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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 the following research, we intend to highlight the importance of inclusion in the museum spaces, being the key the educational value, with the use of the new tools (ICTs), as well as the interculturality showing the diversity of the current cities in its cultural aspect, and allowing the access to all type of public, with functional diversity. A systematic review has been carried out with a selection of 490 articles examined up to 56 articles from 2002 to October 2017. The search was conducted using ten databases: Esci, Circ, Miar, Eric, Isoc, Dialnet, Scopus, Google Scholar, Teacher Reference Center…and Wos. The purpose is to provide elements to carry out good practices that facilitate inclusive education and avoid cultural exclusion. Within the conclusions obtained, the role of the museum space as a place of reflection and grouping of different intergenerational groups is evident. The incorporation of ICTs that improve interaction and learning should be encouraged, valuing cooperation between museums and schools.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Literacy is essential for the development and empowerment of students with intellectual disability. However, such students often present limitations that may interfere in their literacy process. OBJECTIVE: The aim of this research was to evaluate the potential of Virtual Reality as an educational tool to support the literacy process of students with intellectual disability. METHODS: We have developed a serious game based on Virtual Reality techniques. The game has been validated by special education professionals and used by students and their teachers in two inclusive schools. In order to evaluate the game’s…effectiveness, a qualitative methodology has been adopted. RESULTS: The study points to a positive evaluation of the game as a tool to aid in the development of literacy skills of students with intellectual disability. CONCLUSIONS: The results indicate that Virtual Reality has potential to contribute to the inclusion of students with intellectual disability in the educational context.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Assistive technologies are playing vital role in frail seniors. OBJECTIVE: The paper presents the methodology and findings from the assessment of an active “intelligent” robotic rollator incorporating navigation assistance in frail seniors. METHODS: Thirty seniors, having moderate motor impairment were grouped into two categories according to their cognitive status. A complicated trail was defined to test their performance using a robotic rollator. The main descriptive statistics were given, while inference was performed via the corresponding parametric t tests and the non-parametric Mann-Whitney U or Kruskal-Wallis tests. A principal component…analysis was utilized to extract the variable classes that explain the overall behavior of the sample. RESULTS: Navigation assistance was proved helpful to the cognitive impaired group. The results between the two groups were comparable in terms of completion time and success rate. The provided directional audio cues led to smoother walking paths and better orientation. There was no correlation between the MMSE values and the total time of the walk (p = 0.696 > 0.05 for Pearson’s correlation between MMSE and total walk time). CONCLUSIONS: The integration of navigation assistance in mobility assistance devices can help the elderly to effectively orient themselves in challenging and unknown environments.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: People with severe speech and motor impairment (SSMI) often uses a technique called eye pointing to communicate with outside world. One of their parents, caretakers or teachers hold a printed board in front of them and by analyzing their eye gaze manually, their intentions are interpreted. This technique is often error prone and time consuming and depends on a single caretaker. OBJECTIVE: We aimed to automate the eye tracking process electronically by using commercially available tablet, computer or laptop and without requiring any dedicated hardware for eye gaze tracking. The eye gaze tracker is used…to develop a video see through based AR (augmented reality) display that controls a robotic device with eye gaze and deployed for a fabric printing task. METHODS: We undertook a user centred design process and separately evaluated the web cam based gaze tracker and the video see through based human robot interaction involving users with SSMI. We also reported a user study on manipulating a robotic arm with webcam based eye gaze tracker. RESULTS: Using our bespoke eye gaze controlled interface, able bodied users can select one of nine regions of screen at a median of less than 2 secs and users with SSMI can do so at a median of 4 secs. Using the eye gaze controlled human-robot AR display, users with SSMI could undertake representative pick and drop task at an average duration less than 15 secs and reach a randomly designated target within 60 secs using a COTS eye tracker and at an average time of 2 mins using the webcam based eye gaze tracker. CONCLUSION: The proposed system allows users with SSMI to manipulate physical objects without any dedicated eye gaze tracker. The novelty of the system is in terms of non-invasiveness as earlier work mostly used glass based wearable trackers or head/face tracking but no other earlier work reported use of webcam based eye tracking for controlling robotic arm by users with SSMI.
Keywords: Eye gaze tracking, assistive technology, human robot interaction, SSMI
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Consequences related to caregiving are multidimensional. Ways to reduce burden should be investigated, such as the use of assistive technology (AT). AT can decrease family caregiver burden, but there are multiple barriers to their uptake. A mixed-method project was launched to understand the needs of family caregivers and how could technology provide support. This study draws from qualitative data of this project. OBJECTIVE: To understand the experience of care provision and the integration of AT in the care provided by family caregivers. METHODS: Participants had to have provided care to an older…adult or be an older adult providing care. Data collection consisted of semi-structured interviews on the caregiving situation and use of AT. A thematic content analysis was conducted. RESULTS: Fifty-nine family caregivers were recruited. Three main themes were identified: ‘Responsibilities of Caregiving’ described that family caregivers assisted in all areas of their care recipient’s life. ‘Caregivers’ Challenges and Rewards’ portrayed the challenges experienced by family caregivers and identified positive caregiving activities. ‘Strategies to Address Responsibilities and Challenges’ illustrated two main strategies to face challenges: sharing caring and using AT. CONCLUSION: The variability in care provision and challenges encountered should be taken into consideration when developing AT.
Keywords: Aging, caregiving, assistive technology, qualitative research
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Videomodeling is an effective technological tool for intervention and rehabilitation of children with autism spectrum disorders in different contexts. OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this paper is to verify whether a videomodeling intervention is effective for the acquisition of social and emotional behaviour and skills of children with ASD using tablet PC. METHODS: One 6-year-old child with ASD, who does not use verbal communication, was involved in a multiple baseline across behaviours design: the independent variable was the videomodeling intervention, instead the dependent variable was the participant behaviour. Intervention was preceded by a…pre-session of Functional Communication training. An intersubject analysis was used to evaluate participant percentage of response through the sessions. RESULTS: The participant showed a marked improvement in his emotional skills. The intersubjective analysis carried out shows the sharp increase in response in many target behaviours from the baseline to the intervention phase. A limitation of the study was the lack of time: there were only two inversion sessions, no follow-up evaluation, no generalization and no double-blind study. CONCLUSIONS: It would be interesting for future research to extend it to everyday life scenarios, to enhance generalization in other contexts, involving a larger number of people with ASD.