Computing and the Disabled
mike noble, luis maciel, jason katsampes

assistive technology 
input devices
output devices
barriers to access 
what can you do 
about our group 
assistive technology is a generic term which encompasses assistive, adaptive, and rehabilitative devices and the process used in selecting, locating and using them. These technologies include mechanical, electronic, and microprocessor based equipment, such as personal computers or other sophisticated devices, as well as specialized instructional materials, services, and strategies. The benefits of computers are many and varied, and with the help of these technologies, the members of the disabled community are able to enjoy these benefits. The offerings available are quite diverse. This site will examine two important subsets of assistive technology, input devices, and output devices.
alternate input devices For persons with mobility impairments and sufferers of chronic pain conditions, the main barrier to computer interaction is data entry. By far the most common input devices in use with computers are the keyboard and mouse. These may be impractical for disabled users, who, depending on their individual disability, may experience any of several difficulties, such as frequent typing mistakes, multiple keystrokes, inability to accurately and repeatedly control the device, not enough strength to operate the device, or the inability to access the device partially or entirely. Devices to overcome difficulties include alternative keyboards, rate enhancements applications, and voice recognition tools.
alternate output devices are intended primarily to assist individuals who are blind or otherwise visually impaired. The most effective human-computer output interface today is the monitor. Almost all output is communicated via the monitor and the quality and quantity of the information is enormous. The monitor has improved over the years from text-based monochrome screens to high resolution color displays, and graphical user interfaces utilize the color and graphical capabilities to perform comlex tasks in a user-friendly way. However, for the visually impaired user, this interface is not effective and impossible to use. Increasing the size of the monitor may help, but other technologies must be employed as well. These solutions include magnification software, screen reading programs, and braille translation devices.

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