Evolution of Assistive technology
Civil war: Wood and leather limb prostheses with pelvic attachment bands were replaced by suction socket attachments. A socket developed by Parmelee in 1863 featured the first suction attachment of lower limb prosthesis (Murphy, Cook, and Harvey, 1982). Current prostheses use composite metal and plastic, whereas Parmelee’s device was made of wood and leather. Hearing aids were invented, but were bulky and had much lower fidelity than today’s hearing aids (Cook & Hussey, 2001).
Twentieth century: Evolution in health care and technology saves lives (battle line hospitals, emergency medical transportation, intensive care units, advanced treatment, antibiotics and other medications), but also leaves large numbers of people to live their lives with a disability or chronic illness. Creativity by individuals (some of whom have disabilities themselves) and the evolution of electronics (computer chips of reduced size, reduced cost, and increased capabilities resulting in synthesized speech, robotic aids, graphics) result in the development of assistive technology devices.