Commenced in January 2007
Frequency: Monthly
Edition: International
Paper Count: 7

assistive technology Related Abstracts

7 PYTHEIA: A Scale for Assessing Rehabilitation and Assistive Robotics

Authors: Yiannis Koumpouros, Effie Papageorgiou, Alexandra Karavasili, Foteini Koureta


The objective of the present study was to develop a scale called PYTHEIA. The PYTHEIA is a self-reported measure for the assessment of rehabilitation and assistive robotics and other assistive technology devices. The development of PYTHEIA faced the absence of a valid instrument that can be used to evaluate the assistive robotic devices both as a whole, as well as any of their individual components or functionalities implemented. According to the results presented, PYTHEIA is a valid and reliable scale able to be applied to different target groups for the subjective evaluation of various assistive technology devices.

Keywords: Rehabilitation, Validation, Assessment, Assistive Robots, assistive technology, Rehabilitation Robots, user satisfaction, scale, psychometric test

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6 New HCI Design Process Education

Authors: Jongwan Kim


Human Computer Interaction (HCI) is a subject covering the study, plan, and design of interactions between humans and computers. The prevalent use of digital mobile devices is increasing the need for education and research on HCI. This work is focused on a new education method geared towards reducing errors while developing application programs that incorporate role-changing brainstorming techniques during HCI design process. The proposed method has been applied to a capstone design course in the last spring semester. Students discovered some examples about UI design improvement and their error discovering and reducing capability was promoted. An UI design improvement, PC voice control for people with disabilities as an assistive technology examplar, will be presented. The improvement of these students' design ability will be helpful to the real field work.

Keywords: HCI, assistive technology, Design Process, error reducing education, role-changing brainstorming

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5 A New Mechanical Architecture Design of a Multifunctional Bed for Bedridden Healthcare

Authors: Rogelio Portillo Vélez, Eduardo Vázquez-Santacruz, Mariano Gamboa-Zúñiga


In this paper a new mechanical architecture design of a multi functional robot bed, is presented. The importance of this design relies on the fact that in next years the need of assistive devices development will increase in such way that elderly patients will use this kind of devices. This mechanical design implies following specific mechanisms which attend Mexican hospital requirements. This design is the base of next step of this kind of development given that it shows all technical details of the mechanical systems which are needed in order to construct the bed. This is first hospital bed design which could responds to the Latin America hospital requirements. We have obtained these hospital requirements using our diagnosis methodology [14]. From these results we have designed the mechanical system. This is the mechanical base of the hospital robotic bed which is being developed in our robotics laboratory. It will be useful in different hospital environments for elderly and disabled patients.

Keywords: Robotics, Methodology, assistive technology, Social impact, assistive robotics, feasibility analysis, operational feasibility, viability analysis matrix

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4 Assistive Technologies and the 'Myth' of Independent Living: A Sociological Understanding of Assistive Technologies for Locomotor Disabled in India

Authors: Pavani K. Sree, Ragahava Reddy Chandri


Independent living and living with dignity have been the hallmarks of the movement of the persons with disabilities across the globe against the oppression perpetuated by society in the form of social and physical structural barriers. Advancements in assistive technologies have been providing a new lease of life to persons with disabilities. However, access to these technologies is marred by the issues of affordability and availability. Poor from the developing countries find it difficult to make independent living or live with dignity because of lack of access and inability to afford the advance technologies. Class and gender appear to be key factors influencing the access to modern assistive technologies. The present paper attempts to understand the dynamics of class and gender in accessing advanced technologies in the Indian context. Based on an empirical study in which data were collected from persons with locomotor disabilities and service providers, the paper finds that the advance technologies are expensive and inaccessible to all persons with disabilities. The paper also finds that men with disabilities are prioritized by the members of the family for the use of advance technologies while women with disabilities are forced to live with not so advanced technologies. The paper finds that the state institutions working in the field of prosthetics and assistive technologies fail to deliver to the requirements of the poor. It was found that because of lack of facilities at the state institutions the cost of prosthetics, in the case of orthopedically challenged, is expensive and unaffordable for the poor. It was found that while rich male access the private services the poor women depend on the state institutions. It may be said that the social, cultural stereotypes extend not only to the state organizations but also to the use of prosthetics. Thus the notions of independent living and living with dignity in third world countries context are still elusive.

