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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: Four hemiplegia post-stroke patients with 10 ∘ –30 ∘ genu recurvatum recruited for three-dimensional gait analysis to investigate optimum inclination in a Rigid Tuned Ankle Foot Orthosis (RT-AFO). OBJECTIVE: 1) To investigate the optimum inclination in a Rigid Tuned Ankle Foot Orthosis (RT-AFO) in order to stabilize stance knee kinematics in the sagittal plane for stroke patients with 10 ∘ –30 ∘ genu recurvatum, and 2) to compare the effects of RT-AFO with different inclinations on spatio-temporal parameters. METHODS:…Three dimensional gait measurements were performed in five conditions for four participants: walk without AFO (T1), walk with RT-AFO in 0 ∘ inclination (T2), walk with RT-AFO in 5 ∘ inclination (T3), walk with RT-AFO in 10 ∘ inclination (T4), and walk with RT-AFO in 15 ∘ inclination (T5). RESULT: Application of tibial inclination in the AFO reduced the genu recurvatum in participants who experienced stroke. Genu recurvatum was significantly reduced in conditions T3, T4 (p < 0.001) and in T5 (p < 0.05). Optimum inclination was found at 15 ∘ tibial inclination measured during mid-stance. This study reported a statistically significant improvement in cadence in condition T4 (RT-AFO 10 ∘ ) (p < 0.01). There were no significant results for improvement of walking speed and stride length. CONCLUSION: These results highlight the potential to optimize inclination of a Rigid Tuned Ankle Foot Orthosis for patients affected by stroke and also indicate the potential clinical applications of tuning the AFO in rehabilitation treatment of stroke patients.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Technology is widely used in school to assist students with visual impairments. Drawing with traditional methods is still difficult for those users. In this paper, we present and discuss an evaluation of a haptic and sound interactive drawing program (HIPP). OBJECTIVE: The aim of the study was to identify what aspects of the technological aid support the drawing skill development in children with visual impairment. METHODS: Interviews, observations and video recordings of use situations were used for data gathering. Our analysis is based on cultural-historical activity theory, and examines the mediation between…the child and the object of their activity, their drawings, as well as the roles of teachers, classmates, assistants, and family. RESULTS: The haptic and audio drawing program supports the steps (doodling, interpretation, planning, and more intentional drawing) observed in visually-acquired drawing, although possible improvements have also been identified. Observations of the drawing program in use showed that its mix of dynamic multimodal interaction and a stable drawing feedback, enable visually impaired students and sighted teachers to jointly access a shared representation. CONCLUSIONS: Successful long-term use, together with the presented results of our analysis show how multimodal dynamic and stable interaction can successfully support drawing activities.
Keywords: Drawing, visual impairment, haptic, multimodal, qualitative study, Cultural Historical Activity Theory
Abstract: Persons with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy (DMD) usually have difficult in operating electric wheelchairs (EWs) using standard input device due to the lack of muscular power and the deformation of their hands. To solve this problem, various kinds of input devices are developed considering their physical limits. However, as the disease progresses, persons with severe DMD will gradually lose the ability to operate the developed input devices. In this study, we first made an investigation of physical functions for persons with severe DMD and found that functions of upper limb, especially functions of the fingers, tended to remain better in at…least one-dimensional direction. A novel one-dimensional input device (1DID) was developed for persons with severe DMD based on a quantitative evaluation of the hand functions. Thus, this device can be operated using slight force and one-dimensional movement of a finger. Therefore, persons with severe DMD can adjust the straight and turning motion of an EW using two 1DIDs with the cooperative operation by two fingers. The validity of this device was demonstrated by evaluation experiments of 10 persons with severe DMD including those who do not have a proper input device. The evaluation results also show that the developed 1DID has the possibility to be widely used as a generic input device with computers for persons with severe disabilities.
Keywords: Electric wheelchair, Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, hand function, one-dimensional input device, cooperative operation
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Advancing informal caregivers’ and recipients’ health and functional capacity and enabling living at home are significant objectives in Finnish society. The purpose of this project is to create a model for supporting the welfare services of informal caregivers digitally. METHOD: The data were collected in late 2017 by interviewing the informal caregivers (N = 19) who took part in the project in one city (n = 9) and one rural municipality (n = 10). They filled the 15D quality of…life instrument with added questions before and after intervention and evaluated the digital service after seven months of piloting. The recipients (n = 19) also filled a questionnaire on a memory game device. RESULTS: Informal caregivers considered their quality of life good, though approximately half felt mildly depressed and distressed. Their wishes for tablet programs included peer support, lectures, and live entertainment. Nearly all caregivers recommended the digital service to others despite technical problems. The difficulty of the game divided the recipients’ opinions. A functional service model is presented as a summary of the project. CONCLUSIONS: It is paramount to move the entire service to a single platform with large shortcuts to each segment. This will enable the user to easily use the programs and contact people.
Keywords: Informal caregiver, recipient, digitalization, quality of life
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Different types of assistive technologies can support participation for people with disability; nonetheless, technology can break with peoples self-image, sometimes resulting in technology abandonment. OBJECTIVE: This article focuses on how assistive activity technology can be used as symbolic expressions of identity among people with physical disability. METHODS: Qualitative, semistructured, in-depth interviews with people with physical disability using assistive activity technology. RESULTS: The use of assistive activity technology is most often voluntary and based on personal interest. The use of assistive activity technology affects how the informants experience themselves and…their social surroundings, and how they act in social activities. Assistive activity technology provides people with disability the opportunity to show themselves from a positive perspective in recognisable and commonly valued activities in society. This phenomenon is changing how other people see and understand people with disability. CONCLUSIONS: Assistive activity technology has the potential to contribute as symbolic expressions of identity for people with physical disability. The technology contributes through positively changing how individuals experience themselves and how other people perceive them. A new finding is that assistive activity technology differs from other assistive technology because the choice of using assistive activity technology is normally based on individual preferences and interests.
Keywords: Assistive technology, self-expression, participation, physical activity, qualitative study