This product comparison project was undertaken in 2013 and available products may have been updated since then. All information was current at the time of publication.
to undertake objective, comparative testing of assistive technology products
for testing to be undertaken by experienced assistive technology professionals and people with a disability themselves
for information to be made publicly available in a comparative and searchable format.
Assistive technology has opened exciting frontiers for people with disabilities. It enables them to be more independent, more productive and more connected with their families and communities. It has the potential to benefit substantially the Government and community, through greater employment of people with disabilities and less reliance on paid care. This will continue in the future, as new technology continues to roll back barriers and create new opportunities.
However this potential is not often realised in practice. Why? It is a moving target - people with disabilities and therapists cannot keep up with developments in technology in this specialised area. The result is that people with disabilities often get less than optimum solutions and miss out of the full benefits available. Ironically rapid changes in assistive technology mean that ignorance is intensified. People don't know what they don't know.
Even if people become aware of new options, they have no way of knowing how these options compare with other options. Evidence-based practice is elusive in this field, due to rapid changes in technology and paltry research. At present this sector relies heavily on information provided by suppliers and distributors – this is hardly objective and does not include critical or comparative information.
What is desperately needed is a Centre that can undertake objective, comparative testing of assistive technology products. This testing needs to be undertaken by experienced assistive technology professionals and people with a disability themselves.
A grant from the Fred P. Archer Charitable Trust has enabled Ability Technology to establish the Ability Research Centre.