|Welcome to RESNA NewsBrief. The RESNA NewsBrief is a service provided by RESNA, the Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America, and will feature news and information about assistive technology and rehabilitation engineering. The RESNA NewsBrief,
published weekly, will feature RESNA association news, product information and other technology-related news and events impacting people with disabilities. All issues of RESNA NewsBrief will be archived here, and they can be viewed at anytime.|
We hope you will enjoy receiving and reading the RESNA NewsBrief.
2011 Annual RESNA Conference
Join RESNA and the International Conference on Technology and Aging, along with the International Research Symposium on Quality of Life Technology. The event will take place June 5-8 at the Sheraton Centre in Toronto. RESNA is one of 6 conferences under the umbrella of the Festival of Conferences on Caregiving, Disability, Aging and Technology.
While the RESNA conference is emphasizing aging issues this year, other
topics and issues will be presented focusing on areas such as:
If you are working in the field of assistive technology and rehabilitation engineering, don't
miss this great opportunity for professional development and networking. Continuing education units are offered.
- Job and environmental accommodations — including ergronomics
- Computer applications and communication
- Wheelchair seating technologies and interventions
- Outcomes and quantitative measurement
- Public policy and education
- Technology for cognitive and sensory impairment
- Other technology-related areas
Obama defends disability programs, but says reform needed
President Barack Obama sharply defended entitlement programs benefiting people with disabilities as he laid out his plan to reduce the nation's budget deficit on April 13, but said some change is needed. In a speech at George Washington University, Obama said he wants to trim $4 trillion from the federal deficit over the next 12 years through a mix of spending cuts and increased taxes for the wealthy. But, he said fixing the
nation's budget woes should not come on the backs of the elderly and those with disabilities.
Brain implant allows paralyzed to move items with thoughts
The robotic arm clutched a glass and swung it over a series of colored dots. Behind it, a woman sat immobile in a wheelchair. Slowly, the arm put the glass down, narrowly missing one of the dots. "She's doing that!" exclaimed professor John Donoghue, pioneer of the brain-computer interface. The woman, who is almost completely paralyzed, was using professor Donoghue's ground-breaking technology to control the robot arm using her
The ADA soon will cover more disabled
The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission recently released final regulations implementing the Americans with Disabilities Amendments Act, or the ADAA. Like the act itself, "the regulations are designed to simplify the determination of who has a disability and make it easier for people to establish that they are protected by the Americans with Disabilities Act," the agency said in a statement. The new EEOC regulations are an
attempt to address what Congress saw as an overly narrow definition of just who was considered disabled. "Among the purposes of the ADAA is the reinstatement of a 'broad scope of protection' by expanding the definition of the term 'disability.'"
Medicare competitive bidding rules blasted by DME providers
Charlotte, N.C., is one of the first cities in the country implementing Medicare's new competitive bidding program for suppliers of durable medical equipment, or DME. Competitive bidding is replacing a
system that relies on a fee schedule to determine what Medicare pays for equipment. Ellen Griffith, a spokeswoman for the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, said that the 1980s-era schedule was too far out of date — meaning the prices CMS pays are higher than necessary.
Medicare policies are changing the way PWC providers do business
Power wheelchair providers have made abrupt operations changes to comply with new Medicare policies, according to a new survey. The survey, conducted by AAHomecare, also found that regulatory changes
have made it difficult for some businesses to provide quality products and service to Medicare patients. Of more than 125 businesses across the country contacted for the survey, 65 percent said their ability to service Medicare beneficiaries has been compromised, 48 percent said their repair policy has changed, 45 percent said the area in which they service patients has changed and 28 percent said their level of staffing has been affected.
Through technology, disabled veterans reconnect to the world
The Buffalo News
David W. Jauch lost his ability to speak after he suffered a stroke 28 years ago, but the Talker gave him a voice.
Now researchers at the University at Buffalo, New York, and a local high-tech firm hope that an improved version of this computer program can help disabled veterans reconnect to the world. Veterans hospitals are starting to turn to assistive technology — everything from iPods to Livescribe smart pens — to
try to give their disabled patients more control over their lives.
ISU demonstrates education technology at program's 10-year anniversary
Illinois State University sophomore Mary Kate Shaughnessy is adept at using a computer and scanner to help students with low vision and blindness. The size of letters and color of the background can help make text from a book readable. She was among half a dozen education majors to demonstrate "assistive technology" at the 10th anniversary of the school's Special Education Assistive Technology program.
Poll: Are providers ready to help reduce readmissions?
HME providers have a lot of catching up to do when it comes to helping hospitals reduce readmission rates, according to the latest HME NewsPoll. "Until this poll, I have not thought about this question and have not been asked by the hospital staff to help in this situation," said James Hagan, president of Community Home Medical in Sellersberg, Ind. He's not alone. Of the 120 providers who responded to the poll, 81 percent indicated
that they currently do not have a program in place to help hospitals reduce readmissions.
CTIA redesigns website to help the disabled shop for wireless access
CTIA-The Wireless Association® has redesigned its AccessWireless.org website to help people with disabilities as well as seniors and their families choose wireless devices. On the site, The Mobile Manufacturer Forum, a trade association for mobile phone manufacturers, has integrated its Global Accessibility Reporting Initiative database into the "find a phone" section to allow consumers to compare phones' accessibility
US students win assistive technology award
Students from Arizona State University took the top prize in the U.S. finals of the Imagine Cup, the world's premier student technology competition, with their project that enables low-vision students to take notes in class with the assistance of a custom-designed, portable camera, a touch-screen Tablet PC and Microsoft OneNote. Michael Astrauskas, David Hayden, Shashank Srinivas and Qian Yan from Team Note-Taker will represent the
U.S. at the Imagine Cup 2011 Worldwide Finals in New York City this summer, competing against student teams from more than 70 countries and regions around the world.
Designing for everyone
When Whirlpool created its first line of front-loading washers, designers came up with a simple but ingenious idea: to put the appliance atop a 10- to 15-inch pedestal. Users would no longer have to bend so deeply to load their clothes or to fish out the last sock from the back of the drum. The change was ideal for older people and those with bad backs, but it also made the washer easier for everyone to use. That's a core principle
of an approach known as "universal design." "It's all about accommodating a range of abilities," says Doug Beaudet, global director for user experience and interaction design at Whirlpool. This philosophy has infused more and more of design over the last decade.