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Technology and Disability communicates knowledge about the field of assistive technology devices and services, within the context of the lives of end users - persons with disabilities and their family members. While the topics are technical in nature, the articles are written for broad comprehension despite the reader's education or training.
Technology and Disability's contents cover research and development efforts, education and training programs, service and policy activities and consumer experiences.
The term Technology refers to assistive devices and services.
- The term Disability refers to both permanent and temporary functional limitations experienced by people of any age within any circumstance.
- The term and underscores the editorial commitment to seek for articles which see technology linked to disability as a means to support or compensate the person in daily functioning.
The Editor also attempts to link the themes of technology and disability through the selection of appropriate basic and applied research papers, review articles, case studies, programme descriptions, letters to the Editor and commentaries. Suggestions for thematic issues and proposed manuscripts are welcomed.
Abstract: This literature review aims to grasp an overall understanding of European research related to assistive technology for disabled children during the period 2000–2005. Electronic and manual searches of six databases, AAATE conference publications, and issues of the journal Technology and Disability yielded 27 articles and 40 conference papers that met the inclusion criteria, which were studies of European origin and involving assistive technology that conforms to the ISO 9999 classification. The review showed that…existing research studies are very limited in number and are focused on ICT-related assistive technology, while a lack of research exists in relation to lower technologies or dealing with the whole assistive environments. Methodologically there is a need to improve child participation and the use of psychosocial theories in research and development. On the whole, this research area is methodologically very challenging.
Keywords: Children, assistive technology, research, review, Europe
Abstract: While assistive technology is rapidly developing, research is sparse on people with memory impairment or dementia as users. The aim of this study was to illuminate these users' and their relatives' experiences of a timer device attached to the stove. Nine older adults who had received such a device because of memory impairment or dementia were included in the study. Five relatives were also included, and, all were called "users". Interviews and complementary observations were collected…and analysed with a grounded theory approach. The findings show that the users scarcely participated in the process of choosing the timer device, and the process of adapting the device most often was confidently left to professionals. When the device had been installed, the users tried to adjust to it and – on their own initiatives – explore and learn how it worked. While most users felt the device provided increased safety it also brought about unforeseen difficulties. Overall, the findings exemplify how users strive to relate to and make sense of technology, suggesting that home modifications with assistive technology should more actively involve the users. The importance of follow-up of technological support to older adults with memory impairment or dementia is emphasised by the findings.
Keywords: Assistive technology, dementia, home modification, memory impairment, older adults, usability, timer device for stoves
Abstract: There has been increasing recognition of the importance and benefits to society of social inclusion and the full participation of disabled people. Many countries have also enacted legislation aimed at removing discrimination against disabled people. Removing barriers to full participation by disabled people will require the development of new assistive technology systems and improved information and distribution systems for existing assistive technologies. This will require an effective and ongoing dialogue between the…disabled end-user community, social services, the clinical rehabilitation services, and the professional engineering disciplines involved in the development, provision, assessment, and ongoing support for assistive technology. To support this dialogue there is a need for common terminology, concepts, and definitions, embedded within a single, unified model framework. This paper presents the Comprehensive Assistive Technology (CAT) model, which was designed to meet this need.
Keywords: Assistive technology, design for all, modelling framework, technology analysis, end-user studies
Abstract: Urban intersections are the most dangerous parts of a blind or visually impaired pedestrian's travel. A prerequisite for safely crossing an intersection is entering the crosswalk in the right direction and avoiding the danger of straying outside the crosswalk. This paper presents a proof of concept system that seeks to provide such alignment information. The system consists of a standard mobile phone with built-in camera that uses computer vision algorithms to detect any crosswalk visible in…the camera's field of view; audio feedback from the phone then helps the user align him/herself to it. Our prototype implementation on a Nokia mobile phone runs in about one second per image, and is intended for eventual use in a mobile phone system that will aid blind and visually impaired pedestrians in navigating traffic intersections.
Keywords: Blindness, visual impairments, navigation, computer vision, cell phone, mobile phone, camera phone
Abstract: Accessible mobile phones for people with physical disabilities is an area that is still developing with new products and services emerging to assist these people to access the telecommunications equipment that is currently available. This research evaluated the effectiveness a prototype interface system for a mobile phone and accompanying speech generating device that enabled the user to independently initiate, answer, conduct and terminate voice calls and send text messages through the use of their communication device.…Separate trials were conducted with two teenage participants with a physical disability who cannot speak and require a communication device to communicate. After their respective trials, both participants recorded very high overall performance and satisfaction outcomes. This paper highlights that involving the end-user in customization of the interface system during the trial had resulted in a very successful outcome. The trials demonstrated that people with severe mobility and speech impairments are able to effectively use a mobile phone in its many modes of operation. The trials affirmed that the system has given the participants a sense of independence, safety and security, and also contributed to improving their communication skills, leading to the self confidence to engage in conversation and social activities.
Abstract: In an implementation project in The Netherlands a small investigation was made of the most urgent needs of older home care clients. Two potential client groups for the development of specific care-arrangements were selected: "older persons becoming lonely and inactive", and "partners/caregivers of patients with dementia". The care-arrangement "Attention Care" aims to support lonely persons and the care-arrangement "Monitoring of Behavior" aims to provide surveillance at a distance to support the care giving relative…of a dementia patient. For both groups the care arrangements use video telephony to communicate with professional caregivers. This paper presents results obtained during the pilot implementation. At the client level the results are encouraging, for both care arrangements positive responses can be noted. However, the pilots are up to now not followed by a full scale implementation of the care arrangements. In the analysis of the results obtained the process of care innovation is discussed. It is concluded that both the healthcare system as well as the individual care organization lack a real stimulus to change practice.