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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: This paper gives a brief description of the service delivery system for assistive technology used in daily life (AT) in Sweden, and includes discussion on present changes and trends. In Sweden the responsibility for provision of AT is shared between counties/regions and municipalities. The greater part of the cost for prescribed AT is paid by taxes. Each county/region and municipality decides on its fees and assortment of AT; there are no national guidelines or coordination. The…prescription process is part of the rehabilitation process, where assessment of needs precedes prescription. In 2007 the Swedish government commissioned a programme in which trials with a voucher system were conducted in three counties and eight municipalities. The trials were evaluated and interviewed users expressed that the voucher system increased their participation in the process and that they experienced more satisfaction when they had purchased the AT on their own. The voucher system has been criticized by some users; notably by the main user organisation for persons with hearing impairments. During the past ten years, the range of AT that can be prescribed has been reduced and users have to buy some types of AT as consumer products on the private market.
Keywords: Assistive technology, assistive devices, service delivery system, prescription process
Abstract: With a growing ageing population and the advent of interactive TV (iTV), understanding how older people use iTV services is a timely and important task. Working towards this end, this paper reports on in situ conversations of, and observations with, almost 400 older people, with different levels of educational attainment and experience with ICTs, while talking about and using online video portals and similar interactive systems in Spain, Brazil and Denmark. The results show more similarities…than differences in their reasons for adopting online video portals and patterns of use. All our participants used these portals for keeping or remaining in touch with people they trusted. The results also show that privacy online was a common concern to all the participants. Differences in the acceptance of e-government services and the type of content that drove most of their interactions were also found. Implications for designing more accessible and meaningful iTV services are discussed.
Keywords: Ethnography, older people, cross-culture, iTV, online video portals
Abstract: This paper presents a prototype  of a location-based and context aware system supporting blind and visually impaired people to improve their mobility skills and in particular enhancing traditional mobility training. The system supports annotating pre-defined routes with information provided in standard mobility training sessions for blind people. This allows later on to reuse the information provided in a person to person session and even to share this expertise with other people. People in need of…knowing by heart a certain route can go back to the stored mobility training information to better remember and learn how to manage this route independently. The virtual mobility trainer allows making repeatedly, time independent and location-based use of information provided from a human instructor. This paper presents a first prototype which allows designing routes, accessible to blind and visually impaired people so that it can be used for mobility training. Furthermore, this tool allows performing advanced orientation tasks assisting blind people in an unknown environment. The Digital Graffiti framework  was used as underlying framework, which supports the needed annotation of maps with virtual landmarks.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Issues relating to design and suitability of Telecare were raised twenty years ago. We explored the views of non-users of Telecare and examined whether design-related barriers exist today despite significant technological advances. OBJECTIVE: To examine the reasons why people choose not to adopt Telecare, with specific focus on reasons relating to design and suitability of the intervention. METHODS: Individual qualitative semi-structured interviews were conducted with people who were not using or…had actively declined Telecare, a voice which is rarely heard in Telecare-barrier research. Framework analysis was used to identify existing and emergent themes for n=22 participants. RESULTS: Sub-themes relating to design and suitability of Telecare were explored: Stigma, i.e. Telecare as symbolising old age and lost independence; Design, including stigmatising aesthetics and inappropriate use; Alternative options, i.e. propensity to seek non-Telecare solutions; Awareness of the devices and service; and Cost. CONCLUSIONS: Barriers to Telecare use are similar for both users and non-users. Our results indicate that design-related barriers have yet to be addressed despite the technological revolution. The cost model of Telecare services is becoming more consumer-driven. Thus Telecare design needs to exploit technological advances in order to improve wellbeing and allow individuals their choice and independence.