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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: The patterns of use, perceived usefulness and perceived safety of five different configurations of bathtub grab bars were evaluated by 103 community-living seniors in Canada. Current bathing activities, fall history, sociodemographic characteristics, balance measures as well as details about the home bathing environment were recorded. Participants were then videotaped as they got into, sat down, got up and exited a bath tub using each of the five configurations. The videotapes were used to determine the pattern…of grab bar use for each configuration and participants ranked each configuration for perceived function and safety. The five configurations corresponded to standards published by the Canadian Standards Association, the US Uniform Accessibility Standards, a modification of the Ontario Building code (OBC, a Canadian provincial code), a "common configuration" and a composite configuration. Although most respondents did not have bathtub grab bars installed in their home, those with home bars reported that they used the bars on a regular basis. Significant differences in mean ratings of safety, comfort, ease of use, helpfulness, likelihood of use, and total composite score were detected between configurations with the modified OBC configuration consistently ranked least favourable. There were no statistically significant relationships between the respondents' profiles, their preferred configurations or their patterns of bar use. A series of recommendations and suggestions for future research are made.
Abstract: This study aimed at describing environmental barriers in housing and functional limitations among older community-living people in Sweden, to provide knowledge of housing accessibility problems from a longitudinal perspective, and to shed some light on older people's subjective reflections on housing. Along with a study-specific questionnaire on subjective reflections on housing, the Housing Enabler was used for data collection at home-visits (N=72), at baseline and six years later. At follow-up nearly all interviewees…were content with their present home, and few answered that they planned to relocate. The prevalence of barriers was rather stable, and most of the changes over time indicated less environmental barriers, particularly indoors. Still, because of increased prevalence of functional limitations over time the magnitude of housing accessibility problems increased. In order to reduce needs for relocation, detailed information about the nature of the environmental barriers causing accessibility problems over time is useful. The results should be interpreted keeping in mind that they are country-specific for Sweden, while results of this kind should be valuable for development of strategies for removing environmental barriers in older peoples' homes.
Abstract: Development and commercialization activities for assistive devices and mainstream products are converging. Aging and disability demographics, rapid technical innovation, healthcare costs, intense market competition and public policy all drive this trend; while trans-generational design suggests new business strategies and product solutions. The university research community can play an important role in industry research and development activities leading to new products. Business is the gateway through which all new products enter the marketplace.…University researchers are advised to engage business partners prior to the inception of their own research activities, and early in the corporate product development cycle. Successful university-business partnership requires that university researchers and other stakeholders recognize business' lead in product development and commercialization; and understand and practice business culture. University contributions may include: technical research and development; identification of customer and technology needs; product definition; prototype testing; product validation; clinical trials and external funding through grant activities. Five keys to successful university-business partnership are discussed.
Keywords: Assistive technology, universal design, trans-generational design, design for all, university private sector partnership, collaboration, smart homes, aging in place, market research, technology licensing, technology transfer
Abstract: Electronic aids to daily living are used to activate electronic and electrically powered items in the environment. Anecdotally, users have indicated that the devices are useful and improve their quality of life. This cross-sectional study of 15 experienced users of electronic aids to daily living measured user perceptions of the impact of continued use of a device, and identified the important functions facilitated by the device, using the Psychosocial Impact of Assistive Device Scale and the…Canadian Occupational Performance Measure respectively. Users perceived that the device enabled them in positive ways, in particular, use made them feel more competent. When experienced users were compared with new users on their perception of the impact of the device on well being, the positive impact was found to be stable over the long term. Increasing and maintaining independence, controlling devices for entertainment, and communication of basic needs were identified as the most important functions facilitated by the device. Understanding the impact of the assistive technology and exploring reasons for continued use are important elements in analyzing the relationship between use and non-use of technology.
Keywords: Electronic aids to daily living, EADL, environmental control unit, outcomes, assistive technology