236216 Healing disjuncture through synthesizing disability theory with engineering design

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 12:30 PM

Stephen Gilson, PhD , Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies, University of Maine, Orono, ME
Elizabeth DePoy, PhD , Center for Community Inclusion and Disability Studies, University of Maine, Orono, ME
In concert with the conference theme of healthy communities promoting healthy minds and bodies, this session discusses and illustrates the interdisciplinary synthesis and research application of disability studies and state-of-the art engineering to improve communities, public health, and advancement of full participation. We focus on the use of smart robotics to “heal disjuncture” and decrease disparities in health, fitness, work, and social life. Disjuncture defines disability as the interactive ill-fit of atypical bodies and environments. Thus, through this theoretical lens, interdisciplinary solutions to improve the fit between bodies, environments and the function of individuals can be complex, contemporary, and creative. We begin the presentation with a discussion of how disjuncture theory guides the marriage of diverse thinking for innovation. We then illustrate with two research projects (ServiceBot and RRE) in which robotics, smart technology, and contemporary design were used to conceptualize, construct, and test innovative approaches to enhance fitness and social participation. Servicebot replicates the human motions of reaching, grasping, transporting and placing items for use or consumption. RRE (Robotic Rowing Exoskeleton) addresses critical barriers to full participation in and realization of the extensive benefits of fitness and sports activity. For people who need or want such assistance in order to participate in fitness activity, RRE augments movement, coordination, and strength necessary to use a typical rowing machine in any public fitness facility. We conclude with the outcome research and implications for future efforts guided by disjuncture theory and inquiry.

Learning Areas:
Other professions or practice related to public health
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Systems thinking models (conceptual and theoretical models), applications related to public health

Learning Objectives:
Analyze how disjuncture theory frames innovation; Discuss the application of synthetic disability theory and engineering science to augmenting fitness and participation

Keywords: New Technology, Physical Activity

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am one of the researchers
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.