Several studies investigated different interaction techniques and input devices for older adults using touchscreen. This literature review analyses the population involved, the kind of tasks that were executed, the apparatus, the input techniques, the provided feedback, the collected data and author's findings and their recommendations. As conclusion, this review shows that age-related changes, previous experience with technologies, characteristics of handheld devices and use situations need to be studied.
A proposal of a resolution system using electronic communication tools at evacuation and a report of the demonstrations at an aquarium. It is unique to the point that the self-guide system is used either at emergency or at daily situation.
Due to the ageing population, the number of nursing home residents with cognitive impairments is substantially increasing. Treatment and instruction of elderly with cognitive impairments by care professionals (e.g. physio- or occupational therapists) is difficult, since not only motor performance may be impaired, but also the understanding of verbal instructions can be limited. Understanding of information may be further limited by a decrease in the capacity of information processing and speed of processing. Nursing homes residents are in general physically inactive. Physical activity during but also outside of supervised therapy should be stimulated in order to prevent secondary complications, enhance movement skills and to achieve or maintain a certain level of autonomy. Innovative technology may be a promising tool to stimulate physical activity; challenging and inviting environments can be created, which can ‘seduce’ nursing home residents to become more active in a fun way. This article presents three potentially suitable technologies to stimulate physical activity in nursing home residents with cognitive deficits or dementia: ‘interactive surfaces’, ‘Tri-Bot’ and ‘virtual cycling’. Results on feasibility indicate that the technologies were accepted by the users and they all seem to be promising tools to stimulate physical activity in nursing home residents.
Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) systems and services must support users' activities and participation. Therefore, AAL evaluation tools must go beyond the instrumental factors and must assess how AAL systems and services can help people to perform complex activities of daily life or social roles. In this context, this paper presents an on-going research work within the Living Usability Lab (LUL) where the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health is being used as a comprehensive model for the evaluation of AAL systems and services.
The demographics are experiencing an elderly population growth. One of the main concerns, due to this growth, is the cost of elderly care which is rapidly rising. Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) has been proposed as a solution for independent ageing in place, reducing the care costs and improving the quality of life of the elderly. Alongside with the benefits like tele-care, health monitoring, and assistance in activities of daily living, ambient intelligence in smart homes offers another important service which is home control. The right choice of the home automation (HA) technology is crucial for an effective home control. This is challenging in a dynamic and competitive HA market with several standards and alliances. A long-term investment on an HA solution requires not only technical evaluation but also a market evaluation of existing technologies and an understanding of how it will be shaped in future. In this work we searched for mixed technical and market indicators in order to evaluate HA technologies and base our smart home platform on it.
The study has the objective of monitoring person activity at home and detect possible person falls with passive infrared sensor units. The system is targeted to alert of any abnormal activity at home, such as falls, too long visits to the toilet, unplanned leaving of the building as well as some normal activities, such as wake-ups in the morning and persons' presence and movement. Non-visual monitoring system was selected in order to respect the person's privacy. Data collection and alerts are gathered by a web-based service. The alert service is able to send alerts using SMS or a web service – XML or e-mails.
The objective of this research is to see the difference between the effect of a stuffed animal and that of an animal shaped robot in occupational therapy. PARO, a baby seal shaped robot, is a sophisticated robot. It responds to users' actions and even remembers particular interactions. Thus, this robot is certainly different from a stuffed animal, yet unlike an alive pet (whose behaviors can be unpredictable), its responses are programmed and controlled. PARO is “inanimate” but interactive like a pet and not passive like a stuffed animal. Our team wanted to see how patients with dementia would react to PARO in comparison to a stuffed animal and what the difference (if there is any) may imply. We concluded that the effectiveness of robot therapy is different from occupational therapy with “inanimate objects,” such as stuffed animals. Robot therapy can encourage patients with dementia to be more self-directive.
Background: The use of robots for providing support to persons with dementia is very promising. In this paper, we propose an information-support robot for persons with memory and cognitive impairments, using field-based methodology. To date, it is not been made clear why a physical robot is more effective than an on-screen agent in presenting information, or what effect this has on the recipient. Objective: The purpose of this study is to clarify the effect of the form and type of the two devices used in communication. To do this, comparative experiments using a physical robot and a robot agent were conducted with healthy elderly people and person with mild dementia. Method: A communication robot/agent system produced by NEC Corporation, called “PaPeRo®,” was chosen as the platform for this system. The comparative experiment design was a between-group design (robot vs. agent; elderly vs. dementia). Sixteen information tasks were set during an interference task in each case. Result: The results of experiments conducted with 13 elderly people and 5 person with dementia showed that the average rates of information acquisition of a Robot/Agent with mentally healthy elderly people were 65.5%/66.2%, and 62.5%/55.8% for the person with mild dementia. The participants demonstrated awareness, attention, understanding, replies, and actions to the Robot/Agent 43.3%/47.1% of the time for the healthy elderly people, and 45.0%/41.3% of the time for person with dementia. Conclusions: These results suggest that a physical robot is more suitable and more effective than a robot agent for a person who is suffering a decrease in cognitive and attention functions.
