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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: BACKGROUND: Braille and text to speech systems have tremendously improved the lives of the visually impaired across the world. However, a large population of the visually impaired people in India is still deprived of getting the benefits of such advancements. This was primarily due to the difference in the technology required for Indian languages compared to those corresponding to other popular languages of the world. OBJECTIVE: In this paper, we present a design and evaluation of a unified open-source framework that will enable a visually impaired to access and produce information contents in Indian vernaculars with…the help of computers. METHODS: The proposed framework has been designed by keeping constant interaction with the visually impaired people and by keeping in mind their different requirements. The framework is integrated with five different engines namely, a forward and reverse Indian language text to Braille transliteration engine, a Nemmeth editor to convert mathematical expressions into Braille, a tactile converter to convert graphical images into Braille, a voice mailing system to compose and receive voice based emails for the Blinds, and an Indian language file reader with integrated Hindi and Bangla speech synthesis engines. RESULTS: The framework has been deployed and exhaustively evaluated by people from different Blind schools and organizations for Blinds all over India. The transliteration engines are particularly useful for creating a large volume of Indian language Braille books.
Abstract: Less emphasis on the formation of product design specifications (PDS) during the design process leads to a higher rate of product abandonment, especially of products for disabled people. Understanding disabled people as the users becomes more critical. Therefore, this paper focuses on the framework to prepare the PDS. Regarding the PDS for products used by people with paraplegia (impaired lower-limb functions), the wheelchair is chosen as the case study. This framework shows the relationship between the information from the users and the information from the products to produce the key elements in the PDS. Information on users was collected through…the questionnaire/interview (n = 37) and observation (n = 50) methods, then analyzed using the Statistical Package for Social Sciences, version 20. The information from the product was collected by using functional analysis. The framework's result is that the PDS will be based on users and products. The framework is also applicable to other products for people with disabilities.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Everyday technology, ET (e.g. computers, TV's and vending machines) perceived as relevant and used in everyday activities change continuously. Not being able to keep up with these changes may hinder participation in activities. OBJECTIVE: To investigate stability and change in perceived relevance of ET, and in levels of perceived ET difficulty across two different occasions in time and between two similar samples of older adults with and without cognitive impairment. METHODS: Data of perceived relevance and difficulty in ET use in the samples (n= 157/118), collected with the Everyday Technology Use Questionnaire (ETUQ)…was investigated. RESULTS: Thirty-three (70%) of the ETs in the ETUQ significantly increased in relevance, while the perceived levels of difficulty were statistically similar in 40/47 ETs (85%) across the two time occasions. CONCLUSIONS: The perceived relevance of ET among older adults with and without cognitive impairment was indicated to increase over time, but the levels of perceived levels of difficulty of ETs did not change as much. This knowledge could be used to support and facilitate ET use in the aging population, and in general to influence society's view of older people as active users of ET in activities at home and in public spaces.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Despite the importance of the (long) cane as a mobility device, there are few reports of blind and partially sighted people's experiences of using it. Due to the increasing prevalence of visual impairment with age, the experiences of people with late onset visual impairment are particularly relevant. OBJECTIVE: To report on the experiences of and attitudes to cane use by blind and partially sighted people with late onset visual impairment in seven different countries. METHODS: Semi-structured interviews were carried out, almost all in the participants' original languages and without interpretation. RESULTS:…The main themes identified and under which the results were discussed were (i) stigma, psychological and other barriers to cane use; (ii) safety concerns; (iii) acceptance and adaptation to cane use (iv) cane use as a symbol of blindness; and (v) formal and informal training. A table of the factors which encourage and discourage cane use and a six-component model were presented. CONCLUSIONS: The similarities between countries were more apparent than the differences. Stigma associated with cane use was found to result in shame and embarrassment and concerns about being stared at, particularly by people who knew them when they were sighted.
Keywords: (Long) cane, late onset visual impairment, stigma, symbol, safety, model