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Thursday, May 20, 2010

Cognitive Disability and Impact of Wireless Innovation

While mobile devices have long been used to help guide those with cognitive disabilities, the Wireless Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center is now testing innovations like the PocketCoach, which instructs those with intellectual disabilities in how to perform assembly line jobs. This technology reflects a strong step toward potentially increasing the employment rate of people living with a cognitive disability.

More than 20 million American citizens have cognitive disabilities, which include mental and developmental disabilities, acquired brain injury, Alzheimer’s disease and severe and persistent mental illness. As our nation ages and medical advances extend Americans’ longevity, these numbers are expected to rise – a fact that underscores the importance of mobile innovation in this area.

In addition to memory difficulties, common challenges associated with cognitive disabilities include conceptualizing, planning and sequencing thoughts and actions. Fortunately, today’s mobile technologies can help address these issues and give those with cognitive disabilities greater independence and self-sufficiency. For example, mobile devices are ideal for setting up regular reminders for people who need extra assistance completing daily tasks. Many mobile devices now come equipped with this capability and some PDAs and smartphones can be enhanced with special software that includes spoken and picture cues. Additionally, universal design has sparked the development of more versatile features that are helpful to those with cognitive disabilities, such as key shortcuts, voice prompts, lighted keys and more, that assist users in controlling their device.

Navigating the outside world can also be challenging for those with cognitive disabilities. For example, the public transportation system can be a disconcerting maze if help is not readily available. However, thanks to GPS, the recently developed Travel Assistance Device helps guide riders with cognitive disabilities safely to their destinations. The GPS, located inside the mobile device, lets the user know when they are approaching their destination by vibrating and sending a prerecorded message. As a result, people with cognitive disabilities can go about their daily lives with greater independence and less stress.

Read Full Report - Mobile Ability:The Transformational Impact of Wireless Innovation for People with Disabilities :http://mobfut.3cdn.net/07bf12aba705fafb8f_fym6bat6i.pdf

Source: http://www.mobilefuture.org/content/pages/mobile_ability

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