Each year, hundreds of thousands of elderly or disabled patients across the world, that use wheelchairs, fall during the attempt to stand up from the wheelchair. The main cause of these falls is the fact that either the caregiver or the patient himself forgot to engage the brakes. While standing up the patient exerts load backwards and as a result the free wheelchair rolls back and the patient loses balance and fall on his back or his side. As a result elderly people are seriously injured due to this falls which in severe cases may lead to patient's death.
The goal of this paper is to present a practical solution of an affordable anti rollback brake for wheelchairs that can be either operate as an add-on device on existing wheelchairs or be part of a new wheelchair. This brake engages automatically when there is an attempt to push back the wheelchair.
Wheelchairs are one of the most common mobility aids for people who are not able to walk independently, which may result from aging, neurological or orthopedic diseases, accidents, and so on. As the problem of population aging is getting worse, the wheelchair users are increasing. However, not every person can operate the wheelchair by himself or herself instead relying on their caregivers. Yet the wheelchairs nowadays do not fully meet the caregivers' needs, and may cause difficulties in some circumstances such as ramps and may also harm the caregivers. From this point of view, we have proposed a transport wheelchair with a new algorithm to predict the caregiver's intention and follow them automatically. In this project, we discussing about a transport wheelchair following a caregiver by using a microcontroller, a laser rangefinder, and motor drivers to operate.
TWSIs compliant with the JIS could be an extra barrier for pedestrians, wheelchair users, and baby carriage users. We have considered that bump heights should have been lower for lower limbs disabled and prosthesis users. We developed newly developed Indoor tactile guidance having 2 mm height or less. Especially, this tactile guidance targets indoors. Because indoors are less danger than outdoors and the floor faces are comparatively flat. On the other hand, some studies have suggested that the vibration caused by manual wheelchairs running over the sidewalk and tactile walking surface indicators have risk of secondary disorders for the wheelchair users. The purpose of this study is to evaluate the body vibration for wheelchair users running over newly developed Indoor tactile guidance. Results for the manual wheelchair showed that significant differences existed between TWSIs compliant with JIS and the indoor tactile guidance in body vibration and dis comfort level. TWSIs compliant with JIS are approximately five times as large as the 1 mm height of the indoor tactile guidance and are approximately three times as large as the 2 mm height of the indoor tactile guidance. The development of the indoor tactile guidance in consideration of body vibrations for wheelchair users is necessary.
An orthosis for pathological tremor suppression at wrist level has been designed emphasizing on user acceptance. The orthoses has been tested in 12 patients. These patients used the orthoses as part of their daily life for one month. An assessment on efficiency and acceptance has been made using objective measurements and questionnaires. Results obtained from use show that orthoses has been well accepted by users and are effective suppressing tremor.
This paper describes the results of a pilot study on what information from assistive technology services could be obtained from current assistive technology registers used in health centers and central hospitals. In addition it describes the usability and functionality of the used questions about the data on assistive technology. The piloting of the questionnaire showed that it requires improving in order to develop the national data collection system on assistive technology services in Finland.
Assistive technology plays important role in the development of an Inclusive society. As accessible mainstream services rise relatively slower than needs and requirements of increasing population of seniors and of course persons with disabilities, assistive technology often have to be the main tool for obtaining an accessible service. AT experts in Europe are looking for more efficient and useful AT service delivery system. There is no chance to have only one common system in the whole Europe. However, transfer of knowledge between countries and good examples together with some international basis for AT database and more deep cooperation in research shall be helpful. Paper describes some ideas and results from authors' experience in Slovak AT service delivery system.
