Assistive technology is a generic term that includes assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices and the process used in selecting, locating, and using them. AT promotes greater independence for people with disabilities by enabling them to perform tasks that they were formerly unable to accomplish, or had great difficulty accomplishing, by providing enhancements to or changed methods of interacting with the technology needed to accomplish such tasks. Technology is a broad concept that deals with a Species ' usage and knowledge of Tools and Crafts and how it affects a species' ability to control and adapt Although, Cook & Hussey (2001) report this term is usually not used for rehabilitative devices and for devices that able-bodied find useful. According to disability advocates, technology is often created without regard to people with disabilities, creating unnecessary barriers to hundreds of millions of people.
Assistive technology and universal accessibility
Universaly Accessible Street Cross at Evanston
Universal (or broadened) accessibility, or universal design means greater usability, particularly for people with disabilities. Evanston may refer to Evanston Illinois Evanston Indiana Evanston Ohio Evanston Wyoming Universal design is a relatively new Paradigm that emerged from " Barrier-free " or " Accessible design " and " Assistive technology But universally accessible technology yields great rewards to the typical user as well; good accessible design is universal design. One example is the "curb cuts" (or dropped curbs) in the sidewalk at street crossings. A curb cut ( US) curb ramp, dropped kerb ( UK) or pram ramp ( Australia) is a ramp leading smoothly down from a Sidewalk While these curb cuts enable pedestrians with mobility impairments to cross the street, these also aid parents with carriages and strollers, shoppers with carts, and travellers and workers with pull-type bags.
As an example, the modern telephone is inaccessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing. Basic principle A traditional landline telephone system also known as "plain old telephone service" (POTS, commonly handles both signaling and audio information Combined with a text telephone (also known as a TDD Telecommunications device for the deaf and in the USA generally called a TTY[TeleTYpewriter]), which converts typed characters into tones that may be sent over the telephone line, a deaf person is able to communicate immediately at a distance. A telecommunications device for the deaf ( TDD) is an electronic device for text communication via a Telephone line used when one or more of the parties has hearing A telecommunications device for the deaf ( TDD) is an electronic device for text communication via a Telephone line used when one or more of the parties has hearing Together with "relay" services, in which an operator reads what the deaf person types and types what a hearing person says, the deaf person is then given access to everyone's telephone, not just those of people who possess text telephones. Many telephones now have volume controls, which are primarily intended for the benefit of people who are hard of hearing, but can be useful for all users at times and places where there is significant background noise. Some have larger keys well-spaced to facilitate accurate dialling.
Also, a person with a mobility impairment can have difficulty using calculators. A calculator is device for performing mathematical calculations distinguished from a Computer by having a limited problem solving ability and an interface optimized for interactive Speech recognition software could recognize short commands and make use of calculators easier. Speech recognition (also known as automatic speech recognition or computer speech recognition) converts spoken words to machine-readable input (for example to keypresses
People suffering from learning disabilities like dyslexia or dysgraphia are using text-to-speech (TTS) software for reading and spelling programs for assistance in writing texts. In the United States and Canada, the term learning disability (LD refers to a group of disorders that affect a broad range of academic and functional skills including Dyslexia is considered to be a Learning disability. It manifests primarily as a difficulty with written language particularly with Reading and Spelling Dysgraphia (or agraphia) is a deficiency in the ability to write, regardless of the ability to read, not due to Intellectual impairment. Speech synthesis is the artificial production of human speech. Spelling is the Writing of a Word or words with the necessary letters and Diacritics present in an accepted standard order Thus, computers with their peripheral devices, editing, spellchecking and speech synthesis software are becoming the core-stones of the assistive technologies coming for relief to the people with learning disabilities and to the people with visual impairments. In Computing, a spell checker is an applications program that flags words in a document that may not be spelled correctly Speech synthesis is the artificial production of human speech. In the United States and Canada, the term learning disability (LD refers to a group of disorders that affect a broad range of academic and functional skills including Visual impairment or vision impairment is Vision loss that constitutes a significant limitation of visual capability resulting from Disease, The assisting spelling programs and voice facilities are bringing better and more convenient text reading and writing experience to the general public, when helping with foreign language texts.
