What is Adaptive Technology?

A person who is considering a career in computer science or a related field of expertise may want to know, “What is adaptive technology?” This is important because adaptive technology is typically created, updated and honed by people who are experts in computing and information science and research. Understanding what adaptive technology is could help a person decide which career path to take upon graduation.

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What Adaptive Technology Means

Adaptive technology means the creation of a special version of technology that already exists. The special version of the technology is for a person with a specific disability. The adaptive part refers to making a change that makes it easier for the person to use the tool or technology based on how their body is different from the typical body. The adaptation of the tool or technology allows a person with an impairment or disability to use the program or device.

Some Examples of Adaptive Technology

There are many examples of adaptive technology that have been around for a while. For example, large-print books allow a person to read the book even if they have poor eyesight. Another type of adaptive technology is text to voice and voice to text. This allows a person who is blind or deaf to interact with the text on a screen. Software that adjusts the colors on a computer monitor or smartphone is another form of adaptive technology, and it could help a person with colorblindness.

What Assistive Technology Is

Adaptive technology has a large scope. Assistive technology is a part of adaptive technology. With assistive technology, a person with a disability can use a tool or device that makes it possible to retain more of their independence. Assistive technology comes in a range of levels, including low, middle and high.

Some Examples of Assistive Technology

According to the National Institutes of Health, one example of assistive technology is a mobility aid. These include walkers, canes, wheelchairs, scooters, prosthetic devices, orthotic devices, and crutches. They make it possible for a person with a temporary or permanent mobility problem or disorder to ambulate with less assistance. Another example of assistive technology is a physical modification of the environment, such as a shower seat, wheelchair ramp or grab bar in the shower. These are all low-level assistive technologies. Mid-level assistive technologies include adaptive switches and utensils that allow a person with a mobility problem to feed themselves. Another type of mid-level assistive technology is closed captioning, which allows a person who is deaf to read the dialogue of a movie, live news show or television program. Some high-level assistive technologies include software that magnifies a page on a website, lightweight and high-performance mobility devices with electronic or computerized movement for athletic activities and voice recognition programs for computers.

Being familiar with what adaptive technology is allows a student to take the right courses in order to prepare themselves for this type of career. A person who wants to work in adaptive technology should be comfortable with computer programming and with using tools and equipment to make changes or updates to devices that a person with a disability would need to use differently compared to a person without a disability. Knowledge of what is adaptive technology facilitates the selection of a career path.