Advanced Assistive Technology on Display at AccessAbilities Expo

  • Starkey showcases AI-powered advanced hearing aid solutions
  • World’s first smart cane and wheelchairs on display
  • New wheelchair technology for various disabilities and difficult terrains

Advanced assistive technologies, powered by latest innovations in the fields of robotics and Artificial Intelligence (AI), with an ability to significantly impact the lifestyle of Persons with Disabilities are showcased at the 5th AccessAbilities Expo 2023 being held in Dubai.

The exhibition being held under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority, Chairman of Dubai Airports, Chairman and Chief Executive of Emirates Airline and Group has brought together more than 250 companies from across 50 countries. The Expo is organised by Nadd Al Shiba PR & Event Management.

From the world’s first smart cane and wheelchairs specifically designed for persons with disabilities in the GCC to hearing aids powered by advanced machine learning technologies, more than 4,500 products for People of Determination are on display at the three-day expo being held at the Dubai World Trade Centre.

Rapid advancements in technology and latest innovations are not just powering products and solutions but are creating an economy of scale, thereby eliminating hurdles and barriers faced by the community. Ongoing research is further paving the way for the development of prototypes that are being developed using advanced analytics.

Technology and innovation are key topics being discussed at the Knowledge Hub – a special forum that is exploring topics and issues on how the region can enhance its services and opportunities for People with Disabilities.

The industry is also gaining from expanding opportunities resulting from more leading industry players, technology leaders and SMEs entering the fray, and entrepreneurs launching new cutting-edge solutions that are transforming People with Disabilities into more independent persons, giving them greater control over their lives and providing them with better opportunities.

The WeWalk smart cane is aimed at enhancing the ability of visually impaired persons to navigate independently. The smart cane works through integration of key technologies that can precisely detect obstacles above chest levels with an ultrasonic sensor that vibrates when these objects are nearby. Users can also use the smartphone application, including navigation controls with the smart cane’s touchpad.

Innovations in wheelchair technology have made the vehicles adjust to various types of disabilities, terrains and automation. Among those being displayed at the expo are floating beach wheelchairs and accessible beach matting for access to seaside facilities for people with restricted mobility.

Ray Gilani, Managing Director of Gilani Mobility said they are in the process of launching new innovative products, including a model being developed specifically for those in the GCC. “We are going to soon launch an innovative wheelchair, which is specifically designed for the region, giving the People with Disabilities more independence, freedom and comfort in their personal space,” said Gilani.

Eng. Ahmed A. Saleh, Manager at Life World Medical Supplies, emphasising the role of ML & AI said:  “You will soon see in every other product on the market that its impact will be more significantly felt by the Persons with Disabilities.” The company is preparing to launch Hand Bike and Power Wheelchair with encasement.

“The new technologies that People with Disabilities can expect soon include enhanced imaging systems, smart robots and wearable technology and simulation platforms,” he added.

Starkey Middle East and Africa, which specialises in developing advanced hearing aid solutions, is showcasing  products with the use of AI. Giscard Bechara, Managing Director of Starkey Middle East and Africa said using even more sophisticated Machine Learning and AI strategies to mimic human performance  Starkey has continued to focus on improving the hearing aid performance in noisy environs.

“Evolve AI hearing aids, which is being displayed, can execute up to 55 million personalised adjustments every hour. Edge Mode, a feature in select Starkey hearing aids that optimises speech audibility and sound quality in various listening environments, puts the power of AI at fingertips, allowing patients to access alternative settings for challenging listening environments.  It becomes easier for People of Determination to understand speech, to reduce noise and just go about their day-to-day life.” he said.