Toys which have been adapted to be used by children with disabilities may have advantages for "typical" children as well. The Lekotek movement assists parents by lending assistive technology toys and expertise to families. Lekotek, Swedish for "play library" is an international program to lend Assistive Technology, toys and expertise to disabled children
Assistive technology products
Telecare is a particular sort of assistive technology that uses electronic sensors connected to an alarm system to help caregivers manage risk and help vulnerable people stay independent at home longer. Telecare is the term given to offering remote care of elderly and vulnerable people providing the care and reassurance needed to allow them to remain living in their own homes An example would be the systems being put in place for senior people such as fall detectors, thermometers (for hypothermia risk), flooding and unlit gas sensors (for people with mild dementia). Hypothermia is a condition in which an organism's temperature drops below that required for normal Metabolism and bodily functions Dementia (from Latin de- "apart away" + Mens ( genitive mentis) "mind" is the progressive decline Notably, these alerts can be customized to the particular person's risks. When the alert is triggered, a message is sent to a carer or contact centre who can respond appropriately.
Technology similar to Telecare can also be used to act within a person's home rather than just to respond to a detected crisis. Using one of the examples above, unlit gas sensors for people with dementia can be used to trigger a device that turns off the gas and tells someone what has happened.
Designing for people with dementia is a good example of how the design of the interface of a piece of AT is critical to its usefulness. People with dementia or any other identified user group must be involved in the design process to make sure that the design is accessible and usable. In the example above, a voice message could be used to remind the person with dementia to turn off the gas himself, but whose voice should be used, and what should the message say? Questions like these must be answered through user consultation, involvement and evaluation.
Accessible computer input
Sitting at a desk with a QWERTY keyboard and a mouse remains the dominant way of interacting with a personal computer. Some AT reduces the strain of this way of work through ergonomic accessories with height-adjustable furniture, footrests, wrist rests, and arm supports to ensure correct posture. Ergonomics is the Scientific discipline concerned with Designing according to the human needs and the profession that applies theory principles data and methods Keyguards fits over the keyboard to help prevent unintentional keypresses.
Alternatively AT may attempt to improve the ergonomics of the devices themselves:
- Ergonomic keyboards reduce the discomfort and strain of typing.
- Chorded keyboards have a handful of keys (one per digit per hand) to type by ‘chords’ which produce different letters and keys. A keyset or chorded keyboard (also called a chord keyboard or chording keyboard) is a computer input device that allows the user to enter characters
- Expanded keyboards with larger, more widely-spaced keys.
- Compact and miniature keyboards.
- Dvorak and other alternative layouts, which offer more ergonomic layouts of the keys. The Dvorak Simplified Keyboard (ˈdvɔræk or) is a Keyboard layout patented in 1936 by Dr There are also variants of Dvorak in which the most common keys are located at either the left or right side of the keyboard.
Input devices may be modified to make them easier to see and understand:
- Keyboards with lowercase keys
- Keyboards with big keys.
- Large print keyboard with high contrast colors (such as white on black, black on white, and black on ivory).
- Large print adhesive keyboard stickers in high contrast colors (such as white on black, black on white, and black on yellow).
- Embossed locator dots help find the ‘home’ keys, F and J, on the keyboard.
- Scroll wheels on mice remove the need to locate the scrolling interface on the computer screen.
