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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: Among the issues relating to the needs of citizens with reduced functional capacity, accessibility problems throughout society are gaining interest. The focus of this paper is on methodology for assessment of urban public bus transport accessibility. The aims are to describe the development of a pilot version of a new instrument, the Travel Chain Enabler, and to identify problems to target for further research. Based on the previously developed Housing Enabler instrument and a literature review,…the development of a pilot instrument was initiated. In several steps, three different raters recorded accessibility on site while traveling by public bus transport in a Swedish city. The results showed the relevance of the assessment approach, but definition problems, difficulties as regards reliable measurements, and/or paucity of administration instructions were demonstrated in 32% inter-rater reliability analysis indicated moderate agreement. The detailed specification of the different kinds of problems and assessment difficulties is of the outermost importance for further research in the field. With current results as a new point of departure, major methodological challenges will be more constructively dealt with.
Keywords: disability, environment, occupational therapy, traffic planning and engineering
Abstract: We have developed a support system that enables individuals with visual impairments to recognize three-dimensional objects or environments interactively. This is a total system and has input, processing, and output functions. A stereo camera system used as an input device allows 3D visual information to be acquired. This visual information is converted into tactile and auditory information that can be easily understood by the visually impaired. One of the output devices we have developed is an…interactive 3D tactile display which presents visual patterns using tactile pins. The pin height can be set to several levels to increase the tactile information and represent the 3D surface shape. The major difference in our tactile display is the digitizer function. It is possible for the user to communicate with this system. It will help them to recognize 3D objects and environments by themselves. Hardware experiments on the tactile display and system interface were conducted with the assistance of visually impaired individuals. We report on the results and evaluation of our experiments.
Keywords: visual impairments, three-dimensional object recognition, stereo vision, tactile display, interactive interface, tactile and auditory sense
Abstract: We have newly developed a compact (38 cm width) and directivity controlled loudspeaker system, which can be placed on a TV set. It amplifies sounds in the 2000 to 6000 Hz range up to 15 dB in a horizontal direction angle of at least thirty degrees. A speech intelligibility test was administered to 28 people with slight hearing impairments. The enhanced speaker system improved the sound receptivity of those persons who have slight difficulty hearing sound…in the 2000 to 6000 Hz range. The sound field amplification system effectively compensates for the hearing impairments of persons who do not yet need hearing aids but tend to turn up the TV volume for better sound receptivity.
Keywords: TV sound field amplification, directivity controlled loudspeaker system, hearing impairment, hearing compensation, older adults
Abstract: Telecommunications had been a difficult task for persons with hearing impairments in Japan. Recently, pager communications and new cellular phone service, focusing not only on speech but also on non-speech communications, provide persons with hearing impairments with more active communications possibilities. In this paper, we clarify details of our questionnaire surveys, and describe the future view of telecommunications for persons with hearing impairments.
Keywords: persons with hearing impairments, pager, cellular phone, facsimile, telecommunication
Abstract: The number of people in the United States who suffer from stroke has been increasing; in 1994 more than 500,000 people suffered a stroke. Stroke can result in many impairments and have a significant impact on a person's functional performance. Perceptual dysfunction is one potential complication of stroke, and unilateral neglect is one aspect of perceptual dysfunction. More than 30 percent of people who have had a stroke experience unilateral neglect. Unilateral neglect can impact on…performance in daily tasks, tasks for which many persons who have had a stroke use assistive devices to offset the impact of motor impairment. The purpose of this study was to investigate the relationship of unilateral neglect to problems with assistive device use by persons with stroke and to investigate how persons with unilateral neglect use assistive devices. Subjects were selected from the sample pool of the Consumer Assessment Study (CAS) of the University at Buffalo Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Aging. CAS participants who had a stroke and whose Mini Mental Status Exam (MMSE) score was above 23 were included in the study. Sixteen study participants were assessed for unilateral neglect with the Behavioral Inattention Test (BIT). Participants whose scores on the BIT were less than 129 out of 146 were categorized as having unilateral neglect. Of 12 participants, 3 were identified as having unilateral neglect, 9 were identified as not having unilateral neglect. Numbers of assistive devices owned and used and the rate of device use to device ownership were compared between study participants with and without unilateral neglect. The study also examined how participants with and without unilateral neglect use mobility devices. Problems with a mobility device potentially related to unilateral neglect were identified through observation. Use of other assistive devices by the 3 participants with unilateral neglect was more extensively explored. No significant differences between the two groups were found in the number of devices owned and used. The rate of device use to device ownership in the non unilateral neglect group was higher than in the unilateral neglect group. We report how participants with and without unilateral neglect used their assistive devices.