​iPad for Disabled

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April 19, 2010

iPad for disabled could be a new market in favor of Apple. Most people view it as just a slick multi-media technology gadget. However, there are other potential uses for the new touch screen device.

“Say you have somebody who’s had a stroke, for example, and they wake up, and they can’t communicate,” Gregg Vanderheiden, a university professor, said in a statement. “Instead of buying a $5,000 communications aid you take out your iPad and download an app and — bam! — they can communicate.”

Vanderheiden is a director of the Trace Research and Development Center at the University of Wisconsin. The Trace Center helps people who are unable to speak and have disabilities to communicate. Researchers are excited about the Apple iPad because of its potential to become a low-cost communications tool.

Disabled stroke victims and people with cerebral palsy can benefit from the slick gadget. Researchers say that it can be turned into a communications device very inexpensively. The cheapest iPad costs $499 and the most expensive is $829.

Proloquo2Go Communications Application

Even so, the most expensive is still about 5 times cheaper than a communications device in favor of the disabled. In fact, a company called AssistiveWare has already adapted for the iPad a communications application called “Proloquo2Go.” It is designed for the iPhone and the iPod Touch and is offering the application for $189 in the Apple’s App Store.

Barnes & Noble Launches E-Reader Application

Barnes & Noble announced plans to release a new e-reader application for the iPad. The company hopes to compete with Apple’s iBookstore app. The bookseller already has an iPhone application and now offers more than 1 million books.

The company is planning to launch an iPad version app soon. It is not yet clear if Apple will allow Barnes & Noble to launch the app on the iPad. This might serve as a conflict of interest.

Even so, Amazon released its own Kindle application for the iPhone last year. It has not announced plans to build one for the iPad. According to a study, consumer interest in the Kindle dropped after the announcement of the iPad.