The Future(s) of Accessibility

How can we make a difference, together, through technology and innovation for all.

In my continual search for Signals of the Future(s) and keeping close watch on innovations, both dull and thrilling, have curated the latest systems and how they are integrating technology accessibility into products and services across multiple industries.

The role of innovation in fueling an accessible and equitable world.

The World Bank states that one billion people, or 15% of the world’s population, experience some form of disability and the number is expected to reach 2 billion by 2050!

While organizations continue to build an equitable workspace with inclusive design for all diverse communities, I thought it be important to delve into several innovations and assistive technologies across industries and how inclusivity for the disabled is a win-win for all.

Seeing AI

ProDeaf, an application vendor specializing in developing technologies to support the hard-of-hearing and deaf communities, integrated the new Microsoft Translator Speech Translation API into their sign language avatar app to enable multi-lingual support of speech to sign scenarios.  

Voice Interface Technology

Voice interface technology is everywhere and most likely already in your own home and car. Digital voice assistants like Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant control more than 3 billion devices, a figure that’s expected to more than double by 2023. These familiar personas are the public-facing side of popular voice user interfaces, or VUI.

This technology is and will continue to improve crucial business processes and personal efficiencies.

Manufacturers are using VUI to control production lines, engaging with the local industrial internet of things without putting down their tools.

Teachers use VUI devices in the classroom, where they answer student questions, provide instant definitions and facts, and even help with language education.

In the healthcare field, medical professionals enjoy hands-free control of dictation devices, simplifying the creation of medical records.

Adding a VUI to server-based computer systems allows employees to schedule meeting rooms, change appointments, and record notes within a closed, secure system AND without touching a computer terminal.

Provide enterprise-ready voice assistant services. For instance, Synqq is a smart note-taking app that uses natural language understanding to record meetings and highlights the important moments, like discussion of action items.

Conversational AI platforms like MindMeld provide a starting point for companies looking to implement VUI in their own unique customer service systems.

(FYI, I am not consulting for any of these companies)


I am forecasting that the Future(s) of Dashboarding, is no dashboard.

There is a trend towards democratizing access to current dashboarding tools, making them available to a wider range of organizations and individuals.

The core problem lies in the shortage of critical thought and IMAGINATION in today’s world.

I have not been able to find any specific platform or solution today, but dashboards or something like them will evolve to be more responsive and adaptable to the needs of their users bringing the right balance between accessibility and functionality.

The real challenge will be not to create more dashboards or rely more on AI, but to effectively deliver relevant insights to the right people at the right time to facilitate better decision making and improved outcomes.

Looking Back

From increasingly versatile canes and customized prosthetic leg covers to shirts with magnetic closures and shoes with a wrap-around zipper system, the past shows how products created over the past decade are not only becoming more accessible and functional, but fashionable.

Here are a few examples:

  • Audiobooks
  • Automatic Door Openers
  • Typewriters/Keyboards
  • Bendy Straws
  • Curb Cuts
  • Electric Toothbrushes
  • Eye Gaze tracking
  • Good Grips and Similar Kitchen Tools

Through the integration of future(s) groundbreaking assistive technologies, 3-D printing and haptic feedback, new design solutions are also extending sensory perception, providing new ways to navigate and negotiate the environment, and promoting greater access to sports and recreation.


In science fiction, future(s) technology often modifies, supports, and attempts to “make normal” the disabled body. By bringing together the fields of disability studies and science fiction, it empowers us to explore ways dis/abled bodies use prosthetics to challenge common ideas about ability and human being, as well as proposes new understandings of what “technology as cure” means for people with disabilities in a (post)human future(s).

Star Trek’s Captain Pike. In the Star Trek: The Original Series episode “The Menagerie” Captain Pike is severely injured during a rescue mission, leaving him confined and dependent on a wheelchair unit (operated by his brain waves).

Geordi LaForge. He is blind, but his VISOR provides him with sight superior to a standard human’s, although the interface was painful. Later technological improvements gave give him human-appearing eyes, or even regenerate them completely.

Khan Noonian Singh, the genetically augmented ‘superman’, with superior intellect, reflexes, strength, and other benefits.

Star Wars’, Luke Skywalker. In The Empire Strikes Back. Luke loses an arm in Lightsaber battle and is giving a brand-new mechanical copy which is connected directly to his nerve system.

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Disability is everywhere in Gibson’s writing. In The Peripheral, the Airstream is a safe space for a character traumatized in a recent war. The novel mentions PTSD, phantom limbs and disability in its first six lines, while other characters who have multiple physical disabilities become ‘re-embodied’ through participation in the future as a peripheral, an extension of self that is created through telepresence.

Disability may be constantly at the edge of Gibson’s narratives, but it is often centrally important to the storylines. Body extensions and modifications, online personas that ‘hide’ impairments, and processes of data and pattern recognition that suggest autism, are all common.

In conclusion, the future(s) of accessibility are bright as more and more organizations prioritize inclusivity and design their products and services with diverse communities in mind.

From assistive technologies like voice user interfaces and sign language translation apps to fashion-forward products for those with disabilities, there are a multitude of innovations that are helping to create a more equitable world.

It is important to remember that accessibility is not just about addressing the needs of those with disabilities, but about creating solutions that benefit everyone.

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Does your organization possess the many talents, capabilities, and imagination to confidently march into the next decade?

I help people imagine different futures, that they can use, to be better prepared today. This frees you and your stakeholders, to make changes and transform into a Future(s) ready group.

Learn more about Futurism and contact me at