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Clinical Notes
June 2, 1978

Voice-Controlled Devices for the Severely Disabled

Author Affiliations

From the Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine, New York University Medical Center, New York.

JAMA. 1978;239(22):2367-2368. doi:10.1001/jama.1978.03280490051023

MOBILITY and communication are fundamental in the rehabilitation of the severely disabled. Most persons with spinal cord dysfunction can live independent lives in a wheelchair, and even a quadriplegic with an intact neurologic segment at C-6 can be rehabilitated to be almost completely independent in all daily activities. Patients with higher levels of spinal cord dysfunction, however, remain dependent on help from others. It is for this reason and the fact that there have been a higher number of surviving high-level quadriplegics in the last few years that rehabilitation centers are using modern technology to improve the function of the severely disabled.

New devices for the disabled are operated by means of sensitive microswitches, by movements of the tongue or chin, or by pneumatic control using positive or negative cheek pressures. All of these devices require a mechanical linkage of the patient with the equipment being used. Since a patient

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