A Review of Emerging Access Technologies for Individuals With Severe Motor ImpairmentsBy Tai, Kelly; Blain, Stefanie; Chau, Tom; Assistive Technology Outcomes and Benefits, Vol. 20, No. 4, pp. 204-219
Publication Date: Winter 2008
Article systematically appraised the literature on access technologies for individuals with severe motor disabilities spanning the 10-year interval from 1996 to 2006. Included in the study were 52 articles appearing in peer-reviewed journals that (a) reported on the development of a novel access technology in the communication, computer access, or environmental control domains; (b) incorporated real-time testing with online feedback; and (c) performed clinical testing involving individuals with severe motor disabilities. Emerging technologies described included (1) alternatives to conventional mechanical switches such as infrared (IR) sensing, electromyography, oculography, and computer vision, the latter being a system which tracks the location of a user landmark such as a pupil via a camera and translates position changes into cursor movements; (2) technologies for persons with locked-in syndrome, such as electroencephalography (EEG), electrocorticography (ECoG), also called brain-computer interfaces (BCIs); intracortical recordings, a BCI technology which harnesses direct neural recordings by way of electrodes implanted in the cortex; and technology based on electrodermal activity (EDA), which detects changes in skin conductivity mediated by the autonomic nervous system. Research evidence within the 10-year period was generally found to be at the case-study or uncontrolled-study level, with very modest sample sizes. Novel mechanical switches and EEG-based access systems were found to dominate the literature, whereas other movement-based access modalities showed promising early findings. More studies were found to be needed to ascertain the potential of IR-sensing and EDA based technologies.
Published by: Special Education Assistive Technology Center, Illinois State University (Website:http://www.seat.ilstu.org/)
Assistive Technology Industry Association (Web Site: http://www.atia.org. )