The purpose of this study was to develop a system that will provide communication assistance to persons with deaf-blindness and physical limitation, so that they will be able to communicate with others without the help of an interpreter.
With this communication system, a person with deaf-blindness and physical limitation uses a control switch to perform input operations based on the duration of the operating time and combination of long and short pulses. When the input is correctly performed, the user receives a feedback from the tablet computer as vibratory stimuli. Similarly, the message that other person's input with a Bluetooth keyboard is transmitted to the user as vibration stimuli. Following the development, we conducted a one-year assessment of the developed communication system in an actual environment with the cooperation of one person with deaf-blindness and physical limitation. .
We confirmed that our developed system was useful for such a person, and understood that we must improve upon several aspects. We shall pursue further study, and will aim at providing a better communication environment for persons with deaf-blindness and physical limitation in future.
The aim of this project is to analyze how two families (one is living with a senior with physical disabilities and the other is living with seniors) feel about using the human-type communication robot “Palro” and what they demand for the improvement through their 3 weeks usage. All of them liked Palro and its programs, but needed some new programs. They pointed out that Palro sometimes had problems in the facial or voice recognition systems. Palro is useful in the area of self-care and social isolation.
In this research, we pay attention to the electric wheelchair driving support. We look at the functional safety of the electric wheelchair. Based on intrinsically-safe electric wheelchair, we add driving support system to increase functional safety. The driving support system processes the environmental information sensor data including the 3D laser Range scanner and biological monitoring sensor data including electrooculogram, and assists avoidance of dangerous objects. We have developed safety concept that based on assessment of risk.
Social participation of People with Disability in Republic of Korea has been grown last few years. Also demand of Assistive Technology has been increased as well. Responding these needs, the public benefits of Assistive Technology Device in Republic of Korea in 2014 was USD 1.7 billion which had been increased by 27 percent during the last five years. Despite an increase in the budget, effort to build Assistive Technology Service Delivery System (ATSDS) was not enough. Therefore, Ministry of Health and Welfare in Korea decided to build ATSDS in Republic of Korea in 2009. In this paper, the process of establishing ATSDS and 2014 outcomes of ATSDS are presented in details. For more than six years efforts of establishing national-wide ATSDS, nine Assistive Technology Centers were actively running in their delivery of service in 2014. As of 2014 outcomes of ATSDS, 14,056 cases were delivered through nine Assistive Technology Centers. The presence of ATSDS proved increase in accessibility for Assistive Technology for People with Disability followed by improvement of the quality of life of them.
Diego D. Gonçalves, Ana E. Franchini, Adrieli Sardella, Gabriel H.C. Bonfim, Fausto O. Medola, Luis C. Paschoarelli
996 - 1002
Long term wheelchair usage has been related to a number of problems, among which pressure ulcers are one of most concern. The design of wheelchair seat cushions has been of increasing interest among researchers, as it can influence seat interface pressure and user's comfort. The aim of this study was to investigate the subjects' perception comfort, stability and body posture of six different commercially available wheelchair cushions. The evaluation was through a questionnaire, where the subjects rate their perceptions on a ten point visual analog scale after staying seated in the cushion for two minutes. The results shows that the RohoTM aircell cushion was preferred by the users, while the least preferred one was the water cushion. Individuals' subjective perceptions may compliment objective data on seat interface pressure, thus contributing to a more complete view of the users' experience during wheelchair cushion usage.
Anthony R.J. Nicholl, Renato G. Busnardo, Luciana M. da Silva, Ana Cláudia T. Rodrigues, Fernanda R.C. Luz, Claudia C.G. Bentim, Fausto O. Medola, Luis C. Paschoarelli
1003 - 1008
This study aimed to report on the design and development of a low cost Reverse Walker through a participative development cycle with people undergoing rehabilitation. The creation and fundamentals of the concept are described, as well as the development of prototypes and their provision to subjects with mobility problems. The Reverse Walker benefits the user by promoting a more upright posture and favoring the development of postural balance. Enhancing the mobility of people with disabilities may benefit their independence, social participation and quality of life.
Trial experiments utilized robotic pets to facilitate self-reliance in nursing home residents. A remote-control robot modeled clear and meaningful behaviors to elderly residents. Special attention was paid to its effects on mental and social domains. Employing the robot as a gaze target and center of attention created a cue to initiate a communication channel between residents who normally show no interest in each other. The Sony AIBO robot in this study uses commercially available wireless equipment, and all its components are easily accessible to any medical or welfare institution interested in additional practice of these activities.
People suffering from neuromuscular disorders are one of the main target groups of speech-controlled Ambient Assisted Living systems. However, the speech of these patients is often distorted because of the dysarthric symptoms of the disease. The dysarthria is known to become worse as the disease progresses. We propose a framework for an adaptive speech recognition system that may be able to follow the slow deterioration of speech quality without risking the accuracy of the system from incorrect data.
Cecilia Pettersson, Susanne Iwarsson, Eva Månsson Lexell
1017 - 1023
Objective: To describe powered wheelchair (PW) and powered scooter (PS) users' experiences of accessibility and housing adaptions in their homes.
Method: A qualitative research approach with focus group methodology was used. Four focus groups were created, with men and women as well as PW and PS users in different groups. Applying a descriptive approach, data were analysed according to the principles described by Krueger and Casey.
Findings: With a specific focus on how PW and PS and housing adaptations operate together, the findings of this paper formed two categories: “Possibility of receiving housing adaptations according to individual needs” and “Importance of receiving the correct type of PW and PS in relation to individual needs”.
