NIDILRR’s mission is to generate new knowledge and promote its effective use to maximize the full inclusion and integration into society, employment, independent living, family support, and economic and social self-sufficiency of individuals with disabilities of all ages. NIDILRR supports research, development, and transfer of technology products to promote positive outcomes of people with disabilities (NIDILRR Long Range Plan, 2018-2023).
Assistive technologies address the varied needs of people with disabilities by augmenting, compensating for the loss of, or restoring function to improve performance. NIDILRR seeks research and development toward assistive technology applications and devices that address significant barriers to community living encountered by people with physical, sensory, psychiatric, or intellectual and developmental disabilities. Such technology products may include advanced human computer interfaces that let humans interact with computers in novel ways (Mathew, Al Hajj, & Al Abri, 2011), automation and/or robotic technologies that can perform activities with minimal human assistance (Goldberg, 2012), technologies that allow household members to control appliances, settings, and other aspects of their home environment (Matlabi, Parker, & McKee, 2011), and recreational technologies which increase access to and participation in recreational activities and environments by people with disabilities (Rimmer, Padalabalanarayanan, Malone, & Mehta, 2017). NIDILRR also seeks research and development toward assistive technology applications and devices that address pressing health service delivery topics that are relevant to the lives of people with disabilities, such as pain management (Ghoseiri et al., 2018), telerehabilitation, or coordination and provision of home and community based services (Bendixen et al., 2007).
NIDILRR seeks to fund development activities toward assistive technologies that help people with disabilities – particularly seniors with disabilities -- maintain or improve their independence and quality of life in their homes and communities.
Bendixen, R. M., Horn, K., & Levy, C. (2007). Using telerehabilitation to support elders with chronic illness in their homes. Topics in Geriatric Rehabilitation, 23(1), 47-51.
Ghoseiri, K., Allami, M., Soroush, M. R., & Rastkhadiv, M. Y. (2018). Assistive technologies for pain management in people with amputation: a literature review. Military Medical Research, 5(1), 1.
Goldberg, K. (2012). What Is Automation?. IEEE T. Automation Science and Engineering. 9; 1-2.
Matlabi, H., Parker, S.G. & McKee, K. (2011). The contribution of home-based technology to older people's quality of life in extra care housing. BMC Geriatrics; 11: 68.
Mathew, A.R., Al Hajj, A. & Al Abri, A. (2011). Human-Computer Interaction (HCI): An overview, 2011 IEEE International Conference on Computer Science and Automation Engineering, Shanghai, 2011, pp. 99-100.
NIDILRR Long-Range Plan. (2018). https://acl.gov/sites/default/files/about-acl/2019-01/NIDILRR%20LRP-201…
Rimmer, J.H., Padalabalanarayanan, S., Malone, L.A., & Mehta, T. (2017). Fitness facilities still lack accessibility for people with disabilities. Disability and Health Journal, 10(2), 214 – 221.
The Administrator of the Administration for Community Living (ACL) establishes a priority for Disability and Rehabilitation Research Projects (DRRP) on assistive technology solutions for daily living. Under this DRRP priority, applicants must propose a development project that is aimed at maintaining or improving the independence, community living, and quality of life outcomes of people with disabilities--with a particular emphasis on seniors with disabilities--through assistive technology. In carrying out a development project under this program, an applicant must use knowledge and understanding gained from research to create materials, devices, systems, methods, measures, techniques, tools, prototypes, processes, or intervention protocols that are beneficial to the target population.
Assistive technology development topics under this priority may include but are not limited to: human-computer interfaces; automation and/or robotics technologies; home-based technologies; recreational technologies; health service delivery technologies; and mobility, cognitive, sensory, and communication aids.
Applicants under this priority are required to specify in their proposal the following:
1. The target population or populations of people with disabilities.
2. The methods or approaches used to gather input from the target population and other key stakeholders -- to shape the proposed development activities. Other key stakeholders may include but are not limited to family members of people with disabilities, service providers, and State Assistive Technology Act Programs.
3. The methodological details of the development activities to be conducted.
4. How the development activities will contribute to assistive technologies that are used by people with disabilities to maintain or improve independence, community living, and quality of life outcomes.
In addition, the DRRP must:
Specify and justify the stage or stages of development projects that they are proposing. If the applicant proposes to conduct development that can be categorized under more than one stage, including development activities that progress from one stage to another, those stages must be clearly specified. These stages, proof of concept, proof of product, and proof of adoption, are defined in this section of the funding opportunity announcement.
Definitions - Stages of Development
Proof of concept means the stage of development where key technical challenges are resolved. Stage activities may include recruiting study participants; verifying product requirements; and implementing and testing (typically in controlled contexts) key concepts, components, or systems; and resolving technical challenges. A technology transfer plan is typically developed and transfer partner(s) identified, and plan implementation may have started. Stage results establish that a product concept is feasible.
Proof of product means the stage of development where a fully-integrated and working prototype meeting critical technical requirements is created. Stage activities may include recruiting study participants, implementing and iteratively refining the prototype, testing the prototype in natural or less-controlled contexts, and verifying that all technical requirements are met. A technology transfer plan is typically ongoing in collaboration with the transfer partner(s). Stage results establish that a product embodiment is realizable.
Proof of adoption means the stage of development where a product is substantially adopted by its target population and used for its intended purpose. Stage activities typically include completing product refinements and continued implementation of the technology transfer plan in collaboration with the transfer partner(s). Other activities include measuring users' awareness of the product; opinion of the product; decisions to adopt, use, and retain products; and identifying barriers and facilitators impacting product adoption. Stage results establish that a product is beneficial.