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(Notes by Brett. The photos are so amateurish, nobody admits to taking them.)

Rich Goldberg spoke to us about Rehab Engineering, and told us about RESNA (Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America). Rehab Engineering is the application of science and technology to improve the lives of people with disabilities. Mr. Goldberg defined two different kinds of Rehab Engineering:

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGY: devices used to maintain, increase, or improve the functional capabilities of individuals with disabilities. Examples: switches, wheelchairs, hearing aids, cochlear implants, prosthetics, eyeglasses.

OCCUPATIONAL TECHNOLOGY: occupation is “what you do”, OT helps you do it. Helps a child with getting dressed, eating, drawing. Mr. Goldberg spoke briefly of the role of SLP (Speech Language Pathologist) and Physical Therapist with these technologies.

Mr. Goldberg also spoke about the DISABILITY RIGHTS MOVEMENT (see photo, above left) which started at Berkeley in the 1960’s and grew during the 1970’s. Before (and during) that time, individuals with disabilities were institutionalized or hidden in parents’ homes. Today, the U.S. leads the world in making the physical environment accessible (doors, buildings). Important legislation (see photo, above right) has been IDEA, ADA, EHA.

Advancements: including kids with disabilities in regular classrooms. Legislation requires OT, SLP, and PT in schools. In 1988 (Tech Act), and particularly in 1990 (ADA), legislation has been passed to direct federal funds to develop Assistive Technology. Recently, rights for the disabled have been narrowed by the US Supreme Court.

RESEARCH AREAS: – Augmentative Communication: helps those with MS, ALS, Cerebral Palsy

- Dynavox: like a tablet PC: $5,000—$10,000 (also uses predictive text input)

- No/Yes Tablets: $15—$20 (even though parts cost less than $2)

- Computer Access

- “head mouse” – $100—$200 – works by reflection of light – demands very good head control, few people can use it, perhaps those with spinal cord injuries, also need good cognitive abilities

- eye tracker

- ergonomics: for those with/ at risk for arthritis

- prosthetics and orthotics

- RECREATION – modified tricycles, canoe (see photo, above left)

- transportation – van/bus access. Adaptation of car ~ $10,000

- seating and wheeled mobility

- Dean Kamen: stair-climbing wheelchair, raises chair to reach shelves

Gary Bishop notes that it also allows those in a wheel chair to raise themselves high enough to look at others face-to-face, on the same level—> equality

- Christopher Reeves died of infections from pressure sores—> develop more comfortable chairs

- Sensory aids (hearing, vision): cochlear, hearing aids, magnifiers (glass, can scan/zoom, adjust contrast)

UNIVERSAL DESIGN: products made to be used by all (with/without disabilities, left/right handed), doors, curb cuts. The design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.


- Safety is crucial: anticipate all ways someone would misuse device. Mr. Goldberg spoke about some of the Senior Design projects in BME and Applied Science.

- Pop-Beads: game that promotes motor-control, hand-eye coordination, arm strength. Made the beads play a sound, light up and vibrate upon connection to make them more fun.

- communicative devices: switch built into a denim vest (see photo, above left)

- use commercial products, adapt them for use. Pager was cut open for vibrating device.

- worked with an adult with autism who was 3 feet tall, made a chair (see photo, above center) that alowed use of 30” high standard desk. Autism made it challenging to try differnt things that took her out of her routine, even hostile. Solution: simple, safe, inconspicuous, completely mechanical, no motors, no battery (safe).

- orientation device – ultrasound cane senses objects, same idea for device on on head, but cognitively difficult to understand beeping. Solution: 5 raised buttons <==> 5 beacons: “This is your desk” (see photo, above right)