Wearables, “smart” home, and other next-generation wirelessly connected devices for work, home, and leisure continue to increase in popularity. As augmentative tools for work and living enhancement, and social participation, these technologies should be not only usable, but also be accessible and inclusive for people with disabilities. Researchers at the Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center for Wireless Inclusive Technologies (Wireless RERC) have conducted a review of representative applications and examples of currently available wearable and connected technologies. Drawing on the findings, we explore the potential impact of inclusive design principles on future device development for users with disabilities – a critical approach for ensuring that these technologies truly meet the needs of this target population. People with disabilities are beginning to be an integral part of the development of technologies and applications to:
- enhance accessibility
- increase independence and community participation
- support a more inclusive society, a trend which we feel will increasingly become the norm in the future.
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