Disrupting the world of Disability: The Next Generation of Assistive Technologies and Rehabilitation Practices.

in Healthc Technol Lett, Journal article


Designing, developing and deploying assistive technologies at a scale and cost which makes them accessible to people is challenging. Traditional models of manufacturing would appear to be insufficient at helping the world's 1 billion disabled people in accessing the technologies they require. In addition, many who receive assistive technologies simply abandon them as they do not meet their needs. In this study the authors explore the changing world of design for disability. A landscape which includes the rise of the maker movement, the role of ubiquitous sensing and the changing role of the 'user' to one of designer and maker. The authors argue they are on the cusp of a revolution in healthcare provision, where the population will soon have the ability to manage their own care with systems in place for diagnosis, monitoring, individualised prescription and action/reaction. This will change the role of the clinician from that of diagnostician, gatekeeper and resource manager/deliverer to that of consultant informatics manager and overseer; perhaps only intervening to promote healthy behaviour, prevent crisis and react at flash moments.