Empowering individuals with do-it-yourself assistive technology

Amy Hurst, Jasmine Tobias

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

Assistive Technologies empower individuals to accomplish tasks they might not be able to do otherwise. Unfortunately, a large percentage of Assistive Technology devices that are purchased (35% or more) end up unused or abandoned [7,10], leaving many people with Assistive Technology that is inappropriate for their needs. Low acceptance rates of Assistive Technology occur for many reasons, but common factors include 1) lack of considering user opinion in selection, 2) ease in obtaining devices, 3) poor device performance, and 4) changes in user needs and priorities [7]. We are working to help more people gain access to the Assistive Technology they need by empowering non-engineers to "Do-It-Yourself" (DIY) and create, modify, or build. This paper illustrates that it is possible to custom-build Assistive Technology, and argues why empowering users to make their own Assistive Technology can improve the adoption process (and subsequently adoption rates). We discuss DIY experiences and impressions from individuals who have either built Assistive Technology before, or rely on it. We found that increased control over design elements, passion, and cost motivated individuals to make their own Assistive Technology instead of buying it. We discuss how a new generation of rapid prototyping tools and online communities can empower more individuals. We synthesize our findings into design recommendations to help promote future DIY-AT success.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationASSETS'11
Subtitle of host publicationProceedings of the 13th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility
Pages11-18
Number of pages8
DOIs
StatePublished - 2011
Event13th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, ASSETS'11 - Dundee, United Kingdom
Duration: Oct 24 2011Oct 26 2011

Publication series

NameASSETS'11: Proceedings of the 13th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility

Conference

Conference13th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, ASSETS'11
CountryUnited Kingdom
CityDundee
Period10/24/1110/26/11

Keywords

  • assistive technology
  • do-it-yourself
  • empowerment
  • human-centered computing
  • online communities
  • personal-scale manufacturing
  • rapid prototyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Graphics and Computer-Aided Design
  • Computer Networks and Communications
  • Hardware and Architecture

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Empowering individuals with do-it-yourself assistive technology'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • Cite this

    Hurst, A., & Tobias, J. (2011). Empowering individuals with do-it-yourself assistive technology. In ASSETS'11: Proceedings of the 13th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility (pp. 11-18). (ASSETS'11: Proceedings of the 13th International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility). https://doi.org/10.1145/2049536.2049541