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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: Businesses in the assistive technology (AT) sector tend to be oriented to small, niche markets and can have lower profits and higher risk than those targeting large, mainstream markets. We carried out a study to examine the motivations and business practices of entrepreneurs in the AT market. It appears that a majority of AT entrepreneurs would be considered social entrepreneurs and are motivated by social factors such as helping society and people with disabilities rather than profit in starting and maintain their AT business. In addition, this personal motivation seems to translate into the achievement and expectation of social goals…in monitoring company performance and in selecting supply chain partners.
Keywords: Social entrepreneurship, entrepreneurship, assistive technology, disability products
Abstract: Arabic Sign Language (ArSL) is considered the native language for more than 17 million deaf people in the Arab world. There exist a major communication gap between the deaf and the hearing people, which can be attributed to the lack of proper communication technologies. This technical paper presents the design and implementation of a mobile system that converts written Arabic text to ArSL using a signing avatar that operates on mobile phones. The system takes into consideration the linguistic idiosyncrasies of Arabic language as well as employs text-to-sign-language animation. The main contribution of this system resides in its…novel approach for processing Arabic text and animating a 3D signing avatar within minimum computational resources found in mobile phones.
Keywords: Arabic Sign Language, mobile phones, hearing impaired, natural language processing, signing avatar
Abstract: Matching clothes is a challenging task for many blind people. In this paper, we present a proof of concept system to solve this problem. The system consists of 1) a camera connected to a computer to perform pattern and color matching process; 2) speech commands for system control and configuration; and 3) audio feedback to provide matching results for both color and patterns of clothes. This system can handle clothes without any pattern, as well as clothing with multiple colors and complex patterns to aid both blind and color deficient people. Furthermore, our method is robust to variations of illumination,…clothing rotation and wrinkling. To evaluate the proposed prototype, we collect two challenging databases including clothes without any pattern, or with multiple colors and different patterns under different conditions of lighting and rotation. Results reported here demonstrate the robustness and effectiveness of the proposed clothing matching system.
Keywords: Blind, color blind, computer vision, clothing matching, color matching, pattern analysis, visually impaired
Abstract: Assistive technology (AT) provides an interface between a disabled individual and his or her environment. Historically, AT practice and research has focused on how a device can augment or replace the function of an individual, with less emphasis on how the environment creates disabling conditions resulting in the need to use AT. Researchers have primarily used positivist approaches to study the impact of an AT, although there has been a more recent inclusion of qualitative approaches. Emancipatory disability research, with a focus on empowerment, reciprocity, relevance, and action against societal oppression, has had a minimal uptake in the AT field…and yet holds great promise for addressing the environmental aspect of the person-AT-environment interaction. The purpose of this paper is to explore the congruence between AT, the social model of disability, and emancipatory disability research. The aim is to demonstrate that those in the AT field can benefit by adopting emancipatory principles and approaches in conducting research, developing new technologies, and providing services to AT users. Research that addresses individual impairments while addressing the environmental barriers that create disability can co-exist; embracing both views will be essential to the future of AT.
Keywords: Emancipatory research, social model of disability, assistive technology