Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited
Article Type: Editorial From: Journal of Assistive Technologies, Volume 5, Issue 3
In addition to our peer-reviewed papers we include, in this issue of the Journal of Assistive Technologies (JAT), several short reports of ongoing or recently completed projects. It is part of JAT’s brief to bring these activities to the attention of our readership, and we welcome further submissions of this kind.
We begin, as usual, with peer-reviewed papers. With inter-disciplinary working at the heart of JAT’s credo, it is good to see this as a key aspect of the ENDEA case study from Ireland. The project team, representing universities in England, Ireland, the USA and Finland and working with industry partner Intel, describe the development of their research into assistive technology use by older people. The work they completed was part of the programme of the Technology for Independent Living Centre, an Irish national research programme. Cathy Bailey, Julie Doyle, Susan Squires, Cliodhna ni Scanaill, Chie Wei Fan, Cormac Sheehan, Clodagh Cunningham and Ben Dromey describe how team-building was a key aspect of their activities and they offer their findings to guide others approaching similar ways of working.
Our second peer-reviewed paper comes from a very different discipline: that of engineering design. In this case, the user focus is on motor-impaired service users who may be experiencing difficulty in using pointing devices. Pradipta Biswas and Pat Langdon from the University of Cambridge describe their use of a gravity well, an algorithm by which a pointer is attracted to a nearby target and thus random movement can be minimised. After testing the system using a simulator, the team then moved to a user study with two key groups of testers and three different pointing devices. They found that the adaptation algorithm reduced pointing time in all the settings tested.
These two papers were reviewed by members of our Editorial Board and the wider assistive technologies community as usual, and we offer them our thanks for their continuing assistance in this way. Most papers submitted to JAT have benefitted from the detailed and helpful guidance by our reviewers so that authors can present their work in the most effective and convincing form.
Our first project report in this issue comes from Pip Cornelius, Nick Higgett and Rehan Kaleem from De Montfort University, Leicester. They describe how they developed a 3D multimedia animation resource for use within speech and language therapy. This is not the first time we have published papers about the use of animation, and the easy accessibility of high quality animation authoring is likely to lead to much more work of this kind. Katerina Mavrou’s project at the European University in Cyprus was quite different, however, in that she set out to work with her current postgraduate students to explore what it means to study aspects of assistive technology use at Master’s level. Her initial findings, shared in this paper are helpful food for thought for those of our readers who are involved in offering similar teaching programmes.
JAT Associate Editor Kevin Doughty contributes two short articles to this issue. Writing with Dave Miles from Nottingham City Council, he first considers the way in assisted living provider services have developed in recent years. His second paper, co-authored with Gareth Williams and Peter King from T-Cubed, looks in some detail at the use of GPS technologies to support vulnerable people who may be at risk of becoming lost.
Two projects that have now ended are described in the next short reports, together with the outcomes that are now available. Jacqueline Damant, Martin Knapp, Maggie Ellis, Sarah Watters and Ariane Buescher at the London School of Economics have now completed the Mainstreaming on Ambient Intelligence Project, which was funded under Framework 6 of the European Commission’s e-Inclusion programme. Using a Design for All approach, the project team worked in centres in six European countries, followed by more extensive work in Slovakia, Sweden and Spain. Researching assistive technologies, by comparison was a small-scale activity led by myself at King’s College London and Jannet Wright at De Montfort University, Leicester. The project, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, involved four research seminars. Key issues from these seminars are explained in this short report, and information is provided about the literature review and research guide that are now freely available.
Finally, Reviews Editor Ann Aspinall looks at askTARA.org.uk, a web site about products and services to support independence. Please remember that JAT aims to reviews books and online resources that support the use of assistive technologies; please alert Ann to resources that we should be featuring. Our last issue for 2012, Vol. 5 No. 4, is to be guest-edited by Jannet Wright and Michael Clarke and will focus on language, communication and the year of Hello.