The Future of Universal Access? Merging Computing, Design and Engineering
Technology is advancing at a fast pace while the shape and nature of computers continues to evolve, with tablets and smartphones illustrating the move away from the traditional notion of a laptop or desktop computer. Similarly, networking and sensing technologies are also developing rapidly and innovatively. All of these technologies have the potential to enfranchise users with severe functional impairments to be better able to control and interact with other people and their surroundings. However, this is only possible if those designing the novel systems based upon these new technologies consider such users’ needs explicitly. This paper examines how these technological advances can be employed to support these users in the near future. The paper further discusses issues such as the need for security as systems evolve from control of specific environments to a potential model for interaction in any location.
KeywordsUniversal access mechatronics accessibility environmental control systems alternative and augmentative communication (AAC) tablets
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