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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: Posture control involves complex reactions of dynamic and static movements, and various sensory inputs. There is evidence that exercise using multisensory stimulation is moderately effective in improving the balance of the elderly. OBJECTIVE: The main purpose of this paper was to examine the existing literature to validate the effectiveness and applicability of multisensory stimulation training. METHODS: All relevant literature published as of June 1, 2020 in four prominent databases was searched (Embase, PubMed, PsycINFO, and Web of science) using the five-stage review framework proposed by Arksey and O’Malley. RESULTS:…Multisensory stimulation training was more effective when vestibular and somatosensory were combined with visual stimuli, and differences in effectiveness compared to the effectiveness of existing treatments were confirmed. However, most of the reviewed papers are compared to simple strength training, and studies that compare the effects of multisensory stimulation training by setting a control group are still lacking. CONCLUSION: Further research is required to further elucidate the training conditions and treatment environment for multisensory training for the elderly at risk of falls and to provide strategies to improve treatment methods. In addition, a study that can evaluate user satisfaction in a way that best shows the treatment effect using qualitative research methods will be needed.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The use of computers as a communication tool by people with disabilities can serve as an alternative effective to promote social interactions and the more inclusive and active participation of people in society. OBJECTIVE: This paper presents a systematic mapping of the literature that provides a survey of scientific contributions where Computer Vision is applied to enable users with motor and speech impairments to access computers easily, allowing them to exert their communicative abilities. METHODS: The mapping was conducted employing searches that identified 221 potentially eligible scientific articles published between 2009 and…2019, indexed by ACM, IEEE, Science Direct, and Springer databases. RESULTS: From the retrieved papers, 33 were selected and categorized into themes of this research interest: Human-Computer Interaction, Human-Machine Interaction, Human-Robot Interaction, Recreation, and surveys. Most of the chosen studies use sets of predefined gestures, low-cost cameras, and tracking a specific body region for gestural interaction. CONCLUSION: The results offer an overview of the Computer Vision techniques used in applied research on Assistive Technology for people with motor and speech disabilities, pointing out opportunities and challenges in this research domain.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Most of the patients who survive stroke, spinal cord or others nervous system injuries, must face different challenges for a complete recovery of physical functional impairment. An accurate and recurrent assessment of the patient rehabilitation progress is very important. So far, wearable sensors (e.g. accelerometers, gyroscopes) and depth cameras have been used in medical rehabilitation for the automation of traditional motor assessments. Combined with machine learning techniques, these sensors are leading to novel metric systems for upper limb mobility assessment. OBJECTIVE: Review current research for objective and quantitative assessments of the upper limb movement, analyzing…sensors used, health issues examined, and data processes applied such as: selected features, feature engineering approach, learning models and data processing techniques. METHOD: A systematic review conducted according to the PRISMA guidelines. EBSCOHOST discovery service was queried for relevant articles published from January 2014 to December 2018 with English language and scholarly peer reviewed journals limits. RESULTS: Of the 568 articles identified, 75 were assessed for eligibility and 43 were finally included and weighed for an in-depth analysis according to their ponderation. The reviewed studies show a wide use of sensors to capture raw data for subsequent motion analysis. CONCLUSION: As the volume of the data captured via these sensors increase, it makes sense to extract useful information about them such as prediction of performance scores, detection of movement impairments and measured progression of recovery.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: The impact of paediatric upper limb difference may extend beyond the child themselves to their parents and other family members. Previous research has found that feelings of shock, numbness and loss are common amongst parents and that peer support can be a buffer against stress. OBJECTIVE: The current study aimed to explore the experiences of parents of children with limb difference, and the role of services and prosthetic devices in these experiences. METHODS: Nine parents of children with limb difference participated in either a group (n =…2) or individual (n = 7) interview. RESULTS: Analysis of the interview transcripts revealed four themes – ‘grief and guilt’, ‘prosthesis as a tool for parental adjustment’, ‘support’ and ‘fun and humour’. CONCLUSIONS: Parents may employ coping strategies to help them adjust to their child’s limb difference, including use of a prosthesis, accessing support from statutory services and peers, and use of fun and humour within the family.
Keywords: Upper limb prosthetics, paediatric prosthetics, parental experiences, qualitative research
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Over-ground robotic lower limb exoskeletons are safe and feasible in rehabilitation with individuals with spinal cord injury (SCI) and stroke. Information about effects on stroke rehabilitees is scarce and descriptions of learning process and user experience is lacking. OBJECTIVE: The objectives of this study were to describe how rehabilitees learn exoskeleton use, to study effects of exoskeleton assisted walking (EAW) training, and to study rehabilitees’ user experiences. METHODS: One-group pre-test post-test pre-experimental study involved five rehabilitees with stroke or traumatic brain injury (TBI). Participants in chronic phase underwent twice a week an…8-week training intervention with Indego exoskeleton. Process of learning to walk and the level of assistance were documented. Outcome measurements were conducted with 6-minute and 10-meter walk tests (6 MWT, 10 mWT). User experience was assessed with a satisfaction questionnaire. RESULTS: Rehabilitees learnt to walk using the exoskeleton with the assistance from 2–3 therapists within two sessions and progressed individually. Three participants improved their results in 10 mWT, four in 6 MWT. The rehabilitees felt comfortable and safe when using and exercising with the device. CONCLUSION: Indego exoskeleton may be beneficial to gait rehabilitation with chronic stroke or TBI rehabilitees. The rehabilitees were satisfied with the exoskeleton as a rehabilitation device.
Abstract: BACKGROUND: Assistive technologies are playing a vital role in children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. OBJECTIVE: The current paper presents the design and assessment of an “all-in-one” wearable solution incorporating location monitoring, scheduling, communication, and physiological parameters monitoring functionalities for children with autism and their families/carers. METHODS: Twenty high-functioning children and twenty-five parents participated in the research. The final application was assessed over a period of two months. A highly patient-centred design was followed by a multidisciplinary team of experts (experts in the field of special education, speech therapy, psychology, and informatics) with significant…experience in children with autism. The evaluation took place in a real and open environment. All participants were administered the PYTHEIA questionnaire in order to assess the various characteristics of the platform. Pearson’s Chi-squared test was used to examine the independence of the variables, with a statistical significance of 95%. RESULTS: The results support that the implemented features can effectively assist everyday life activities and facilitate the independent living of children with autism. The subjective evaluation of the solution revealed important considerations for further developments. Both groups of users (parents and children) were very satisfied with the implemented functionalities. The flexibility given by the PYTHEIA instrument was very important for the subjective assessment of the different functionalities of the solution. All examined axes were found excellent in terms of their adaptability in daily life activities. CONCLUSIONS: Real-world applications, able to run in an open and uncontrolled environment are critical for this population. PYTHEIA is a valuable instrument that supports the assessment of the device and application as a whole, as well as the evaluation of individual features and functions.
Keywords: mHealth, mobile health, wearable, mobile, application, smartphone, autism, ASD, developmental disability, ICT, information and communication technologies, assisted living, assistive technology, subjective assessment, assessment, evaluation