The State of the Science Conference establishes a national forum for dialogue among researchers, clinicians, consumers, manufacturers and public policy officials to share knowledge about the current state and future directions of wheelchair technologies and related mobility interventions that will contribute to the research and public health agenda for work in this area. The conference will focus on best practices and innovations in rehabilitation engineering and technology related to promoting participation of wheelchair users. Specific aims are to: 1) establish an organizing committee of stakeholders to develop the program and prepare evidentiary information; 2) convene the mobility RERC State of the Science (SOS) Conference at Medtrade 2011 to present key findings, develop a research agenda and action plan, and evaluate findings and generate recommendations with stakeholders; 3) prepare dissemination materials including conference proceedings as a special issue of Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology; and 4) conduct targeted outreach by presenting conference recommendations to key stakeholders.
Rehabilitation Engineering: APPH/ME 6746
Rehabilitation engineering is the systematic application of engineering sciences to increase the function and independence of persons with disabilities. Students will engage in in research and development as it is practiced in the assistive technology industry. Assistive technology design and development encompasses many factors not present in mainstream research and development. Rehabilitation Engineering approaches and techniques are required to fully embrace stakeholder input and reflect reimbursement policies in order to develop feasible and viable technical specifications. This class will include lectures and mentoring from experienced industry representatives and rehabilitation clinicians as they work through the phases of research and development. Several practices that are not covered in undergraduate design courses will include Industrial Prototype Development, Marketing Strategy and Marketing Specifications, Product Development Economics, and Project Management.
Human Centered Design: ID 6101
The design of products and/or environments that are inclusive of persons with different abilities can be a difficult endeavor requiring an understanding of function and means to collect design-specific information. This course seeks to expose students to 1) aspects of disability and aging and 2) the tools commonly used by designers to collect stakeholder input. Course content includes an overview of disability and aging, anthropometry, survey and focus group design and qualitative inquiry.
Assistive Technology: APPH 6995
Assistive Technology is any device or system that is used to increase, maintain, or improve the function of persons with disabilities. This class will expose students to various technologies and how they are designed to address particular functional needs. General areas include wheelchairs, wheelchair seating, environmental modification and computer access.
Applied Disability Research: APPH 4699
Periodic undergraduate research opportunities arise for assistance in applied disability research. Areas of study include monitoring of wheelchair and wheelchair cushion use and standardized testing of assistive technology. Activities range from data collection to data analysis. Typically, students must be willing to dedicate at least 8 hours per week on research.