelchair. This approach has been proven effective against inflammation, depression, heart disease, and diabetes.

Physical activity, especially resistance training, may also prevent further disability and facilitate wheelchair independence.

Fitness trackers can provide the motivation you need to stay active. The problem is that most devices and apps are not suitable for wheelchair users. For example, they track the number of steps — that’s not something you can actually use.

That’s where Apple’s Activity app comes in handy. Along with the Workout app, it keeps track of your daily activity level and movement. Both apps are compatible with the Apple Watch. They use sensors that measure the calories burned when moving your wheelchair on different surfaces.

Users can also set daily activity goals and adjust how the screen responds to their touch. For example, they may choose to ignore repeat touches and set their own speed for double or triple clicks.

Voice Activation Apps Make Everyday Tasks Easier

When you’re in a wheelchair, you may find it difficult to use your hands to surf the web or take notes while moving around. Google voice search, Dragon Dictation, and other speech recognition programs make everything easier.

These apps allow users to set phone reminders, make calls, and even update their Facebook status without using their hands.

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If, say, you’re on your way to the store and want to check the latest deals, you may use Google voice search to find what you need without having to take your hands off the wheelchair.

Google Assistant and other smart speakers allow you to dim the lights, turn on the music, watch how-to videos, and more — with just your voice.

Discover the Best Apps and Add-ons for Wheelchair Independence

Thanks to modern technology, life in a wheelchair isn’t as difficult as it used to be.

Nowadays, there’s an app for everything, from cooking to making travel plans. The latest tech trends facilitate wheelchair independence, making it easier to do the things you enjoy.

Speaking of independence, have you seen these automation devices for the disabled? From smart lights and doorbells to voice assistants, these gadgets can simplify the most challenging tasks. Browse the rest of our blog to find out more!

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For people living with disabilities, some of the greatest challenges lie in everyday activities like opening and closing the blinds, turning on the lights or turning off the TV. There are many things in daily life that home-automation can make easier for people with mobility or muscle control impairments. Here’s a list of home automation devices, and how they can improve the lives of people with disabilities.

How can evika help you?

evika is an educational platform. We don’t sell anything!

We provide information that can help people with disabilities make decisions about what technology can help with their specific needs.

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