Select the Right NOx Control Technology

Most major industrialized urban areas in the U.S. are unable to meet the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) for ozone. Atmospheric studies have shown that ozone formation is the result of a complex set of chemical reactions involving volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). Those studies indicate that many urban areas with VOC/NOx ratios greater tan 15:1 can reduce ambient ozone levels only by reducing NOx emissions. Many states, therefore, are implementing NOx control regulations for combustion devices in order to achieve compliance with the NAAQS ozone standard.

This article discusses the characterization of NOx emissions from industrial combustion devices. It then provides guidance on how to evaluate the applicable NOx control technologies and select an appropriate control method.

Characterizing Emissions

Most industrial combustion devices have not been tested to establish their baseline NOx emission levels. Rather, the NOx emissions from these units have been simply estimated using various factors. In light of recent regulations, however, it is mandatory that the NOx emissions from affected units now be known with certainty. This will establish each unit’s present compliance status and allow definition of fee applicable control technologies for those units that will require modification to achieve compliance.

It is, therefore, important to test each combustion device to verify its NOx emissions characteristics. The testing process should be streamlined to provide timely and necessary information for making decisions regarding the applicability of NOx control technologies.

The basic approach is to select one device from a class of units (that is, of same design and size) for characterization testing (NOx, CO2, and 02). Testing is conducted at three load points that represent the normal operating range of the unit, with excess oxygen variation testing conducted at each load point. Figure 1 illustrates the typical characterization test results. The remaining units in the class are tested at only one load point, at or near full load.

The operational data obtained during testing, in conjunction with the NOx and CO data, are used to define the compliance status of each unit, as well as the applicable NOx control technologies for those devices that must be modified. In most instances, this approach will allow multiple units to be tested in one day and provide the necessary operational data the engineer needs to properly evaluate the potential NOx control technologies.

Fundamental Concepts

Reasonably available control technology (RACT) standards for NOx emissions are defined in terms of an emission limit, such as 0.2 lb NOx/MMBtu, rather than mandating Specific NOx control technologies. Depending on the fuel fired and the design of the combustion device, a myriad of control technologies may be viable options. Before selecting RACT for a particular combustion device, it is necessary to understand how NOx emissions are formed so that the appropriate control strategy may be formulated.

NOx emissions formed during the combustion process are a function of the fuel composition, the operating mode, and the basic design of the boiler and combustion equipment. Each of these parameters can play a significant role in the final level of NOx emissions.

NOx formation is attributed to three distinct mechanisms:

1. Thermal NOx Formation;

2. Prompt (i.e.. rapidly forming) NO formation; and

3. Fuel NOx formation.

Each of these mechanisms is driven by three basic parameters – temperature of combustion, time above threshold temperatures in an oxidizing or reducing atmosphere, and turbulence during initial combustion.

Thermal NOx formation in gas-, oil-. and coal-fired devices results from thermal fixation of atmospheric nitrogen in the combustion air. Early investigations of NOx formation were based upon kinetic analyses for gaseous fuel combustion. These analyses by Zeldovich yielded an Arrhenius-type equation showing the relative importance of time, temperature, and oxygen and nitrogen concentrations on NOx formation in a pre-mixed flame (that is, the reactants are thoroughly mixed before combustion).

While thermal NOx formation in combustion devices cannot actually be determined using the Zeldovich relationship, it does illustrate the importance of the major factors that Influence thermal NOx formation, and that NOx formation increases exponentially with combustion temperatures above 2.800°F.

Experimentally measured NOx formation rates near the flame zone are higher than those predicted by the Zeldovich relationship. This rapidly forming NO is referred to as prompt NO. The discrepancy between the predicted and measured thermal NOx values is attributed to the simplifying assumptions used in the derivation of the Zeldovich equation, such as the equilibrium assumption that O = ½ 02. Near the hydrocarbon-air flame zone, the concentration of the formed radicals, such as O and OH, can exceed the equilibrium values, which enhances the rate of NOx formation. However, the importance of prompt NO in NOx emissions is negligible in comparison to thermal and fuel NOx.

When nitrogen is introduced with the fuel, completely different characteristics are observed. The NOx formed from the reaction of the fuel nitrogen with oxygen is termed fuel NOx. The most common form of fuel nitrogen is organically bound nitrogen present in liquid or solid fuels where individual nitrogen atoms are bonded to carbon or other atoms. These bonds break more easily than the diatomic N2 bonds so that fuel NOx formation rates can be much higher than those of thermal NOx. In addition, any nitrogen compounds (e.g., ammonia) introduced into the furnace react in much the same way.

Fuel NOx is much more sensitive to stoichiometry than to thermal conditions. For this reason, traditional thermal treatments, such as flue gas recirculation and water injection, do not effectively reduce NOx emissions from liquid and solid fuel combustion.

