Bridging the Touchscreen Accessibility Gap: BrushLens Tech Empowers People with Disabilities

By: | November 5th, 2023

Touch screens are becoming increasingly ubiquitous in our world, but they are not always accessible to everyone. People with disabilities such as visual impairments, motor impairments, and cognitive impairments, can experience significant challenges when using touch screens.

A new smartphone case could narrow this gap, aiding users in accessing ticket kiosks, ATMs, restaurant menus, and a myriad of other applications.

Conceived at the University of Michigan, BrushLens holds the potential to empower users by enabling them to better discern, identify, and interact with buttons and keys on touchscreens.

Users can navigate a touch screen by attaching their phone to BrushLens, which scans the screen with its camera and uses the phone’s built-in screen to read the options aloud. Users can make selections using screen readers or an easily accessible, enlarged button within the BrushLens app, eliminating the need for precise touch gestures.

BrushLens also effectively served individuals prone to unwanted touchscreen selections, with one participant with cerebral palsy experiencing a remarkable 74% increase in accuracy.

The team is aiming to make the product available to users as an affordable phone accessory in the near future. Presently, they are focused on refining the design to ensure it conveniently fits into a pocket.

Watch the video below for a demonstration of the device:

Nidhi Goyal

Nidhi is a gold medalist Post Graduate in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences.

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