Andy Lin talks tech

'The differences between assistive devices and consumer devices are shrinking
Monday, July 27, 2015

DOWNEY, Calif. – Wearable technology may sound futuristic, but it’s not, says Andy Lin, who recently held a workshop on the topic at RESNA 2015 in Denver in June.

Here’s what Lin, an ATP and technology specialist at the Center for Applied Rehabilitation Technology at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, had to say about why assistive and consumer devices are merging.

HME News: How do wearable technologies like Google Glass benefit people with limited mobility?

Andy Lin: They mainly provide a way to have instant access to information. I worked with someone who is a paraplegic so he can only do so much with his hands. If he wanted to answer a call he had to fumble around with his fingers, but with Google Glass, he was able to make calls, check Twitter, text message, email—all those things—using just his voice with some modification. 

HME News: How far along has wearable technology come?

Lin: It’s really on the precipice of a lot of advancement. For people with disabilities, it’s an untapped market.

HME: Are HME companies missing out on an opportunity here?

Lin: I think it’s definitely something that HME companies should look at. There are platforms that are readily available. For instance, Apple has a software development kit for their watches, so there are functions that HME companies can look at and build upon, or build things that could work with these devices like controllers and sensors for them. There’s definitely an open field for that. 

HME: Where do you see assistive devices in the next few years?

Lin: The differences between assistive devices and consumer devices are shrinking. For years, communication devices were made specifically for people who had trouble speaking. However, in the past few years, you see more people with communication needs using iPads or Android tablets rather than these dedicated devices.