Exploring the Acceptance, Barriers, and Needs of Assistive Technology for Wheeled Device Users.
TimeThursday, April 152:20pm - 2:21pm EDT
DescriptionBackground: The rapid expansion of technological innovation has resulted in an increased market of assistive technologies. Designing assistive technology for adults who use wheeled devices requires an understanding of their current device use, motivation and barriers to adoption, and desired functions and features of future devices. As such, the target audience of the current presentation is those within the research and development of assistive technology. Purpose: To our knowledge, this is one of the first investigations that seek to gain insight into the perspectives of assistive technology for individuals who use wheeled devices. Methods: Ten full-time wheeled device users shared their insights on assistive technology through the completion of a remote semi-structured interview. Interviews were recorded and transcribed verbatim. Content analysis was completed by identifying codes within transcriptions to create themes. A second author reviewed the codes and synthesis of main themes to ensure accuracy of reporting. Results: Participants ranged in age from 29 to 74 years with a mean (SD) of 58 (17). Two participants used manual wheelchairs, six used power chairs, and two used power scooters. The length of time using the device ranged from 5 to 65 years with a mean of 24 (22). The most widely adapted assistive technology included their wheeled device, accessible vans, lifts, transfer boards, apple watches (for falls detection), reacher/grabber, and google home. The interviews yielded three main themes: device acceptance, barriers to adoption, and desired functions. Conclusion: Overall, participants had a positive attitude towards assistive technology, and were likely to adopt products that improved independence and safety. Barriers to adoption included the price of the product and if the design was obtrusive. Participants desire products with personalized capabilities or those that offer reactive functions to safety hazards. Understanding these insights is key to the advancement of more refined assistive technologies that are rooted in user needs.