History of Assistive Technology

Timeline created by HLisaStevens
  • Audiophone Bone Conduction Amplifier invented

    History of educational technology. The Audiophone Bone Conduction Amplifier was the earliest type of hearing aid that was not a cone in the ear. Instead, hearing was amplified through the conduction of sound through bone.
  • First portable hearing aid

    History of hearing aids The first portable electronic hearing aid used Alexander Graham Bell's brand new telephone technology and an attached battery.
  • First Braille typewriter invented

    First Braille typewriter invented
    Braille writers The first brailler machine was invented by Frank Hall. Individually hand-made brailler machines were built at the Perkins School for the Blind. First braille writer invented by Frank M. Hall
  • Akouphone, the first electric hearing aid invented

    History of hearing aids The Akouphone, invented by Miller Reese Huchinson, miniaturized hearing aids so they could fit into purses.
  • Radios distributed to blind

    Radios distributed to blind
    History of educational technology. American Foundation for the Blind distributes radios to help blind people access information.
  • Talking books - phonograph

    Talking books - phonograph
    History of educational technology. The invention of Thomas Edison's phonograph allows the production and use of talking books for the blind
  • First speech synthesizer invented

    DragonSpeech From this first invention called the Voder, both text-to-speech and speech-to-text technologies emerged.
  • Prototype of Perkins Brailler developed

    Prototype of Perkins Brailler developed
    History of Perkins brailler Prototype of Perkins Brailler developed by David Abraham. This could not be produced until after WWII was over. His design was revolutionary because it was lightweight, quiet, and far less prone to breakage than the previous type of braille machine.
  • Development of transistor hearing aids

    Development of transistor hearing aids
    History of hearing aids First transistor hearing aids were pioneered by Bell Laboratories. This was a first big step in the miniaturization of hearing aids.
  • Electric wheelchair developed

    Electric wheelchair developed
    Electric Wheelchair The electric wheelchair was designed by Canadian George Klein with the help of the National Research Council of Canada.
  • Perkins Brailler first produced

    History of Perkins Brailler First production of the Perkins braille machine. Although a prototype had been available for a few years, these machines could not be produced during WWII because manufacturing materials were needed for the war effort.
  • First English text-to-speech system developed

    Speech Synthesis First English text-to-speech synthesis developed by Noriko Umeda at the Electrotechnical Laboratory in Japan, based on earlier work in the late 1950s.
  • Digital, six-channel hearing aid available

    History of hearing aids The six-channel hearing aid, developed by Daniel Graupe, allowed the audio signal of a hearing aid to be separated, thus allowing some audio frequencies to be amplified while others were weakened.
  • First handheld device with speech synthesizer developed

    Speech SynthesizerTSI Speech+ portable calculator developed for people with visual impairments.
  • Invention of first Kurzweil Reading Machine

    Kurzweil History Ray Kurzweil, inventor of the reading software that bears his name, advanced understanding of omni-font optical character recognition (OCR) and flatbed scanner technlolgy. He conntected those technologies to a text-to-speech synthesizer to produce a reading machine.
  • Adaptive Firmware Card (AFC) invented.

    Adaptive Firmware Card (AFC) invented.
    AFC
    This card, invented by Paul Schwejda and Judy McDonald, allowed people with disabilities to use a computer with only one switch; it also permitted the use of an alternative keyboard.
  • Computers first used in classrooms

    A historical review of technology research in special education The first computers used with students who struggled with learning often were used for drill and skill programs, tutorials, and computer simulations.
  • DragonSystems founded

    DragonSystems Dragon Systems was founded by Drs. Jim and Janet Baker, using early speech synthesizing technology and modified through other engineering consortiums including the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA). They also built upon technology used in Texas Instruments' "Speak and Spell" toy.
  • Dynavox founded - designers of augmentive communication

    DynaVox Founder Gary Killiany developed "EyeTyper," a device that allows people to communicate with eye movements. They have since developed many other types of augmentive communication
  • Universal Design for Learning - Center for Applied Special Technology

    Universal Design for Learning The Center for Applied Special Technology (CAST) was founded by David Rose at Harvard University. Their mandate is to pull together medical, engineering and educational technology to revolutionize learning in the same way that architecture was transformed to a universal design model in the 1960s. Technology is a key part of this levelling of the educational playing field for all students.
  • First Smart Board

    First Smart Board
    Smart Board Smart Technologies was founded in 1987 by David Martin and Nancy Knowlton as a spin-off from a company that sold 3M projectors. The first Smart Board came to market by 1991. This Canadian company has revolutionized how all children learn, but this technology is especially helpful for children with behavioural difficulties and autism spectrum disorders.
  • AlphaSmart keyboard invented

    AlphaSmart keyboard invented
    AlphaSmart AlphaSmart keyboard was designed because teachers wanted an inexpensive, lightweight, tough keyboard for students to use. Inventors Ketan Kothar and Joe Barrus got the idea by hanging around on the internet talking to teachers.
  • Computer operating systems include speech synthesizers

    Computer operating systems include speech synthesizers
    Speech synthesizer Speech synthesizers are used in computer text-to-speech programs to help people with reading disabilities or visual impairments access written material.
  • Kurzweil Educational Systems founded

    Kurzweil Kurtzweil Educational Systems provides text-to-speech capability to allow any person with visual impairment or reading disability to access any print material using scanner technology while highlighting the text being read.
  • FM amplification for students with hearing loss

    FM amplification for students with hearing loss
    FM amplification FM systems that deliver sounds directly to a hearing aid and FM sound fields are two types of auditory technology. The first benefits individual students who have hearing loss; the second benefits students with hearing loss or auditory processing disorders, as well as other students in the classroom.
  • Next Generation Perkins Brailler released

    History of Braillers After 57 years, the Perkins Brailler was reconfigured for the 21st century.
  • Smart Table

    Smart Table
    Smart Table SMART technology is now available to benefit students with motor challenges while they sit at a table.
  • Apple Products: iPad, iPod, iPhone

    Apple Products: iPad, iPod, iPhone
    iPad, iPod, iPhone Apple products, especially the iPad released in 2010, have a multitude of apps that have been developed for students with special needs. Even some of the basic features such as voice recording can be used by students with learning disabilities
  • Perkins Smart Brailler introduced - digigalized Brailler

    Perkins Smart Brailler introduced - digigalized Brailler
    Perkins Smart Brailler-computer interface First truly digital Brailler allows people with visual impairments to leap into the digital world. This device has USB interface and text-to-speech capability along with the typical braille interface. For the first time, a person with visual impairments does not have to learn the analog version of Braille to manipulate written documents.