Tutorial Eight: Assistive technology
Provide a definition of Assistive technology (your Cook and Hussey reading may be helpful with this).
Definition from the reading: assistive technology refers to “a broad range of devices, services, strategies and practices that are conceived and applied to ameliorate the problems faced by individuals who have disabilities.”
Dave the occupational therapist and guest speaker defines assistive devices/ technology as being “anything that helps you achieve” in the context of working with people with a disability.
Describe one piece of equipment introduced in the assistive technology tutorial. Provide information on size, cost and functions.
A blink switch from Spectronics.
“Fibre optic blink switch with power control module” (PCM-2), head strap included.
Sensing range: 0.6cm (1/4")
Costs just $1,068.00 + $133.50 GST.
But includes free shipping anywhere in Australia or New Zealand.
The switch is very small in size and attaches to a pair of glasses to sit in front of an eye. Even though it is very small it is quite noticeable, looking like something out of a James Bond/ other action film.
This switch works best when eye-blinking is the only movement the user is able to perform. The sensor is capable of discriminating between random eye-blinks and purposeful controlled eye-blinks. A head strap is included and the device can also be used with other body parts in fibre-optic mode.
The switch is sensitive to the action of blinking; this sensitivity can be adjusted to only respond to purposeful blinks. The switch is connected to a sensitivity control and then to the appliance or ‘thing’ that is wanting to be controlled by the switch.
Any electrical appliance can be plugged in allowing the person to take control and participate in their environment.http://www.spectronics.co.nz/product.asp?product=16165
How does your chosen piece of equipment increased functional capacity for the user? Provide examples here from the tutorial and lecture.
If blinking is the only “repeatable, reliable movement that does not cause fatigue” for the person with the disability then this action can be utilised by the switch to allow the person to communicate via a communication device and/ or participate in the environment around them. Such as participating in meaningful activity like in the case of some of Dave’s students who wanted to do digital photography and DJ etc.