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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: It has been shown that products and services developed with increased usability and accessibility for the elderly and those with disabilities benefit users in general. Where or when some people are excluded from using a product or service, many more are likely to simply find it difficult or frustrating to use. To guide developers (designers, product developers and architects) in creating more useful mainstream products and more accessible public environments, seven principles of Universal…Design (UD) were proposed in 1997. These principles, however, have not been successfully adopted by professionals and companies in general. Companies are, in fact, losing out on increased sales by refusing to see the permanently disabled (about 15% of the population in the western world) as potential customers – a figure that is set to increase due to demographic development. From a review of literature, studies of Product Development (PD) models and the author's research into PD projects, several factors have been identified that explain what inhibits companies from implementing UD principles in their design work. A conclusion made in the paper is that the traditional PD models that guide the development processes in most companies today cannot conform to UD, as the presence of user intervention is lacking. One reason for this is the opinion that it does not shorten development time. A nother is the focus on production-efficiency, which inhibit flexibility and user intervention. In addition, former research highlights other barriers, such as: lack of time, budget limitations, and lack of knowledge, tools or justifiable business case.
Abstract: Having been shut out of use of the telephone, the major means of communication for personal, social and vocational purposes for over one hundred years, deaf people have enthusiastically welcomed the advent of text and other visual modes of communication via the Internet.
Abstract: For people living with a disability, enablers such as assistive technologies, environmental modifications and personal care can make the difference between living fully and merely existing. This article is written from the standpoints of people with disabilities and professionals in one Australian State who found their government and service system to be a constraining rather than an enabling force. It presents two key components of policy and practice change in the area of assistive technology: challenging…understandings of disability, assistive technology, and the desired life outcomes that assistive technology contributes to; and building a public evidence base through consumer-focussed research. In short, government funding of assistive technology needs to move beyond a limited focus on functional needs and take responsibility for fully equipping people to live the lives they aspire to.
Keywords: Assistive technology, outcomes, life domains, policy, funding, impairment
Abstract: It is assumed that an inclusive society has to ensure accessibility, which goes beyond just adapting the physical environment, as it corresponds to the equality of access and opportunity for all. Objective: This article addresses the competencies and abilities of Brazilian practitioners in using assistive technology based on their professional background. Specifically, it was sought to discuss the teaching and learning settings in Brazil regarding different areas of knowledge that assistive technology requires. Materials & Methods:…This is a theoretical study based on specific literature related to assistive technology and accessibility. Conclusion: It is necessary to invest in both formation and qualification of personnel throughout Brazil for this specific issue.
Keywords: Bio-engineering, assistive technology, teaching and learning
Abstract: This paper describes the design development and field testing of a novel seat concept – the two-plane seat with children with physical disabilities. A discussion highlights the potential of the two-plane seat to improve the quality of sitting posture and enhanced occupational performance in disabled children. Relevant literature on postural seating and occupational performance is presented. Design criteria and the results of design development evaluations are summarized. One pilot field evaluation involving…children and their parents at home is reported. Overall, the results of this field trial illustrate the potential of the two-plane seating concept when incorporated into a bench seat with a table to influence the quality of sitting and occupational performance of children. Future research aims at evaluating this novel seating concept when incorporated in different seat surfaces. Recommendations for future research are provided.
Abstract: In this paper, different aspects of the development of universally designed (UD) products have been highlighted, and two different product development projects have been compared, in order to try to analyse the challenges companies face when they engage in creating UD solutions compared to the development of assistive technology and modular based solutions. Some conclusions have been drawn: The time before reaching break-even in the project whose purpose it was to create a universal design solution, was…many times longer, due to the unstable and complex development circumstances. When time-to-market is longer and project costs are higher for universally designed products compared to modular systems (often represented by assistive technology) or mainstream technology products, there are limited commercial reasons to invest in universally designed solutions.