Objective: The purpose of the developed information system on comfort products and assistive technology called SJOBOKS, is that the system easily can be used by end users. Main Content: A growing percentage of the population belong to the elderly people. Because of the phenomenon of aging these elderly experience limitations in functioning. Ingenious solutions, handy and comfortable products and simple assistive technologies are available to support the independent functioning of these people. The gap between the need and the knowledge requires more information and advice about the existing products. In various European countries databases on assistive technologies are available. Mostly these databases are accessibly by the internet. However, this information is often not easily accessible for people who are not familiar with using a computer or the internet. There is a need for an information system that is easily accessible and inspires users to buy products that give them greater independency and autonomy. Therefore SJOBOKS was developed, which is an easy accessible interface containing information on comfort and handy products and simple assistive technologies. It can be operated by a touch screen or by a computer mouse. It contains 300 product descriptions and 80 short films. Method: Data was gathered by using questionnaires and observing people using SJOBOKS. Participants were independent living elderly of 75 y/o and over, people with physical and visual impairments and people with low Social economic status and professionals in the field of assistive technology. Results: According to the majority of the participants the SJOBOKS did provide in the need for information. The information was found interesting and attractive and the interface easy to use. Half of the participants needed encouragement to use the system. SJOBOKS could assist in living independent for a longer period, according to half of the participants. Suggestions for improvement were about the content, to add information such as availability of the products and more detailed information. Most participants found it obvious to have the SJOBOKS free of charge on the market. Conclusion: According to the participants, SJOBOKS gives relevant information on handy, comfort and simple assistive technologies, provided that encouragement in usage is given.
Hybrid Book provides a universal access to the content for users with various disabilities as well as for users without disabilities and it is based on synchronization of various types of components of audio, video and text media.
In the education of specialists in rehab, health, nursing etcetera, e.g. in further education or Masters courses, often students with very different backgrounds from humanities to technologies come together. It becomes very difficult to create a common understanding of the relevance, options and issues of various technological support interventions. The paper presents an approach to consider the diversity of backgrounds as resource. With the concept of personas an individualized level of reflection is introduced in order to make positive use of the different backgrounds of the attendees. The exchange within the study group supports a good overview of different perspectives for all students. The course takes up the concepts of personas, case concepts and ICF as methodological baseline, applies a combination of presence teaching and e-learning and makes use of the heterogeneous backgrounds and interests of the students. The presented methodology has been developed and implemented in the framework of a joint Masters module of two different Masters, one on the ageing society and one on rehabilitation science.
Breathing is a function that humans can voluntarily control, and thus is an effective means of operating devices such as PCs and ECS. Only the switch function, however, is currently used within a single device. First of all, we conducted experiments using a gas flow sensor, with the initial objective of investigating whether a multichannel control signal based on breath could be acquired. The results show that control that differentiates strong and weak exhalations allows more channels than the two “exhale” and “inhale” channels seen in conventional breath switches. Based on these results, we proposes and developed a new input device that utilizes breathing data from sensors, experimentally investigating the possibility of voluntarily controlling the output of a gas flow sensor through breath control. In addition, an experiment was conducted to determine the effect of incorrect responses to breath direction and strength on operability and mouse cursor movement. The result showed almost no difference between the settings. This research has enabled the development of a device that further extends the functionality of conventional input devices for some people with disabilities.
Designing virtual keyboards adapted to the needs of upper limbs motor impairment for text input or application control command requires an integrated tool to design and evaluate it. There are platforms of virtual keyboard design. These platforms enable to design virtual keyboards for text input, environment control command but also application control application like Internet. Several studies have defined models and parameters to measure the performance of text entry. Some adjustments of Fitts' law have been proposed to consider the motor behavior of upper limbs motor impairment. This paper will describe the SOftware KEYboard TOolkit (SOKEYTO v2). It is an upgrade of SOKEYTO v1. Text entry and environment controls are available functionalities of software keyboards designed by (SOKEYTO v2). SOKEYTO is the result of brainstorming sessions, review of related work on tools and test of current environment Clavicom NG, CiviKey. SOKEYTO v2 is a complete tool: it enables to design, generate and evaluate software keyboards. The evaluation process is an integral part of SOKEYTO; then it is possible to measure the impact of the layout on speed rate, for example, at each design step of virtual keyboard SOKEYTO v2 also allows the management of multi-layer of software keyboard; each layer could be customized. In regards to related work, SOKEYTO particularities are: predictive models adapted to motor impairment; possibility of customized keyboard layout and a program generator of software keyboard. Firstly, this paper will describe the method used to define the components of SOKEYTO and the characteristics of SOKEYTO with an emphasis on the SOKEYTO particularities. Then, we will report the predictive evaluation of software keyboards designed by the SOKEYTO platform.
Brain Computer Interface (BCI) technology can provide users lacking voluntary muscle control with an augmentative communication channel, based on the interpretation of his brain activity extracted, for example, from the EEG. In this paper, a low cost BCI development platform is presented; it consists in a customized EEG acquisition unit and a Matlab-based signal processing environment. An application example using SSVEP paradigm is discussed. BCI can be used in AAL applications, providing an alternative interaction scheme.
