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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: Efforts to develop novel technologies that address the everyday challenges faced by older adults and persons with disabilities are constrained by limited understanding of their perspectives as potential end-users. We conducted a national, web-based survey with a non-probability sample of 1,610 adults (68% female; 47% age 45–64; 47% age 65+) with and without disability, to learn their views about technologies in development that will be capable of both discerning when and how to accommodate an individual's need and desire for assistance and providing that desired assistance as appropriate. In the survey we described four families of engineered systems that could…provide cognitive and physical support for personal and instrumental activities of daily living, including personal care, home management, and driving. Here we summarize respondents' views about quality of life technologies in general and each family of engineered systems in particular. We also describe the recurring themes evident in respondents' answers to our query about technologies that should be developed in the near future.
Keywords: Disability, aging, assistive technology, activities of daily living
Abstract: The ability to accurately recognize human household activities is an important stepping stone toward creating home living assistance systems in the future. Classifying these activities can be difficult due to noisy sensor data, lack of labeled training samples for rare actions and large individual differences in activity execution. In this article, we present two techniques for improving the supervised classification of human activities from motion data: 1) an active learning framework to improve sample efficiency and 2) intelligent feature selection to reduce training time. We demonstrate our techniques using the CMU Multimodal Activity database.
Keywords: Activity recognition, active learning, feature selection, support vector machines, conditional random fields
Abstract: We propose automated probabilistic models of everyday activities (AM-EvA) as a novel technical means for the perception, interpretation, and analysis of everyday manipulation tasks and activities of daily life. AM-EvAs are detailed, comprehensive models describing human actions at various levels of abstraction from raw poses and trajectories to motions, actions and activities. They integrate several kinds of action models in a common, knowledge-based framework to combine observations of human activities with a-priori knowledge about actions. AM-EvAs enable robots and technical systems to analyze actions in the complete situation and activity context. They make the classification and assessment of actions and…situations objective and can justify the probabilistic interpretation with respect to the activities the concepts have been learned from. AM-EvAs allow to analyze and compare the way humans perform actions which can help with autonomy assessment and diagnosis. We describe in this paper the concept and implementation of the AM-EvA system and show example results from the observation and analysis of table-setting episodes.
Keywords: Activity modeling, knowledge-based action analysis, human motion tracking
Abstract: Ecological Momentary Assessment (EMA) is a technique used to collect real-time self-assessment data, often via interactive questionnaires. Frequently, EMA devices are implemented using PDAs. The PDA pen-based interaction is unsuitable for responding in certain situations that may be of interest, e.g. driving and walking, and is unsuitable for participants with physical impairments, e.g. visual or motor. This paper describes design principles for EMA devices, which evolved through experience developing two mobile systems implementing six interaction modalities to support an EMA questionnaire application. CogTool was used to develop Keystroke-Level Models (KLM) for six proposed input/output interaction modalities and platform combinations. KLMs…permit estimation of inter-action time for alternative modalities during the design phase, taking a fraction of the time needed to implement and test even a simple button interface prototype. The contributions of this paper are a set of design principles applicable to the development of real-time, mobile interview systems and an evaluation of KLM predictions showing them to be within 3% to 20% of measured results. Models were verified through four pilot tests, with 58 participants completing 1608 questionnaires on prototype EMA devices.
Abstract: The virtual coach is designed to guide power seat function users to use those functions safely and appropriately. The virtual coach can monitor user compliance with clinician prescriptions, and provide feedback to the user via reminders and alerts. An array of pressure, tilt, and IR sensors provides data to the virtual coach. The results from a user study are presented.
Abstract: Project @pple (Access & Participation for People with intellectual disability in Learning Environments) was about exploring the terms for access and participation in e-learning and the World Wide Web. The current study aimed to explore the role of human mediation in student use of information and communication technology (ICT) in the special needs classroom. Video ethnography was employed to capture user engagement with ICT in a special secondary school for children with severe intellectual disability in the U.K. Five single cases were identified and the data were sampled, transcribed and evaluated for interactional structure and modes of communication. Statistical analysis…revealed significant differences between teacher and student communication on all the measures. Teachers occupied significantly more turns than students. There were relatively few opportunities for the student to make a contribution to the interaction process with requests from teachers dominating the dialogues. The teachers communicated through speech mainly, with some gestural support towards aspects of the computer-based activity. This small scale study is illustrative of characteristics found in teacher-talk in other studies of classroom discourse. Engagement in computer-based activities appears to be inseparable from the communication context determined by the type of linguistic support given by the teacher.
Keywords: Communication, computers, intellectual disability, interaction, special needs
Abstract: We propose that citizen science methods can engage riders with disabilities and others in improving public transportation accessibility by documenting and assessing problems and good solutions throughout the system. This will empower riders, resulting in a greater understanding of the transportation system, and improve the feedback loop between rider and provider. This paper includes findings on how riders prefer to report such observations through an experiment designed to compare the modalities of the Notes (text, audio) and Media (none, photo, video). The results from two user groups, those without disabilities and those who use wheeled mobility devices, suggest that text…with photo should be supported and that use of video may not have additional value to end users. The generally positive responses suggest that end users are open to participating in such communities and that feedback is important.
Keywords: Citizen science, public transportation, accessibility, transit riders, disabilities
Abstract: The aging of the global population is unrivaled in human history. As a result of this demographic transition, developed and developing nations are facing new challenges regarding provision of health and long-term care, economic security programs, and changing informal support structures for elders. This paper is based on a review of the relevant research and policy literature. The paper reports on trends in nine countries that are responding to the consequences of an aging population and presents major lessons for policy makers in the United States.
Keywords: Demographic transition, social systems, economic security