Assistive Technology

Assistive Technology

Ben Tran
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-5888-2.ch399
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The field of AT and rehabilitation engineering has its roots in the years following World War II. From the beginning, it was a needs-driven specialty area. The polio epidemic of the 1950s, birth defects resulting from the use of thalidomide by pregnant women in the 1960s, and injuries incurred by those who served in the Vietnam War all resulted in new forms of disability, each presented with unique challenges for accommodation. The United States Department of Health, Education, and Welfare and the Veterans Administration responded to these societal needs by forming a number of Rehabilitation Engineering Centers (RECs) around the country throughout the 1970s. The RECs typically had unique areas of specialization, which range from wheeled mobility and seating, to prosthetics and orthotics, to environmental control. A separate group of engineers and clinicians, whose focuses was on augmentative communication and computer access, also began meeting in the mid-1970s at the self-organized Systems and Devices Conferences (Hobson, 1996).

Key Terms in this Chapter

American with Disabilities Act (ADA): The most comprehensive civil rights legislation adopted to prohibit discrimination against people with disabilities.

Reasonable Accommodation: Requires employers to provide reasonable accommodation for qualified individuals with disabilities who are employees or applicants for employment.

Assistive Technology: Any device or tool that helps an individual of disabled to do the activities they have always done but must now do differently.

Google Car: Lettering on the side of each car identifies it as a “self-driving car.”

Disability: most physical and mental conditions that affects ability or are perceived by others as affecting ability.

SMART Classroom: Designed for computer-enabled classrooms. SMART ClassroomTM Suite interactive learning software provides teachers with the essential tools to manage classrooms, assess students, and encourage collaboration.

LiveScribe SmartPen: A new low-cost mobile computing platform that enhances productivity, learning, communication and self-expression for anyone that uses pen and paper.

Sebastian Thrun: One of Google engineers, the director of the Stanford Artificial Intelligence Laboratory, and co-inventor of Google Street View.

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