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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: Technology offers the potential to free disabled people from dependence on others by enabling them to participate more fully in society and to take an active and creative role in their own embodiment. Technical familiarity and competence engender confidence in the ability to manipulate and control the environment and enhance self-esteem. But many studies demonstrate that technology is under-utilized or abandoned by people with disabilities, often after considerable investment of time and material resources. Past investigations have focused on the function of the technology and the skills of the user. This study shifts the focus of inquiry to less concrete…dimensions of engagement: to the self-identity of the user and to the broad dimensions of global capitalism within which the user-technology relationship is negotiated in order to explore the factors that shape decisions to adopt or to abandon technologies.
Keywords: Disability, technology, under-use, abandonment, human factors
Abstract: Outcome evaluation is important, but only few assessment instruments are available in the field of assistive technology. It was decided to translate and adapt the QUEST 1.0 (the Quebec User Evaluation of Satisfaction with assistive Technology 1.0) into Danish language and culture instead of constructing a new instrument. A number of methods were applied including forward- and backward translation, multidisciplinary discussions, pre-testing and a larger test focusing on cross-cultural equivalence and content validity. The study showed that a systematic and comprehensive translation and cross-cultural adaptation process is necessary and valuable, and that the methods used were useful for revealing equivalence…and validity problems, even though backward translation turned out to be less efficient. Besides, the substantial need for adaptation attracted attention to the question of how close a translated version should be to the original version. The study uncovered more equivalence problems than reported in similar studies, probably due to the target group of this study being mainly older people requiring rather colloquial language. In the study the instrument was adapted, aspects of content validity of the Danish QUEST 1.0 were investigated, and further studies were suggested.
Abstract: Memory problems are often associated with ageing and are among the most common effects of brain injury. Such problems can severely disrupt daily life and put huge strain on family members and carers. Electronic devices have been used successfully to provide short and timely reminders to memory-impaired individuals. We are currently developing an electronic memory aid that runs on a personal digital assistant. The system has the ability to enter data not only on the device itself, but also from other stations by means of mobile telephony. Users, carers or administrative staff can remotely enter device data, which creates flexibility…of data entry and monitoring. This paper describes usability issues identified in the design of the memory aid interface and preliminary findings of the field trial in which the device is currently being tested.
Abstract: A system providing fall detection and movement monitoring to support older people living at home using computer vision technology is being developed. Sensitive design with user involvement is important if such a system is to be experienced as supportive rather than invasive. Four scenarios, based on material from focus groups and anecdotal evidence, have been developed and performed by a theatre group. These feature older people falling at home with different outcomes and carers discussing an older person's needs. They were filmed and shown to three different groups of older people and a group of sheltered housing wardens to provoke…discussion. This method of user requirements gathering provided a shared user context which enabled groups to focus very effectively on the details of a system at the pre-prototyping stages. The results of the discussions are described and the use of this methodology is discussed.
Abstract: Before 1948, most disabled people had to look to the private market for wheelchairs or rely on charitable gifts and donations. With the advent of the National Health Service, the British State assumed responsibility for not only the supply and distribution of wheelchairs, but also for their development. Hence, the state not only altered fundamentally the market for wheelchairs it extended its reach deep into the technical detail of wheelchair innovation. Nevertheless, as influential as the state was, it would be wrong to endow it with omnipotence. Technologies and the forces that create and sustain them are constructed from diverse…elements. The objectives of this paper are: to provide a historical overview of the development of the Ministry Model 8F, to explore the various interests that shaped its evolution and set the social and political conditions within which that evolution took place.