- Footmouse - Foot operated mice. A footmouse is a type of computer mouse that gives the users the ability to move the cursor and click the mousebuttons with their feet
More ambitiously, and quite crucially when keyboard or mouse prove unusable, AT can also replace the keyboard and mouse with alternative devices: trackballs, joysticks, graphics tablets, touchpads, touch screens, foot mice, a microphone with speech recognition software, sip-and-puff input, and switch access. A trackball is a Pointing device consisting of a Ball housed in a socket containing sensors to detect rotation of the ball about two axes&mdashlike an upside-down A joystick is an input device consisting of a stick that pivots on a base and reports its angle or direction to the device it is controlling A graphics tablet (or digitizing tablet, graphics pad, drawing tablet) is a computer Input device that allows one to hand-draw images and graphics A touchpad (also trackpad) is a Pointing device consisting of specialized surface that can translate the motion and position A Touch Screen is a display which can detect the presence and location of a touch within the display area Speech recognition (also known as automatic speech recognition or computer speech recognition) converts spoken words to machine-readable input (for example to keypresses Sip-and-puff technology is a method used to send signals to a device using air pressure by "sipping" and "puffing" on a device called a "straw" or "wand See also Switch Access Scanning Many people with severe physical or cognitive impairment use one or more switches to access computers
Software can also make input devices easier to use:
- Keyboard shortcuts and MouseKeys allow the user to substitute keyboarding for mouse actions. A keyboard shortcut (or accelerator key, shortcut key, hot key, key binding, keybinding, key combo, etc Mouse keys is a feature of some Graphical user interfaces that uses the keyboard (esp Macro recorders can greatly extend the range and sophistication of keyboard shortcuts. A macro recorder is a piece of Software that "records" user actions for "playback at a later time"
- Sticky keys allows characters or commands to be typed without having to hold down a modifier key (Shift, Ctrl, Alt) while pressing a second key. Sticky keys is a feature of computer Desktop Environments. It is an Accessibility feature to aid users who have physical disabilities. Similarly, ClickLock is a Microsoft Windows features that remembers a mouse button is down so that items can be highlighted or dragged without holding the mouse button down throughout. Microsoft Windows is a series of Software Operating systems and Graphical user interfaces produced by Microsoft.
- Customization of mouse or mouse alternatives' responsiveness to movement, double-clicking, and so forth.
- ToggleKeys is a feature of Microsoft Windows 95 onwards. Microsoft Windows is a series of Software Operating systems and Graphical user interfaces produced by Microsoft. A high sound is heard when the CAPS LOCK, SCROLL LOCK, or NUM LOCK key is switched on and a low sound is heard when any of those keys are switched off.
- Customization of pointer appearance, such as size, color and shape.
- Predictive text
- Spell checkers and grammar checkers
Durable Medical Equipment (DME)
- Seating products that assist people to sit comfortably and safely (seating systems, cushions, therapeutic seats). Predictive text is an Input technology most commonly used on Mobile phones, and for Accessibility. In Computing, a spell checker is an applications program that flags words in a document that may not be spelled correctly In Computing terms a grammar checker is a Program, or part of a program that attempts to verify written text for Grammatical correctness.
- Standing products to support people with disabilities in the standing position while maintaining/improving their health (standing frame, standing wheelchair, active stander). A standing frame (also known as a stand, stander, standing technology, standing aid, standing device, standing box,
- Walking products to aid people with disabilities who are able to walk or stand with assistance (canes, crutches, walkers, gait trainers).
- Wheeled mobility products that enable people with mobility disabilities to move freely indoors and outdoors (wheelchairs, scooters)
- Age appropriate software
- Cause and effect software
- Hand-eye co-ordination skills software
- Diagnostic assessment software
- Mind mapping software
- Study skills software
- Symbol-based software
- Touch typing software
Choice of appropriate hardware and software will depend on the user's level of functional vision. A wheelchair is a wheeled Mobility device in which the user sits A mind map is a Diagram used to represent Words, Ideas tasks or other items linked to and arranged radially around a central key word or idea Speech synthesis is the artificial production of human speech. Touch typing is Typing without using the sense of sight to find the keys
- RIAS (Remote Infrared Audible Signage) has the potential to help both low vision and the blind navigate outside and indoors. Remote Infrared Audible Signage (RIAS was developed by Smith-Kettlewell Eye Research Institute so that print-handicapped people ( Blindness /low-vision/illiterate/foreign/
- Large monitors.
- Adjustable task lamp, using a fluorescent bulb, shines directly onto the paper and can be adjusted to suit.
- Copyholder holds printed material in near vertical position for easier reading and can adjusted to suit. A copyholder is a device that holds written material for Typing.
- Closed circuit television (CCTV) or video magnifier. Closed-circuit television ( CCTV) is the use of Video cameras to transmit a signal to a specific place limited set of monitors Printed materials and objects are placed under a camera and the magnified image is displayed onto a screen.
- Modified cassette recorder. To record a lecture, own thoughts, ideas, notes etc.
- Desktop compact cassette dictation system. To allow audio cassette playback with the aid of a foot pedal.
