Assistive Technologies

person using a computer with a refreshable braille display

When technology is accessible to people using assistive technology, it is more usable to people using a variety of devices in different environments.

Refreshable Braille Display

People who are blind or have a visual impairment can access text on a computer screen with a refreshable braille display. The device uses software to convert content on the screen to braille. It displays the braille characters on a device using rounded pins that are raised and lowered to simulate printed braille.

Eye or Head Tracking

Eye and head tracking technology enables people to use computers without a mouse or keyboard. The technology measures the user’s eye movements or uses a sensor placed on the forehead (or another location) to determine where on the screen they are focused, allowing them to control the computer with the movements of their eyes or head.

Head or Mouth Pointer

Head and mouth pointers help people with disabilities perform many tasks. These devices typically consist of a stick with a rubber tip or clamp at one end. The user controls the stick with their mouth or head movement to perform many actions, including typing on a keyboard or turning the pages of a book.

Screen Magnification

Screen magnification software enlarges the content on the screen. Magnifiers also make content easier to see by enhancing mouse and text cursors, increasing contrast and changing color combinations.

Screen Reader

A screen reader uses a text-to-speech system to convert the text displayed on a computer screen into spoken words. People who are blind or have a visual impairment use screen readers as well as people who benefit from seeing and hearing content.


People with physical or cognitive disabilities can use switches to control a computer without a keyboard or mouse. Switches come in many shapes and sizes. They can be designed to respond to a touch, kick, squeeze or other interaction from the user. Some users control switches with their breath, known as sip-and-puff technology.

Voice Recognition

Voice recognition technology allows people with physical, cognitive or learning disabilities to control a computer without using a keyboard or mouse. Users can perform many functions by speaking commands, including dictating text, navigating to links and activating buttons.