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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: In this study, patients with dementia who exhibited a disturbed sleep/wake rhythm wore a special watch which measured their sleep/wake rhythm. The main purpose of this study was to gain insights into the effects of the watch on the sleep/wake rhythm and on the care delivery process of patients with dementia. The research questions focus on the introduction of the watch, its usage and usability, the interventions that have been taken based on using the watch…and the effects of the watch on the sleeping behavior of the patients. These questions were answered by means of a mixed methods design: monitoring data about the sleep/wake rhythm, keeping a diary about usage and care interventions related to the monitoring data; observations, and in-depth interviews with caregivers about the implementation and usage of the watch. It can be concluded that the watch has the potential to improve the sleeping behavior and the care delivery process. However, if the effects are to be up scaled, a supportive infrastructure and adequate communication channels and conditions for implementation, such as the trial ability, will first be required.
Abstract: The aim of this study was to develop an alternative computer mouse for disabled persons. The mouse developed is a flexible input device with a multi-click function, which can be attached to a selectable body part (eg head, arm, foot). The mouse has a MEMS-gyroscope as the motion sensor, which is both small and sensitive. A USB-interface with a HID-profile is used to make the installation easy, "plug & play", and to make it compatible for use on…any modern computer, independent of the operating system (Windows, Linux, Mac etc.). The structure is modular to achieve a flexible functionality. The mouse has individually adapted click-functions with selectable click devices, in addition to which, it is possible to define individual settings of the mouse parameters. The functionality can be extended by adding further personal settings, thereby programming the mouse for individual optimal performance. The result is a reliable and useful computer mouse for people with disabilities. In the development process, 23 users have been interviewed, three of whom participated in a 6 month long-term test. The study shows that a computer mouse incorporating a MEMS-gyroscope is a good, flexible solution, providing a high performance technical aid with extremely good sensitivity at a modest cost.
Keywords: Assistive technology, computer mouse, input device, MEMS-gyroscope, human-computer interface, motor disabled, motor impairment
Abstract: The aging world population requires more attention to the autonomy of individuals. The impaired physical abilities need changes in the built environment for an optimal use. Due to physical limitations, aged persons frequently become users of a wheelchair which also leads to limitations in accessing their homes. This paper describes a tool for evaluating mobility and grasping, thus allowing housing professionals to assess the needed changes in terms of accessibility. This tool, which uses the…virtual reality technology, also allows users to preview the modifications before implementation and thus validate the proposals.
Abstract: This study investigated the awareness and use of assistive technology for people with dementia. The aim of the study was to explore barriers to the uptake of, and the unmet needs for, assistive technology for dementia (ATD). The work was carried out with family carers of people with dementia because carers are often the purchasers, end users and main beneficiaries of this type of technology. Focus groups were used to explore carers' views…on ATD use, and the problems that might be addressed by ATD, in order to develop a questionnaire for dementia carers. The questionnaire was administered at Alzheimer's Society carer support groups in South Bucks and in Hillingdon Borough (UK). None of the 16 focus group participants or the 42 respondents to the questionnaire had any personal experience of ATD. The dementia carers reported a number of concerns, problems and unmet needs that could be addressed by existing, commercially available ATD products. Some needs for new technology development were identified in the study, but the lack of awareness of ATD appears to be the most important barrier to technology adoption.
Abstract: There has been an explosive growth in the use of the Internet as a social networking tool and as a major venue for leisure and recreation among children and young people. It is not known whether children with disabilities are using the new medium for similar purposes. The aim of this project was to investigate the current patterns and frequency of Internet use and its impact, facilitators and barriers to use by children and young people with physical…disabilities. Fifteen participants with physical disabilities with a mean age of 14.6 years were interviewed exploring the above issues. The research found the young people who participated in this study used the Internet for a variety of purposes and friends played a key role in teaching them Internet skills as well as interacting with them online. Family resources and the computer/Internet literacy skills of parents were significant factors influencing usage. The findings suggest the need for further research involving a larger cohort of children and young people with varying abilities, especially those who are currently not using the Internet, to explore reasons for not using the Internet, and to identify the supports required to increase access and participation.
Keywords: Internet, young people, physical disabilities, patterns of use, facilitators, barriers
Abstract: Finding ones way to an unknown destination, navigating complex routes, finding inanimate objects; these are all tasks that can be challenging for the visually impaired. The project NAVIG (Navigation Assisted by artificial VIsion and GNSS) is directed towards increasing the autonomy of visually impaired users in known and unknown environments, exterior and interior, large scale and small scale, through a combination of a Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) and rapid visual recognition with which the…precise position of the user can be determined. Relying on geographical databases and visually identified objects, the user is guided to his or her desired destination through spatialized semantic audio rendering, always maintained in the head-centered reference frame. This paper presents the overall project design and architecture of the NAVIG system. In addition, details of the new type of detection and localization device are presented in relation to guidance directives developed through participative design with potential users and educators for the visually impaired. A fundamental concept in this project is the belief that this type of assistive device is able to solve one of the major problems faced by the visually impaired: their difficulty in localizing specific objects.