- Fusers produce tactile materials, for example diagrams and maps, by applying heat to special swell paper.
- Scanner. A device used in conjunction with OCR software. The printed document is scanned and converted into electronic text, which can then be displayed on screen as recognisable text.
- Standalone reading aids are integrate a scanner, optical character recognition (OCR) software and speech software in a single machine, working without a separate PC. 
- Refreshable Braille display. A refreshable Braille display or Braille terminal is an electro-mechanical device for displaying Braille characters usually by means of raising dots through holes An electronic tactile device which is placed under the computer keyboard. A line of cells, that move up and down to represent a line of text on the computer screen, enables the user to read the contents of the computer screen in Braille.
- Electronic Notetaker. A portable computer with a Braille or QWERTY keyboard and synthetic speech. Some models have an integrated Braille display.
- Braille embosser. A Braille embosser is a printer, necessarily an Impact printer, that renders text as Braille. Embosses Braille output from a computer by punching dots onto paper. It connects to a computer in the same way as a text printer.
- Perkins Brailler. The Perkins Brailler is a simple machine used to write Braille. To manually emboss Grade 1 or 2 Braille.
- Customization of graphical user interfaces to alter the colors and size of desktops, short-cut icons, menu bars and scroll bars.
- Screen magnifiers
- Screen readers
- Self-voicing applications
- Optical character recognition. See also Magnifying glass A screen magnifier is software that interfaces with a computer's graphical output to present enlarged screen content A screen reader is a software application that attempts to identify and interpret what is being displayed on the screen (or more accurately sent to standard output A self-voicing application is an application that provides an aural interface without requiring a separate Screen reader. Optical character recognition, usually abbreviated to OCR, is the Mechanical or electronic translation of Images of handwritten typewritten Converts the printed word into text, via a scanner.
- Braille translation. Converts the printed word into Braille, which can then be embossed via a Braille embosser.
- Text-to-speech and Speech-to-text
- Spell checkers and Grammar checkers
Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC)
Augmentative and alternative communication is a well defined specialty within AT. Speech synthesis is the artificial production of human speech. Speech recognition (also known as automatic speech recognition or computer speech recognition) converts spoken words to machine-readable input (for example to keypresses Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC refers "to an area of research clinical and educational practice AAC devices vary widely with respect to their technological sophistication:
- Low-tech systems. Simple paper or object based systems, i. e. do not require a battery.
- Light-tech systems. typically consisting of a digitized speech recorder with a touch sensitive display pad and sometimes switch access. Lite-tech systems require a battery.
- High-tech systems. Computerized VOCAs that vary from single purpose appliance-like systems to multipurpose computer-based communication aids. Typically high-tech systems require training and ongoing support to operate the devices.
Deafness and hearing loss
- Fire alarm paging system
- Loop system (portable and fixed)
- Radio aids
- Telecommunications device for the deaf
- Video cassette recorders that can read and record subtitles (Closed Captioning). An audiometer is a machine used for evaluating hearing loss The invention of this machine is generally credited to Dr In Computer Operating systems that have their Main memory divided into pages, paging (sometimes called swapping) is a transfer A telecommunications device for the deaf ( TDD) is an electronic device for text communication via a Telephone line used when one or more of the parties has hearing Teletext (or "broadcast Teletext" is a Television information retrieval service developed in the United Kingdom in the early Closed captioning is a term describing several systems developed to display text on a Television or Video screen to provide additional or interpretive
- Vibrating fire alarm placed under pillow when asleep.
- Door bell lighting system
- Wakamaru provides companionship, reminds users to take medicine and calls for help if something is wrong. Wakamaru is a Japanese Domestic robot made by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, primarily intended to provide companionship to Elderly and Disabled
- CARE (Call Reassurance) community based program that calls seniors at home ensuring their well-being .
- Cosmobot is part of a play therapy system designed to motivate children to participate in therapy. CosmoBot is a child-friendly interactive remote controlled Telerehabilitation robot designed by AnthroTronix Inc
- ^ Cook, A. M. and Hussey, S. Assistive Technologies: Principles and Practice (2nd Edition) Publisher: Mosby ISBN 0323006434, 2001
- ^ Bates, Roger; Jones, Melanie (2003). Using Computer Software To Develop Switch Skills. 2003 [Technology and Persons with Disabilities] Conference Proceedings. Retrieved on 2007-02-08. Year 2007 ( MMVII) was a Common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. Events 421 - Constantius III becomes co- Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.
