New Device Helps Physically Disabled Turn On Computer
While several helpful technologies have been created for individuals with physical disabilities, such as special switches and controls that activate hardware and software, one problem remains: turning the computer on and off.
More than 14 million Americans under age 64 have a physical disability, according to the 2005 American Community Survey by the U.S. Census Bureau. A large percentage of these persons have little or no use of their hands to manipulate a computer or access the Internet. But until recently there was no aid for turning the computer on to enable a person to use the computer in the first place.
“For months, we looked for a device for someone who lacks fine motor skills, but couldn’t find anything,” says Dr. Joseph Drew,
Drew, his graduate assistant Ron Franklin, who has quadriplegia, and Kenneth McElravy, a manufacturing lab technician at Kent State Trumbull, found a solution. They added a jack to the back interior wall of the central processing unit and paralleled it to the on/off circuit of the motherboard. Any existing technologies, such as sensitive or sip/puff switches, can be plugged into the added jack, allowing users with physical disabilities to turn on the computer by themselves.
“The idea is to make those with disabilities as independent as possible,” says Drew, who also has designed a unique online Master of Public Administration degree program, the only one in the nation to meet and exceed the standards of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Learn more about assistive technology and Drew’s work to improve the accessibility of technology in “Hope is Just a Click Away” from Kent State Magazine. Drew can be reached at 330-672-3239 or email@example.com.