Bringing the widest and newest range of Assistive Technology products to the Middle East region that is home to over 50 million people with Special Needs, the 5th AccessAbilities Expo in Dubai from 9-11 October will take the social inclusion agenda to newer heights by introducing a bouquet of newest technologies and latest innovations to visitors from the UAE and the wider Middle East region.
At the three halls of the Dubai World Trade Centre, the pulsating international exhibition for People with Disabilities will become a playground for the global and regional manufacturers of assistive and rehabilitative products to catch their eyeballs and win the hearts of the disabled community. This year’s edition, bigger in space and products display than the previous editions, will see the participation of 300 exhibitors from 50 countries.
The largest accessible technology-focused platform in the Middle East, Africa and the Indian Subcontinent, is expected to attract about 12,000 disabled community visitors from all the 22 countries of the Middle East region. A large chunk of over 4,500 existing assistive technologies for varied disabilities will be under the umbrella during the show.
All the experts said in unison that the UAE has been one of the best countries in the world for showing its unfaltering support to People with Disabilities and in providing them the best technology to live independently. They also expressed happiness at participating the AccessAbilities Expo in reaching out to the 50 million-strong disabled community in the Middle East and supporting them by bringing to them technology and innovative products.
Andy Faulkner, CEO of Topland, a leading supplier in the MENA of products and services to improve the accessibility of venues, places and businesses, says the company will demonstrate its latest assistive products and conduct live demonstrations of the visual doorbell, phone alerting systems and vibrating fire alarm monitors to assist deaf or hard of hearing. The world’s first smart cane, WeWALK, will be presented by the brand ambassador. On display will be floating beach wheelchairs and accessible beach matting for access to seaside facilities for people with restricted mobility.
Also in sharp focus will be Hidden Disabilities Sunflower, a simple volunteering tool for people with disabilities like autism, dyslexia and hearing and visual impairment that Dubai Airports and Emirates Airlines launched at AAE-2022. He says over the past 18 months, there has been an increase in enquiries from the public and private sectors looking for accessibility assistance and advice due to the accessible tourism sector growth.
Ray Gilani, Managing Director of Gilani Mobility, said the disabled community in the GCC region can soon expect an innovative wheelchair conversion designed by it specifically for them. This gives them more independence, freedom and comfort in their personal space.
Robin Lin, Manager of BIOBASE, said his company will showcase its wheelchairs and hospital beds that help People with Disabilities move and sleep properly. He said the UAE has been very well supporting People with Disabilities everywhere much to the public admiration.
Eng. Ahmed A. Saleh, Manager at Life World Medical Supplies, said the new technologies that People with Disabilities can expect soon include enhanced imaging systems, smart robots and wearable technology and simulation platforms. AI will become part of everything shortly, he added. His mobility company is preparing to launch Hand Bike and Power Wheelchair with encasement.
The much-anticipated exhibition is 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.
Giscard Bechara Managing Director of Starkey Middle East and Africa, said Starkey has continued to focus on improving the hearing aid performance in noisy environs by using even more sophisticated Machine Learning and AI strategies to mimic human performance. The opportunity for processing that goes on in a hearing aid now is not just to amplify sound in a way to mimic the sensors, sensor cells in your ear, but also, pre-process that signal in a way to help your brain understand those sounds that matter.
The magic happens in the brain, understanding conversations, reducing of noise and helping us pay attention to what we care about or should care about. It becomes easier for people of determination to understand speech, to reduce noise and just go about their day-to-day life. Evolv AI hearing aids can execute up to 55 million personalized adjustments every hour. Edge Mode puts the power of AI at fingertips, allowing patients to access alternative settings for challenging listening environments.
Globally, 15 per cent of the population is living with various forms of mental and physical disabilities. By 2050, one in six people worldwide will be over the age of 65, rising to one in four in Europe and North America. People with impairments are increasingly utilizing assistive devices to gain functional abilities that would otherwise be difficult to accomplish. According to WHO, more than two billion individuals will require at least one assistive device such as hearing aids, wheelchairs, or memory aids by 2030. Together with friends and family, the Disability Market has a spending power of over US$13 trillion in annual disposable income globally. However, a WHO study says a mere five to 15 per cent of people requiring disability devices have access to them in several countries. The value of the global market for disabled and elderly assistive technologies is forecast to increase to nearly US$50 billion by 2030.