Opportunities and Challenges on Assistive Technology Innovation: a Systematic Literature Review on People with Disabilities

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Fábio Evangelista Santana
Ivo Rodrigues Montanha Junior
Márcio Fontana Catapan
Vilson João Batista
Fernando Antônio Forcellini


Purpose: Brazil follows the global trend of an increasing number of People with Disabilities. However, there is a great lack of Assistive Technology resources, demanding their importation, which increases their cost to the end user. Innovation can be one of the contributions, once it is measured by the successful product implementation on the market. So, this paper aims to identify the development in the innovation area for People with Disabilities, pointing out barriers, opportunities and gaps.

Design/Methodology/Approach: The method used in this research was the theoretical-conceptual, based on a systematic literature review of papers from the Scopus database. It looked for Assistive Technology applications in the innovation field, using as a reference a framework for classification of Assistive Technology products.

Results: The literature review resulted in a portfolio of 75 papers. The results of its analysis established links between innovation and Assistive Technology using four groups: (i) innovation activities, (ii) object innovation, (iii) types of disabilities and (iv) AT categories.

Practical implications: This paper aims to inform various decision-makers about paths to be followed regarding research and development for People with Disabilities, highlighting the need to know how to deal with knowledge in the innovation process.

Originality/value: No specific models of innovation were identified amongst the papers, and the absence or shortage of items for some AT categories were also found. Therefore, investment in research and development in the innovation area applied to AT can contribute to the demand for Assistive Technology products.

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