Brain-Computer Interfaces (BCIs) are a major technological breakthrough. These systems were first developed mostly for clinical purposes and their usage was limited to specific patient populations. Consequently, BCI technology and applications were quite expensive. In recent years this technology has become increasingly low-cost while maintaining suitable performances, making it available to the general population. Consequently, novel applications are sprouting. In this paper we present a simple and low-cost BCI application, which uses two off-the-shelf items: Neurosky Mindband, a novel consumer-electronics BCI, and Lego Mindstorms NXT, a robotic system based on Lego bricks. These two devices were bridged with Matlab. By using brainwave-related “Attention” and “Meditation” values, two-dimensional control of the robotic system was achieved: the Lego robot was able to move forwards and to the left/right, and was positively evaluated by 8 healthy subjects. Due to its low-cost and simple set-up and usage we believe that this application could be used not only for entertainment but also for paving the way for simple control of motorized devices by the elderly and patients with motor impairments.
Since developing assistive technology in multidisciplinary teams can be a challenge, we propose a procedure to bring all actors in the project together using a user centered approach. This procedure starts with writing a use case of the envisioned assistive technology. Next, it continues using a questionnaire to make expectations of all partners explicit. During a multidisciplinary meeting, the survey and the use case together serve as a basis to come to a hypothetical scenario describing current and future practices. The final step is to test the extent to which the assumptions in the hypothetical scenario hold. By interviewing relevant users, the hypothetical scenario will then iteratively evolve to a current practice scenario. The case of the Fallrisk project is used in this paper to illustrate the envisioned procedure and lessons drawn from applying this procedure.
The Swedish Institute of Assistive Technology runs two projects which analyzes how the use of technology in school can support pupils with disability. The projects have been following the pupils and offering them different kinds of support with the aim to prepare them for a future employment or further studies. To be able to identify the pupils and their disabilities, an instrument called the School Setting Interview (SSI) has been used. The SSI is an occupational therapy assessment developed at Linköping University in Sweden. The projects have employed occupational therapists to perform the interviews of the pupils. Occupational therapist is not a common profession in the Swedish schools. In the preparation of the projects it was needed to include this profession with the aim to expand the perspective of the pupils and their needs of support. So far, approximately 400 pupils have been interviewed. A majority of the interviewed pupils have a cognitive disability or dyslexia. More than 50 percent of these pupils had no earlier on documented diagnosis. The results so far indicate that the SSI instrument has made it possible for the pupils to explain their situation for the occupational therapists about their situation in school. The most common assistive technologies which have been distributed to the pupils in the projects are tablet computers and smartphones with different kind of applications, scanner mice, spelling programs and time-aids. It is too early to draw general conclusions from the projects. However we have indications that the pupils perceive that different kind of assistive technology can help them in school. One of the projects, which is financed by the Swedish Government, will end in September and then we will be able to present for instance quantitative and qualitative data from about 400 - 500 students, evaluation of the experience of the occupational therapist's competence in school and a socio-economic analysis.
The percentage of company employment as advance into society in the intellectually/mentally disabled is almost the same as that in the physically disabled, and moreover is getting higher every year. The first objective is to analyze the characteristics of the intellectually/mentally disabled more deeply in order to help the government and companies to understand them and the employment rate to increase.
The second objective is to review the work evaluation method of the intellectually/mentally disabled anew through this evaluation in order to trigger the research on the intellectually/mentally disabled to be activated. The result of the verification performed by this research has showed that the success or failure in a continuous company employment is more significantly related to the factors of “surrounding healthy persons” which are external factors than the factors arising from the disability of a disabled person. According to the result of this study, if they work with healthy persons in the same place, their job performance actually decreases.
This shows that disabled person's own willingness to work and job performance ability is not much influenced by individual disability characteristics, but they are very likely to be significantly influenced by whether the human environment around them in the workplace is good or not.
Adaptable and adaptive user interfaces for both, software and (mobile) web applications are an extensively researched area for mainstream users as well as users with disabilities. The “sticking point” in developing adaptable and adaptive user interfaces for people with cognitive disability is the lack of appropriate, reliable and stable recommendations, guidelines, techniques and tools as well as evaluation methods and techniques , especially for people with cognitive disabilities (e.g. persons with unknown reading capabilities using a web site or service), measuring how well user interaction paradigms and content is understood and used. In this paper, we present initial work carried out in this field within the project CAPKOM that aims at developing a “Wizard” that supports the definition of requirements for people with cognitive disabilities when accessing the web, means to evaluate necessary adaptations to ease reading and understanding, compile individual user profiles out of it and hand them to the browser to adapt websites following the gained profile. Within the presented project CAPKOM, the Wizard works with a specifically designed website (online-atelier.com) but can be adapted and implemented to other use cases to allow profile based adaptations and the definition of support functionalities when accessing mainstream web pages.