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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 researching various means to reduce the cost of displaying braille, the alternate methods of braille display have emerged. Alternate methods of braille display mainly explore the display of short text messages. These alternate methods need to be looked at in terms of factors such as cost-effectiveness, user efficiency etc. This paper for the first time summarizes and compares recent trends in braille display where there is a deviation from the standard presentation of braille. Various aspects of alternate braille designs in terms of relative cost, convenience and reading speed are reviewed. The standard braille display designs with different actuators…are first outlined. The alternate modes of displaying braille are then presented. A review of the results of preliminary testing with users indicates that braille presented in these alternate modes can be perceived comfortably.
Abstract: The contribution of technology to improve quality of life has been increasingly highlighted in the literature. One dimension of technology is virtual reality (VR), which presents many characteristics that can help the learning process, especially of individuals with intellectual disabilities (ID). Virtual Environments (VEs) provide safe and repeated activities, which can be generalized to daily life situations in the real world. Considering this scenario, the main objective of this paper is to compile previous studies that have addressed the role of virtual reality in the learning process of individuals with intellectual disabilities. Our analysis indicated that VEs have been successfully…employed to support the teaching of logical-mathematical concepts, learn about leisure activities, train against unintentional injuries, among other applications. All papers consulted showed that the contributions of VR to those activities have been positive and statistically significant. Despite the variety of applications found, we realized an important gap for new studies about the use of VE to support inclusion of students with ID in mainstream schools.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Electrical stimulation is shown to be effective for the amelioration of paralysis. The stimulation pattern can have a direct relation to injected charge in the stimulated area resulting in a wider area stimulation and consequently better recovery. OBJECTIVE: In this study, we investigated the effect of two electrical stimulation waveforms, rectangular and exponentially climbing. Three parameters of current, voltage, and knee extension torque of the 2 waveforms were recorded and used for the comparison of the two waveforms. METHODS: Fifteen male and 15 female able-bodied subjects (age: 25.0 ± 3.2) were…recruited. Electrical stimulation was applied to right quadriceps muscles. At the maximum tolerable intensity, the 3 parameters were recorded for each of the 2 waveforms. Using the recorded knee extension torques, the adjusted maximum electrically induced contraction to voluntary torques in percent (%MEIC) of the two waveforms were calculated. Together with the other two parameters, current and voltage, the 2 waveforms were compared. RESULTS: The %MEIC and maximum voltage were significantly higher with the exponentially climbing waveform than with the rectangular waveform (%MEIC: p < 0.05, max voltage: p < 0.01). The maximum current did not differ significantly between conditions. CONCLUSION: These results indicate that an exponentially climbing waveform may induce stronger torque than a rectangular waveform and might thus be useful when applying NMES in clinical situations.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Non-use of and dissatisfaction with ankle foot orthoses (AFOs) occurs frequently. The objective of this study is to gain insight in the conversation during the intake and examination phase, from the clients' perspective, at two levels: 1) the attention for the activities and the context in which these activities take place, and 2) the quality of the conversation. METHODOLOGY: Semi-structured interviews were performed with 12 AFO users within a two-week period following intake and examination. In these interviews, and subsequent data analysis, extra attention was paid to the needs and wishes of the user, the…desired activities and the environments in which these activities take place. RESULTS AND CONCLUSION: Activities and environments were seldom inquired about or discussed during the intake and examination phase. Also, activities were not placed in the context of their specific environment. As a result, profundity lacks. Consequently, orthotists based their designs on a `reduced reality' because important and valuable contextual information that might benefit prescription and design of assistive devices was missed. A model is presented for mapping user activities and user environments in a systematic way. The term `user practices' is introduced to emphasise the concept of activities within a specific environment.
Abstract: Smart Homes technologies development is oriented toward intelligent services for the dweller. Designing the Artificial Intelligence which plays behind the scenes in a Smart Home requires large datasets for several reasons: training machine learning algorithms, tuning parameters, system testing and validation. Usually such tasks are carried-out on real-world data, requiring long time and additional costs to be collected, checked and labeled. Accelerating the development and limiting costs, a behaviour simulator can digitally reproduce environments and behaviours of the dwellers, in controlled conditions and in short time. This work presents a simulator capable of generating or reproducing the routine of a…person in terms of Activities of Daily Living (ADLs). Moreover, the activity scheduling can be used to generate synthetic data from sensors deployed in a virtual environment. For the ADL schedule generation, an innovative model based on the person status (represented by needs) and habits is used, while two alternatives are proposed to generate home automation data: an agent-based model (with deterministic behavioural pattern descriptions) and a stochastic one (modeling the ambient response based on sample data activations distributions). The whole simulation/emulation chain is evaluated comparing the characteristics of the obtained data with a real world dataset. This comparison proves that synthetic data respect the distributions of the corresponding real world dataset ADLs and sensors activations.
Keywords: Smart Homes, simulation, Activities of Daily Living, AAL, synthetic data generation, ambient intelligence