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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: Informatics is becoming essential in our daily activities. The use of the human machine interface requires fine movements from the user. When human movements are distorted, for instance, by tremor, performance could be improved by digitally filtering the intermediate signal before it reaches the controlled interface. This paper presents a novel device able to filter out tremorous movements from the cursor of a mouse in the screen of the computer. This task requires real-time discrimination between…voluntary and tremorous movement. To address this problem, a learning algorithm is introduced as well as the evaluation and validation with users of the prototype developed.
Abstract: Over the past 20 years nearly 30,000 Matrix seating systems have been fitted worldwide. After analysis of manufacturing and clinical issues, improvements to the basic Matrix elements were proposed four years ago at the Royal Hospital for Neuro-disability. A stronger, thinner, and lighter Matrix was developed with preliminary clinical evaluation started. Static and dynamic structural tests are reported. The static tests include, (1) 250 load-deflection tests of various Matrix clamp designs, and (2) load degradation…tests after re-clamping for clinical shape adjustments. The dynamic, accelerated five-year life tests include, (1) fatigue tests over 500,000 cycles (comparisons to the new standard, ISO/DIS 16840-3, are draw) and (2) 75 Kg and 34 Kg full size manikin tests in a wheelchair test carousel for 16,125 revolutions or 336 Km. Evaluations are limited to 35 patients over a maximum of 36 months with the focus on ease of use and production speed. Application to the manufacture of a custom formable removable wheelchair back is also discussed.
Abstract: ICT (Information and Communication Technology) is an enabling technology. Applied technologies, as e.g. Assistive Technology, make use of enabling technologies. Mainstream Developments in ICT refer to new products, processes and development environments in Assistive Technology made available at affordable costs. Examples of improvements in Assistive Technology with the use of mainstream technologies are given in this paper.
Abstract: The emergence of the Information Society is creating a complex intelligent environment where all citizens have to live. Even if the final technological embodiment of this new environment has not been completely determined, the general lines of development that are at present being discussed suggest that the normal approach to the problems of integration of people with disabilities, based on the adaptation of already developed technology, is no longer tenable. Therefore, on the one hand, it…is necessary to redefine the integration problems of people with disabilities on the basis of the foreseen characteristics of the emerging environment; on the other hand, a procedure needs to be defined whereby new technology is produced so as to be accessible without adaptations. The corresponding concepts are discussed in the paper, followed by a summary of activities already carried out to substantiate the presented conclusions.
Abstract: Technology used in Digital TV has the potential to enhance the viewing experience for millions of hard of hearing people. The Clean Audio project commissioned by the Independent Television Commission (ITC), and continued by Ofcom, looks at methods by which the extra information contained in 5.1 surround sound broadcasts may be used to improve the intelligibility and enjoyment of television audio for hard of hearing viewers and shows that audio processing can effectively turn a digital…TV set top box into an assistive device to make digital TV more accessible. Listening tests were carried out which showed benefits in clarity and in perceived overall sound quality for hard of hearing participants by altering levels of centre and left and right channels. Further testing has shown average improvements in intelligibility of up to 9.4% by using surround sound equipment with a discrete central loudspeaker compared to stereophonic reproduction.