The Technology Related Assistance to Individuals with Disabilities Act of 1988 described an assistive technology device as "any item, piece of equipment, or product system, whether acquired commercially off the shelf, modified, or customized, that is used to increase, maintain, or improve functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities."
Assistive technologies can be "high tech" and "low tech:" from canes and lever doorknobs to voice recognition software and augmentative communication devices (speech generating devices).
Service dogs are dogs that are trained to help their owner with a specific disability. For example, dogs can be trained to pick things up, visually guide those with visual impairments, remind you to take medication, or help those with poor balance.
Various types of canes, most popularly the long cane, can help individuals who are blind or have low vision navigate with confidence.
Electronic Mobility Aids
Electronic mobility aids are devices that use ultrasonic waves to reflect off of obstacles in front of the individual to tell them what is coming in front of them. The usefulness of these devices is debated and they often need to be used in conjunction with a long cane or a service dog. Some examples include:
These assistive technologies are examples of software/devices that can help those who are blind or visually impaired read printed material or surf the web.