- ^ Hawes, Paul; Blenkhorn, Paul (2002). Bridging the Gap between Aspiration and Capability for Aphasic and Brain Injured People. 2002 [Technology and Persons with Disabilities] Conference Proceedings. Retrieved on 2007-02-08. Year 2007 ( MMVII) was a Common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. Events 421 - Constantius III becomes co- Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.
- ^ What is a reading aid – technology information sheet. Royal National Institute for the Blind (2006-09-29). Year 2006 ( MMVI) was a Common year starting on Sunday of the Gregorian calendar. Events 522 BC - Darius I of Persia kills the Magian usurper Gaumâta securing his hold as king of the Persian Empire. Retrieved on 2007-02-08. Year 2007 ( MMVII) was a Common year starting on Monday of the Gregorian calendar in the 21st century. Events 421 - Constantius III becomes co- Emperor of the Western Roman Empire.
- Behrmann, M. In Human-computer interaction, computer accessibility (also known as Accessible computing) refers to the Accessibility of a Computer system to Web accessibility refers to the practice of making Websites usable by people of all abilities and Disabilities. & Schaff, J. (2001). Assisting educators with assistive technology: Enabling children to achieve independence in living and learning. Children and Families 42(3), 24-28.
- Bishop, J. (2003). The Internet for educating individuals with social impairments. Journal of Computer Assisted Learning 19(4), 546-556. Available as a free download
- Cain, S. (2001). Accessing Technology - Using technology to support the learning and employment opportunities for visually impaired users. Royal National Institute for the Blind. ISBN 1-85878-517-0.
- Cook, A. , & Hussey, S. (2002). Assistive Technologies - Principles and Practice, 2nd Edition. Mosby. ISBN 0-323-00643-4
- Franklin, K. S. (1991). Supported employment and assistive technology-A powerful partnership. In S. L. Griffin & W. G. Revell (Eds. ), Rehabilitation counselor desktop guide to supported employment. Richmond, VA: Virginia Commonwealth University Rehabilitation Research and Training Center on Supported Employment.
- Van der Heijden, D. (2005). How Does Alternative Access to Computers Work? Available as an online article.
- Lahm, E. , & Morrissette, S. (1994, April). Zap 'em with assistive technology. Paper presented at the annual meeting of The Council for Exceptional Children, Denver, CO.
- Lee, C. (1999). Learning disabilities and assistive technologies; an emerging way to touch the future. Amherst, MA: McGowan Publications.
- McKeown, S. (2000). Unlocking Potential - How ICT can support children with special needs. The Questions Publishing Company Ltd. ISBN 1-84190-041-9
- Nisbet, P. & Poon, P. (1998). Special Access Technology. The CALL Centre, University of Edinburgh. Available as a free download The CALL Centre. ISBN 1-898042-11-X
- Nisbet, P. , Spooner, R. , Arthur, E. & Whittaker P. (1999). Supportive Writing Technology. The CALL Centre, University of Edinburgh. Available as a free download The CALL Centre. ISBN 1-898042-13-6
- Rose, D. & Meyer, A. (2000). Universal design for individual differences. Educational Leadership, 58(3), 39-43.
- Orpwood, R. Design methodology for aids for the disabled. J Med Eng Technol. 1990 Jan-Feb;14(1):2-10. | PubMed ID: 2342081
- Adlam, T. et al. The installation and support of internationally distributed equipment for people with dementia. " IEEE transactions on information technology in biomedicine (1089-7771) yr:2004 vol:8 iss:3 pg:253-257 | download from IEEE (694k PDF)
External links Accessibility is a general term used to describe the degree to which a product (e Dyslexia is considered to be a Learning disability. It manifests primarily as a difficulty with written language particularly with Reading and Spelling Dysgraphia (or agraphia) is a deficiency in the ability to write, regardless of the ability to read, not due to Intellectual impairment.
© 2009 citizendia.org; parts available under the terms of GNU Free Documentation License, from http://en.wikipedia.org
network: | |