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Assistive Technology-Technology Transfer


This special issue editorial discusses the inspiration for the Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe's 2010 workshop – the concept of a social model for assistive technology-technology transfer, anecdotal shortcomings in assistive technology innovation and the desire to identify what the state of the art was and what future research is needed. The themes of the workshop were addressed by the presentations through case studies that use methods drawn from other fields, but the papers included in the special issue are instances where different approaches were taken, methodological issues in user requirements gathering and challenges in meeting regulatory requirements for CE marking. Ambiguity in the use of the terms ‘assistive technology’ and ‘technology transfer’ are observed. Embracing definitions are given for both. The inadequacy of many simpler models of technology transfer is discussed. Factors suggesting inadequacy are competitive innovation and, technology transfer implementation that employs parallel tasks that are modelled as sequential. An argument to innovate non-medical assistive technology in preference to medical ones to reach markets quickly is described. Consequential challenges are noted. Areas of assistive technology-technology transfer needing further research are highlighted.