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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: Computer-mediated, augmented environments endow the real physical surroundings with additional properties or information. We present two augmented environment systems developed at the largest paediatric rehabilitation hospital in Canada. One enables children with motor impairments to create music while the other facilitates the relearning of community mobility skills in adolescents with acquired brain injury. We describe system features, results of preliminary studies with selected client populations and argue that further investigation of augmented environments as assistive technologies for paediatric rehabilitation is warranted.
Keywords: Intelligent systems, assistive technology for children
Abstract: Virtual Reality (VR) has been claimed to provide a particularly facilitatory environment for people with Autistic Spectrum Disorders (ASD) in that it offers structure, opportunities for repetition, affective engagement and, control of the learning environment. Virtual reality shares the advantages of computer-based learning, and has the additional advantage of making it more likely that the results will generalise to real-word settings, in that it is a simulation of them. For concept development and imagination training, VR offers its exclusive advantage of making it possible to explicitly show imaginary/magic transformations of how an object can act as if it were a…different one, which is useful for training in both abstract concepts and imagination understanding. This paper reviews the relevant issues that need to be addressed when designing and experimentally assessing a tool for this purpose, and concludes with the results of the more relevant research outcomes obtained in this field.
Keywords: Autistic Spectrum Disorders, Virtual Reality, imagination, play
Abstract: In this paper we propose a system architecture suited observe and analyze user's behaviours in the scope of educative games. The system concerns the observation of autistic child's and enables us to draw conclusions related to her/his behaviour and provide in real time, in personalized way, adequate activities, by taking into account the expert's directives. Our proposition is based on the optimization of the extraction of information from heterogeneous data depending on the context. We have applied our approach to a software environment realized for children with autism according to the needs of a psychiatric team.
Keywords: Interactive system, architecture, educative games, analysis of behaviour, Autism
Abstract: In this paper, we present a learning based method for the definition of the ARPH mobile platform configuration during grasping. Based on the principle of semi autonomy, the proposed scheme uses information provided by the user to help him(her) during the tedious task of manually coordinating the robot motions. From a crude posture provided by the user a reinforcement scheme is used to optimize the kinematic configuration of the MANUS robot to align the gripper with the axis of the object and grasp it. Simulation results illustrate the capability of the proposed method.
Keywords: Mobile platform, navigation, grasping, semi-autonomy, neural network
Abstract: Mapped Virtual Reality (MVR) is defined as an extreme simplified, but in the same time reflecting the main spatial correlations, representation of the real objects within a robot workspace, including humans and robot links. The MVR can be effectively used for online distance observation during the operation of service robots in an unstructured environment – distances can be calculated instead of measured in the real world. To update the robot posture only information from internal position sensors is needed. So the task of external sensors (e.g. cameras) can be reduced to the detection of new objects, which have to be…mapped into the MVR as simple shapes, covering the real objects, instead of observing all obstacles in the workspace and measuring distances. Such task distribution increases the safety of manipulation by reduction of technical complexity.
Abstract: IBV is working in the emerging area of Emotional Engineering with application in the development of technology for the user wellness. A first prospective analysis is made in the field of smart house technologies for elderly people focused on clarifying the role of emotions in the interaction user-environment mediated by technology. The study was undertaken with elderly people within the age segment from 40 to 75 years old with no pathology that could affect cognitive processes. As a result, a clear emotional dimension is identified as design barrier that makes smart house environments be understood far from redeeming lack of…abilities due to ageing. This paper also highlights the challenge of developing methodological approaches customized for the field of emotional design in interactive products.
Keywords: Smart house, interfaces, user design, emotional engineering, independent living
Abstract: The VANESSA system provides speech-driven assistance for eGovernment and other transactions in British Sign Language (BSL). The system allows speech or text input over a limited subject domain to be translated into sign language, which is then signed for clients using an avatar. The avatar animation is generated synthetically. VANESSA also enables text communication by means of computer keyboards and an interface similar to that used by internet chat room software. The system can be easily modified to translate into other spoken languages, and multiple updates to the content are possible.
Abstract: This survey addresses the issue of assessment of a person's driving skills to operate a powered wheelchair. Usually, the acquisition of a new wheelchair implies several evaluation tests to fit the wheelchair's configuration to the specificities of the user's disabilities. Usually, such tests are made in the actual world and based mainly on qualitative observations. Virtual Reality has been applied to transpose the actual tests into a Virtual World, and define methods completed with quantitative criteria to put into evidence the ability that a person has to drive an electric wheelchair. To do this we propose a comparative survey that…implies tests made in a virtual world to investigate the differences between experienced users with disabilities, and unskilled able-bodied ones. The results of the tests allowed to define two new quantitative criteria related to the joystick position xJ (along its X axis). One is based on the amplitude of the xJ signal and the other on its Power Spectral Density. Although both of them contain valuable information, the association of the proposed criteria appeared to be more efficient to identify the skilled and unskilled subjects.
Keywords: Electric wheelchair, assessment, driving skills, simulation, virtual reality
Abstract: We present in this paper a new game generator that aims at facilitating educators to provide new games scenarios to young visually disabled children. A game scenario description is stored in a XML file without any necessary knowledge of this format from the educator. Moreover, scenarios could be easily shared via a web server.