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Improving lives with assistive technologies

Cummins Generator Technologies is using its position as a technology leader to help improve the communities in which it operates. This is being brought to life through the actions and activities of employees. Cummins continuously endeavours to improve the lives of the people in their localities through on-going community and charity projects and is now utilising its employee's technical skills to re-engineer everyday devices to make them usable by people with disabilities - an approach called Assistive Technology.

The formal definition of Assistive Technology is 'any item or device whether off the shelf, modified or customized that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of children and adults with disabilities.' Simplified, it is a tool that allows the completion of a task that would otherwise be impossible or very difficult.

With the aid of these technologies, people with a loss in functioning are able to enhance their abilities, and are hence better able to live independently and participate in their societies.

Who needs Assistive Technology'
Assistive Technology can benefit many people, most often those with disabilities or undergoing rehabilitation or the elderly. Common disabilities that can benefit from Assistive Technology include: Cerebral Palsy, Muscular Dystrophy, Multiple Sclerosis, spinal cord injury, brain injury, stroke, developmental or learning disabilities, hearing or visual disabilities.

Cummins Generator Technologies had already been working to adapt toys for the past two years, however now, as part of a wider Cummins initiative has engaged with its local community partners in the UK to modify or customize any type of device or aid for daily living, educational, rehabilitation, sensory or mobility needs.

At the launch event, members from Cummins' Leadership Team modified Thomas the Tank Engine trains that make a sound when the funnel is pressed. In order to improve the ability of children with physical disabilities to play with the trains, the team added large buttons that trigger the same noise.