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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: Piloting a manual wheelchair is an important necessity for the everyday life and social activities of people with physical and sometimes cognitive disabilities. It requires complex capacities and may become tiring and stressful during indoor as well as outdoor activities. The enactment of laws relating to accessibility and discrimination, all around the world, has motivated researchers to verify building standards and to improve wheelchair ergonomics. Nowadays, the potential of Virtual Reality (VR) in training and…daily living activities simulation is already well-known. The aim of this paper is to provide an updated review which explores various VR-based systems and studies related to wheelchair simulators. In particular, we consider wheelchair simulator characteristics according to a user centred view driven by perception and interaction, and wheelchair behavioral simulation. We continue with a description of wheelchair simulator application fields as well as a review of the various objectives for carrying out wheelchair simulation studies.
Abstract: Objective: In this paper we describe the design of a website based on written information about diabetes for people with intellectual disability and their care providers. Methods: The design process was collaborative with adults with intellectual disability, care providers, and professionals. The design followed the W3C Guidelines – Accessibility Guidelines Double A. Results: Preliminary results are promising and the site is having about 850 pages accessed per month. Conclusion: The consultative and design processes used…resulted in a unique and acceptable educational tool for people with intellectual disability who have diabetes and their care providers.
Keywords: Diabetes, intellectual disability, website, web-based learning, care providers
Abstract: A new tenodesis orthosis is described for assisting people who have a cervical spinal injury resulting in reduced grasp function. The orthosis utilises wrist extension to produce a lateral key grip between the thumb and proximal or middle phalanx of the index finger. An assessment tool was developed to measure functionality using ADL tasks and a Preston pinch meter was used to measure grip strength. After 6-weeks training, use of the orthosis increased lateral key grip…on average by 3 times and the number of tasks achieved increased from 6 to 11 out of the 13 tasks measured. The learning effect from the training protocol was significant (P = 0.04) and use of the orthosis reinforced the movement pattern required to achieve a standard tenodesis grasp
Abstract: Electronically controlled prosthetic knee joints have been introduced to meet ambulation demands of leg amputees. This study assessed whether microprocessor-controlled knee joints or non-electronically controlled knee joints are to be preferred regarding costs and functional health. Thirteen participants with a unilateral knee/hip disarticulation or transfemoral amputation wore a prosthesis featuring a microprocessor-driven knee joint (C-group). Thirteen similar upper-leg amputees used a non-electronic knee joint (N-group). Direct and indirect costs were established using a cost…questionnaire, the PRODISQ, and database records of the Hoensbroeck Rehabilitation Centre. Intervention costs, health care costs, patients/family costs, productivity costs and total costs were calculated. Functional health was measured using the SF-36 (SF-6D). Total costs averaged from euro 39,350 (C-group) to euro 46,086 (N-group). In the C-group intervention costs were 28.2% higher (p = 0.043) as were prosthetics costs (p = 0.000). Patients/family costs amounted to euro 7,094 (C-group) and euro 12,992 (N-group) (p = 0.053). In the N-group housekeeping assistance cost euro 4,058 more (p = 0.007), and productivity loss was higher (p = 0.051). SF-6D scores and SF-36 sub-scores were higher in the C-group (p-values between 0.001 and 0.071). Higher purchasing costs for prostheses with a microprocessor-controlled knee joint seem to be counterbalanced by lower costs in other domains. Functional health was clearly higher in the C-group.
Keywords: Cost effectiveness analysis, leg prosthesis, rehabilitation
Abstract: This paper presents a guidance system for assisting the visually impaired people in structured indoor and partially outdoor environments. The system consists of a number of encoded infrared sheet of light beacons installed at appropriate locations and a small receiver module attached to the shoulder of the visually impaired person. The system is intended for use in indoor environments, such as home, office buildings, supermarkets and airports. The Digital Infrared Sheet of Light Beacons (DISLiB) transmit…the encoded location information, while an infrared receiver module decodes this data and the appropriate message is retrieved from the corresponding memory in a voice recorder/playback chip. The orientation of the person can also be informed through natural language for better assistance.