Multidisciplinary design of suitable assistive technologies for motor disabilities in Colombia

raumatic or pathological brain lesions often result in motor disabilities that have strong personal and social effects. Assistive technologies can support this population, potentially improving their autonomy and promoting their participation in society. However, most existing research does not explicitly consider socio-cultural aspects, which differ between developing and developed countries. In this paper, we describe a multidisciplinary research line on technology-based assistive solutions for motor disabilities involving institutions in Colombia and Switzerland. The key aspect of our approach is the involvement of engineers, therapists, designers and end-users from early stages of the design process. This allowed us to characterize the local population with motor disabilities, highlighting a large incidence of violence- related injuries, reduced accessibility to assistive technologies and a perception of social exclusion. In the quest for context- suited solutions, we have developed a mechanical wheelchair and a sensorized facility for motor rehabilitation. The prototypes of these devices will be tested in the upcoming months. Importantly, we established a training program that uniquely covers both clinical and technical aspects of motor rehabilitation; providing experts from different domains with a common knowledge that facilitates the multidisciplinary work, enabling us to initiate experiments on clinical research; thus strengthening the links between academic, clinical and rehabilitation institutions.

Presented at:
2014 IEEE Global HumanItarian Technology Conference, San José, USA, October 10-13, 2014

 Record created 2014-07-04, last modified 2018-03-18

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