Disabled veterans could live more independently with new technology

From Texas A&M: For Complete Post, Click Here…

n 2017 it was estimated that there were nearly 4.2 million veterans with service-connected disabilities, many of whom required housing assistance in one form another to be able to live independently. Among these are about 42,000 veterans with severe spinal cord injuries and disorders. Researchers at Texas A&M University are working on new technology that could help these veterans achieve even more independence.

The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) oversees a program offered to veterans and service members with certain service-connected disabilities called Specially Adapted Housing (SAH), which provides funds to modify or construct an adapted home to meet their needs. Typical adaptations include ramps, wider halls and doors, or wheelchair-accessible bathrooms.

But there are many other emerging technologies that could improve home adaptions or enhance a veteran or service member’s ability to live independently, such as voice-recognition and voice-command operations, living environment controls and adaptive feeding equipment. The VA has defined this as new assistive technology (AT), an advancement that could aid or enhance the ability of a veteran or service member to live in an adapted home.

To help improve this new assistive technology, the VA is awarding Specially Adapted Housing Assistive Technology (SAHAT) Grants. Dr. Hangue Park, assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, along with Dr. Jeonghee Kim, assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Technology and Industrial Distribution, have received a $200,000 SAHAT grant to work on their own assistive technology device.

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