The Convergence and Mainstreaming of Integrated Home Technologies for People with Disability
Department of Health Professions, Swinburne University, Hawthorn, Victoria 3122, Australia
School of Health and Wellbeing, The University of Southern Queensland, Ipswich, QLD 4305, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Societies 2019, 9(4), 69; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc9040069
Received: 25 May 2019 / Revised: 19 July 2019 / Accepted: 1 October 2019 / Published: 14 October 2019
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Socio-technical Approaches for Assistive Technologies and People with Disabilities)
If human rights begin in small places close to home, technologies that enable people with disability to access and control their home environments are an important human rights instrument. Smart homes exemplify recent advances in design, building construction, and integration of technologies within the built environment. They draw on multiple social and technical disciplines that share a broad vision but lack a common language, creating ambiguity and limiting the usefulness of the evidence base in determining optimal ways to integrate technologies and housing design to meet diverse needs. The convergence of mainstream and assistive technologies offers the potential of accessible and affordable strategies for inclusion, but also risks further exclusion of marginalized sections of the population. Coordination of efforts might accelerate translation of knowledge and diffusion of innovations into the practices of planning, designing, building, and sustaining housing that promotes independent living. This conceptual paper reviews the theoretical frameworks and terminology from fields of research involved in the design and use of technologies in the home environment to enable people with disability and older people. It considers approaches to design and interventions that could inform policies and practices as well as further research and development activities.