Ergonomics in the Work Environment

On Tuesday, January 27th,  I had the chance to visit the Computer/Electronic Accommodations Center (CAP), for an Ergonomics Demonstration.  CAP provides assistive technology to allow DoD employees with visual, hearing, dexterity, cognitive, and communication disabilities, to access computer and telecommunication systems.  Working closely with the overseas employees, they help determine the appropriate assistive technology needs and provide numerous assistive devices and software to enhance their capabilities to exceed in the work setting.
Voice recognition software
One of the most interesting products demonstrating the use of true continuous speech was Dragon Naturally Speaking Deluxe. A person speaks at a conversational rate and the words are transcribed immediately onto the computer.  This a functional device for individuals with mobility and vision impairments but is also a useful tool in the business world i.e. Universal Design in action.  A text-to-speech option allows your document or other files like e-mail to be read aloud to you.  For individual with more severe impairments, there was Cyberlink, which utilized a band with sensors worn on the forehead.   Typing is completed using an on screen keyboard controlled by eye blinks and gross facial movements.   Various alternative keyboards, arm and wrist rests, and pointing device and mini keyboard were also demonstrated.

TTY machineIn addition, they had braille printers, video conferencing units, telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD's),  telephone amplifiers, visual signaling devices, computer terminals with screen amplification, and many other devices on display.  Other CAP services include training on the use of the assistive equipment, educational presentations, and recommendations to work sites about creating accessible electronic environments.  The demonstration was very informative and the staff quite knowledgeable.

Report by Special Education Web Master , live from CAP's Technology Evaluation Center , located in the Pentagon.