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March 3, 1989

Computers Star in New Communication Concepts for Physically Disabled People

JAMA. 1989;261(9):1256-1259. doi:10.1001/jama.1989.03420090018004

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WORKING HAND in glove, some engineers and scientists concerned with the communication problems of people with multiple physical disabilities have come up with innovative solutions to the challenge posed by persons who are both deaf and blind. Other creative individuals have thought of a way to help people who retain hearing and vision but are incapable of movement.

Tapping the functions that remain is what scientists and engineers attempt to do when they design devices for use by persons with physical losses. This is difficult enough when a sensory loss, sight or sound, is involved; when people have multiple disabilities, finding a way to help them compensate is an even more daunting task.

At the recent meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, in San Francisco, Calif, researchers described new approaches to meeting these input-output challenges through computer-assisted technology.

Here is what the developers of Dexter, the