The Rehabilitation Engineering Research Center on Recreational Technologies (RERC Rec-Tech) at University of Alabama-Birmingham is a five-year grant funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research (NIDRR) of the US Department of Education. The primary mission of the RERC Rec-Tech is to expand new knowledge and research on recreation technology for people with disabilities, and to disseminate technology development through education, training and collaboration with private sectors.
The figure below depicts the RecTech Research and Development model through the metaphor of a ramp to emphasize: (a) the interconnectedness of these four research and development strands; (b) the focus on people with mobility disabilities; and (c) the Center’s priorities related to Restoring Activity for Mobility and Participation (RAMP). The metaphor also reflects the logical sequencing of the four domains: Access is necessary for participation, and regular participation and adherence are necessary to obtain benefits in health and function.
The RecTech domains also represent four key concepts: Access refers to the built environment; Participation relates to the actual execution of activities including specific types of training programs; Adherence denotes the sustainability of an activity; and Health and Function refers to the actual health improvements associated with the dosing of physical activity/exercise and its associated measurement and monitoring techniques.
The RecTech conceptual model also captures the Center’s proposed R&D by context ranging from projects that focus solely on individual behavior change to projects that focus on the interaction between the individual and external environment (i.e., outside the home setting).
The main purpose for the Center’s domain by context framework is to provide the RecTech-III Research and Development team and interested researchers, practitioners and students with a roadmap for addressing critical gaps in the R&D agenda in exercise science, engineering and technology.
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