Wired: People with Quadriplegia prefer to control robots manually – thank you very much!

Wired has a great article about the use of robot arms by people with Quadriplegia.

It’s definately worth a read as it surfaces some important considerations around such things as:

  • the importance of feedback mechanisms from devices,
  • the sense of being in control to the degree one’s abilities allow,
  • the importance of quality user testing and input from the ones who are the perceived users of a device/system,
  • how in this field qualitative trumps quantitative measurement,
  • prevention of technology abandonment

and many other issues not often brought to light in such a clearly seen fashion and example.

As a preview, here’s some choice snippets from the article:

Regardless of the extent of their disability or whether they were using a touchscreen, mouse, joystick, or voice controls, they preferred using the arm on manual. The more experience they had with tech, the happier they were.

To users accustomed to navigating the world in a wheelchair — and frequently having to explain how their chair worked to others — this made the arm both more familiar and more useful. It felt less like an alien presence, and more like a tool: a natural extension of the body and the will. .. This feeling is essential for anyone’s satisfaction using technology, but particularly so for disabled users…

Do yourself a favour and head to Wired to Read More

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