Keywords: Gender, Accessibility, Class, assistive technology, State

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3 Embodied Empowerment: A Design Framework for Augmenting Human Agency in Assistive Technologies

Authors: Melina Kopke, Jelle Van Dijk


Persons with cognitive disabilities, such as Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) are often dependent on some form of professional support. Recent transformations in Dutch healthcare have spurred institutions to apply new, empowering methods and tools to enable their clients to cope (more) independently in daily life. Assistive Technologies (ATs) seem promising as empowering tools. While ATs can, functionally speaking, help people to perform certain activities without human assistance, we hold that, from a design-theoretical perspective, such technologies often fail to empower in a deeper sense. Most technologies serve either to prescribe or to monitor users’ actions, which in some sense objectifies them, rather than strengthening their agency. This paper proposes that theories of embodied interaction could help formulating a design vision in which interactive assistive devices augment, rather than replace, human agency and thereby add to a persons’ empowerment in daily life settings. It aims to close the gap between empowerment theory and the opportunities provided by assistive technologies, by showing how embodiment and empowerment theory can be applied in practice in the design of new, interactive assistive devices. Taking a Research-through-Design approach, we conducted a case study of designing to support independently living people with ASD with structuring daily activities. In three iterations we interlaced design action, active involvement and prototype evaluations with future end-users and healthcare professionals, and theoretical reflection. Our co-design sessions revealed the issue of handling daily activities being multidimensional. Not having the ability to self-manage one’s daily life has immense consequences on one’s self-image, and also has major effects on the relationship with professional caregivers. Over the course of the project relevant theoretical principles of both embodiment and empowerment theory together with user-insights, informed our design decisions. This resulted in a system of wireless light units that users can program as a reminder for tasks, but also to record and reflect on their actions. The iterative process helped to gradually refine and reframe our growing understanding of what it concretely means for a technology to empower a person in daily life. Drawing on the case study insights we propose a set of concrete design principles that together form what we call the embodied empowerment design framework. The framework includes four main principles: Enabling ‘reflection-in-action’; making information ‘publicly available’ in order to enable co-reflection and social coupling; enabling the implementation of shared reflections into an ‘endurable-external feedback loop’ embedded in the persons familiar ’lifeworld’; and nudging situated actions with self-created action-affordances. In essence, the framework aims for the self-development of a suitable routine, or ‘situated practice’, by building on a growing shared insight of what works for the person. The framework, we propose, may serve as a starting point for AT designers to create truly empowering interactive products. In a set of follow-up projects involving the participation of persons with ASD, Intellectual Disabilities, Dementia and Acquired Brain Injury, the framework will be applied, evaluated and further refined.

Keywords: Design, Embodiment, assistive technology, Empowerment

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2 A Systematic Review on Assistive Technology Robotics in Lower and Middle-Income Settings

Authors: Sumudu Sameera Perera Kimmantudawage, Chapal Khasnabis


Technology is changing at a rapid rate, with innovations in robotics being hailed and tested in countries such as Japan, the United States and Australia, however the conversation in a public health context is stagnant. While obvious barriers to robotics use in low and middle-income countries and regions exist, the avoidance of attempting to address these regions of the world may potentially lead to an ever-increasing divide between those of high income countries and those of less. A systematic review was undertaken to determine the number of projects involving research, development and testing of robotics considered low and middle-income regions. Major findings indicate that an overwhelmingly significant number of projects failed to consider low and middle-income countries or regions. These results are unsurprising however alarming, as bridging the divide is an important step forward in achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals by 2030. It is hoped that this research would spawn future robotics research that focusses on lower and middle-income regions.

Keywords: Robotics, assistive technology, socioeconomic, health equality

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1 Disability, Technology and Inclusion: Fostering and Inclusive Pedagogical Approach in an Interdisciplinary Project

Authors: M. Lopez-Pereyra, I. Cisneros Alvarado, M. Del Socorro Lobato Alba


This paper aims to discuss a conceptual, pedagogical approach that foster inclusive education and that create an awareness of the use of assistive technology in Mexico. Interdisciplinary understanding of disabilities and the use of assistive technology as a frame for an inclusive education have challenged the reality of the researchers’ participation in decision-making. Drawing upon a pedagogical inquiry process within an interdisciplinary academic project that involved the sciences, design, biotechnology, psychology and education fields, this paper provides a discussion on the challenges of assistive technology and inclusive education in interdisciplinary research on disabilities and technology project. This study is frame on an educational action research design where the team is interested in integrating, disability, technology, and inclusion, theory, and practice. Major findings include: (1) the concept of inclusive education as a strategy for interdisciplinary research; (2) inclusion as a pedagogical approach that challenges the creation of assistive technology from diverse academic fields; and, (3) inclusion as a frame, problem-focused, for decision-making. The findings suggest that inclusive pedagogical approaches provide a unique insight into interdisciplinary teams on disability and assistive technology in education.

Keywords: Interdisciplinary Research, Inclusive Education, assistive technology, inclusive pedagogy

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