Conclusion: It is vital to acknowledge the characteristics and requirements of PW and PS as well as housing adaptations in order to optimize the use of such devices in the home, as a prerequisite for independence, activity and participation. The provision of PW and PS and housing adaptations should be considered and planned simultaneously, applying an explicitly user-centred perspective. Additionally, the collaboration between the different actors involved should be improved.
Vitor Simões Ribeiro, Ana Isabel Martins, Alexandra Queirós, Anabela G. Silva, Nelson Pacheco Rocha
1024 - 1029
This paper presents the evaluation of the AAL@MEO, an application to aggregate technological solutions supporting home care. This application is intended to be integrated in the MEO service, which is a Portuguese commercial service of Internet Protocol TV. The use of a TV set at home as the central interaction and communication system is advantageous for elderly users that do not have a close relationship with technological advances but are used to control their TV set. The results of the evaluation of the AAL@MEO show that elderly users are willing for new services and have a milder rejection towards the interaction with the TV set. However, the interaction mechanisms based on a remote control with multiple functions need further developments.
The evolution of mobile technology is moving at a very fast pace. Smartphones are currently considered a primary communication platform where people exchange voice calls, text messages and emails. The human-smartphone interaction, however, is generally optimized for sighted people through the use of visual cues on the touchscreen, e.g., typing text by tapping on a visual keyboard. Unfortunately, this interaction scheme renders smartphone technology largely inaccessible to visually impaired people as it results in slow typing and higher error rates. Apple and some third party applications provide solutions specific to blind people which enables them to use Braille on smartphones. These applications usually require both hands for typing. However, Brailling with both hands while holding the phone is not very comfortable. Furthermore, two-handed Brailling is not possible on smartwatches, which will be used more pervasively in the future. Therefore, we develop a platform for one-handed Brailing consisting of a custom keyboard called BrailleEasy to input Arabic or English Braille codes within any application, and a BrailleTutor application for practicing. Our platform currently supports Braille grade 1, and will be extended to support contractions, spelling correction, and more languages. Preliminary analysis of user studies for blind participants showed that after less than two hours of practice, participants were able to type significantly faster with the BrailleEasy keyboard than with the standard QWERTY keyboard.
Taking care for dementia persons with BPSD is burdening on caregivers. To reduce caregivers' burdens and improve dementia persons' quality of life, monitoring and communication intervention system has been proposed. A part of the system, wandering and falling down detection system has been developed. It is designed based on the requirement of the caregivers working in the care facility. Functional test was carried out and had positive impressions from the caregivers.
Remy D. van der Vlies, Joram Nauta, Charlotte Smit-Rietveld
1040 - 1046
About 90% of persons aged 55 and older would prefer to stay in their current residences as long as possible because older adults value their independence. However, aging-in-place is not always a choice. Recently, the Dutch government tightened the criteria for older adults to be admitted in a nursing home. Throughout the past 5 years TNO was requested by the trade association for building service contractors in the Netherlands to develop a number of tools for building service professionals. The ‘dwelling check’ was developed as a ‘basic’ check on the possibility for aging-in-place. A pilot study was conducted to assess the added value of the dwelling check for older adults. During this pilot study the occupants of over 200 dwellings were interviewed by 11 building services contractors using the dwelling check. Based on these interviews a personal advice was written. After which the interviewees were asked to evaluate this service, comprising the interview and written advice. The dwelling check contributed most to the awareness of and interest in possible alterations for aging-in-place. In a few cases the decision (17%) or even action (5%) was taken to make alterations. Overall the dwelling check was rated 8 out of 10 by the interviewees and may therefore be considered of added value.
Assistive technology services are essential for adapting assistive devices to the individual needs of users with disabilities. In this study, we attempted to apply three-dimensional (3D) printing technology to three actual cases, and to study its use, effectiveness, and future applications. We assessed the usefulness of 3D printing technology by categorizing its utilization after reviewing the outcomes of these case studies. In future work, we aim to gather additional case studies and derive information on using 3D printing technology that will enable its effective application in the process of assistive technology services.
Charles G. Willems, Anne-mie Sponselee, Margreet Michel Verkerke, Andrew Sirkka, Lea Saarni, Miguel Castello Branco, Luc de Witte
1053 - 1059
Objective: Application of technology in care is hindered by two factors; a critical attitude of care professionals towards the use of technology as part of care delivery and a lack of knowledge of care practice by technology developers. Technological developments may provide adequate solutions to support care provision. The principles of user centred design and development, traditionally used in the development of assistive technology, may provide powerful tools to support care provision. Interdisciplinary research will be needed to take full benefit. Educational programs to support this development are lacking.
Main content of this paper: Six organisations of higher education have taken the initiative to organize a training program to support professionals active in the care or in the technology domain that enables them to become involved in interdisciplinary research and development.
Results: a European program to educate a professional master in Care and Technology has been developed and is described in this paper. Accreditation of the program is initiated.
Conclusion: Alumni of such a program may form a European network of professionals that are active in developing new solutions to support people with special needs and contribute to the generation of new business.
New features in our math-OCR software to convert PDF math contents into accessible e-books are shown. A method for recognizing PDF is thoroughly improved. In addition, contents in any selected area including math formulas in a PDF file can be cut and pasted into a document in various accessible formats, which is automatically recognized and converted into texts and accessible math formulas through this process. Combining it with our authoring tool for a technical document, one can easily produce accessible e-books in various formats such as DAISY, accessible EPUB3, DAISY-like HTML5, Microsoft Word with math objects and so on. Those contents are useful for various print-disabled students ranging from the blind to the dyslexic.