There can be a tendency in some pockets of the assistive technology industry to encounter a cool new technology, and then go out and find a problem to solve with it. AbleLink’s strategy has always been the opposite: a needs-based approach that first identifies a particular challenge or barrier faced by those with disabilities and then utilize (or develop) the best technology approach to address it.
For example, there is growing attention to the needs of populations such as baby boomer seniors who may be encountering the initial effects of dementia, or children with autism spectrum diagnoses. We had increasingly been receiving inquiries regarding technologies that could provide support for the safety and security of populations such as this while traveling in the community. Research showed that most current technologies that provide individual tracking or location detection support were too difficult for those with special needs to operate or were limited in other ways, such requiring specialized hardware devices, or special ongoing subscription fees.
Given this identified need, the potential of Corona combined with the fast growing deployment of iPhone, iPad and Android-based hardware, our developers were thrilled when given the OK to proceed with this new app. Again, within weeks, we were able to develop and distribute via the App Store a software solution, called Community Sidekick. This simple, but powerful software, allows iPhone and iPad users to automatically send periodic email messages to a designated address that includes a Google Maps link. When clicked, the link opens the Google Map page to the user’s exact location. Additional features allow the user to manually send an “I Am Okay” or “Please Contact Me” message at any point if desired.
The beauty of Community Sidekick is that it operates on existing iPhone, iPad and Android hardware, and also uses existing e-mail accounts without requiring additional service subscription fees. And perhaps best of all is that, by using the Corona SDK to develop the system, it was made available to users with special needs around the world in just weeks!
AbleLink currently is in the final stages of releasing yet a sixth Corona-based product in partnership with the Westchester Institute on Human Development, called My Health. Given our experiences thus far, we have begun a process to port all of our existing mobile software applications to Corona supported platforms. And we are having a blast along the way!
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