The future of the provision process for mobility assistive technology: a survey of providers.
PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to evaluate the opinions of providers of mobility assistive technologies to help inform a research agenda and set priorities. MATERIALS AND METHODS: This survey study was anonymous and gathered opinions of individuals who participate in the process to provide wheelchairs and other assistive technologies to clients. Participants were asked to rank the importance of developing various technologies and rank items against each other in terms of order of importance. Participants were also asked to respond to several open-ended questions or statements. RESULTS: A total of 161 providers from 35 states within the USA consented to participation and completed the survey. CONCLUSIONS: This survey revealed themes of advanced wheelchair design, assistive robotics and intelligent systems, human machine interfaces and smart device applications. It also outlined priorities for researchers to provide continuing education to clients and providers. These themes will be used to develop research and development priorities. Implications for Rehabilitation • Research in advanced wheelchair design is needed to facilitate travel and environmental access with wheelchairs and to develop alternative power sources for wheelchairs.• New assistive robotics and intelligent systems are needed to help wheelchairs overcome obstacles or self-adjust, assist wheelchair navigation in the community, assist caregivers and transfers, and aid ambulation.• Innovations in human machine interfaces may help advance the control of mobility devices and robots with the brain, eye movements, facial gesture recognition or other systems.• Development of new smart devices is needed for better control of the environment, monitoring activity and promoting healthy behaviours.
Dicianno, BE; Joseph, J; Eckstein, S; Zigler, CK; Quinby, EJ; Schmeler, MR; Schein, RM; Pearlman, J; Cooper, RA
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