NOx emissions can be controlled either during the combustion process or after combustion is complete. Combustion control technologies rely on air or fuel staging techniques to take advantage of the kinetics of NOx formation or introducing inerts that inhibit the formation of NOx during combustion, or both. Post-combustion control technologies rely on introducing reactants in specified temperature regimes that destroy NOx either with or without the use of catalyst to promote the destruction.

Conbustion Control

The simplest of the combustion control technologies is low-excess-air operation–that is, reducing the excess air level to the point of some constraint, such as carbon monoxide formation, flame length, flame stability, and so on. Unfortunately, low-excess-air operation has proven to yield only moderate NOx reductions, if any.

Three technologies that have demonstrated their effectiveness in controlling NOx emissions are off-stoichiometric combustion. low-NOx burners, and combustion temperature reduction. The first two are applicable to all fuels, while the third is applicable only to natural gas and low-nitro-gen-content fuel oils.

Off-stoichiometric, or staged, combustion is achieved by modifying the primary combustion zone stoichiometry – that is, the air/fuel ratio. This may be accomplished operationally or by equipment modifications.

An operational technique known us burners-out-of-service (BOOS) involves terminating the fuel flow to selected burners while leaving the air registers open. The remaining burners operate fuel-rich, thereby limiting oxygen availability, lowering peak flame temperatures, and reducing NOx formation. The unreacted products combine with the air from the terminated-fuel burners to complete burnout before exiting the furnace. Figure 2 illustrates the effectiveness of this technique applied to electric utility boilers. Staged combustion can also be achieved by installing air-only ports, referred to as overfire air (OFA) ports, above the burner zone. redirecting a portion of the air from the burners to the OFA ports. A variation of this concept, lance air, consists of installing air tubes around the periphery of each burner to supply staged air.

BOOS, overfire air, and lance air achieve similar results. These techniques are generally applicable only to larger, multiple-burner, combustion devices.

Low-NOx burners are designed to achieve the staging effect internally. The air and fuel flow fields are partitioned and controlled to achieve the desired air/fuel ratio, which reduces NOx formation and results in complete burnout within the furnace. Low-NOx burners are applicable lo practically all combustion devices with circular burner designs.

Combustion temperature reduction is effective at reducing thermal N0x but not fuel NOx. One way to reduce the combustion temperature is to introduce a diluent. Flue gas recirculation (FGR) is one such technique.

FGR recirculates a portion of the flue gas leaving the combustion process back into the windbox. The recirculated flue gas, usually on the order of 10-20% of the combustion air provides sufficient dilution to decrease NOx emission. Figure 3 correlates the degree of emission reduction with the amount of flue gas recirculated.

On gas-fired units, emissions arc reduced well beyond the levels normally achievable with staged combustion control. In fact, FGR is probably the most effective and least troublesome system for NOx reduction for gas-fired combustors.

An advantage of FGR is that it can be used with most other combustion control methods. Many industrial low-NOx burner systems on the market today incorporate induced FGR. In these designs, a duct is installed between the stack and forced-draft inlet (suction). Flue gas products are recirculated through the forced-draft fan, thus eliminating the need for a separate fan.

Water injection is another method that works on the principle of combustion dilution, very similar to FGR. In addition to dilution, it reduces the combustion air temperature by absorbing the latent heat of vaporization of the water before the combustion air reaches the primary combustion zone.

Few full-scale retrofit or test trials of water injection have been performed. Until recently, water injection has not been used as a primary NOx control method on any combustion devices other than gas turbines because of the efficiency penalty resulting from the absorption of usable energy to evaporate the water. In some cases, water injection represents a viable option to consider when moderate NOx reductions are required to achieve compliance.

Reduction of the air preheat temperature is another viable technique for culling NOx emissions. This lowers peak flame temperatures, thereby reducing NOx formation. The efficiency penalty, however, may be substantial. A rule of thumb is a 1% efficiency loss for each 40º F reduction in preheat. In some cases this may be offset by adding or enlarging the existing economizer.

Post-Combustion Control

There are two technologies for controlling NOx emissions after formation in the combustion process – selective catalytic reduction (SCR) and selective noncatalytic reduction (SNCR). Both of these processes have seen very limited application in the U.S. for external combustion devices. In selective catalytic reduction, a gas mixture of ammonia with a carrier gas (typically compressed air) is injected upstream of a catalytic reactor operating at temperatures between 450º F and 750º F. NOx control efficiencies are typically in the 70-90% percent range, depending on the type of catalyst, the amount of ammonia injected, the initial NOx level, and the age of the catalyst.

The retrofit of SCR on existing combustion devices can be complex and costly. Apart from the ammonia storage, preparation, and control monitoring requirements, significant modifications to the convective pass ducts may be necessary.

In selective noncatalytic reduction, ammonia- or urea-based reagents are injected into the furnace exit region, where the flue gas is in the range of 1,700-2,000º F. The efficiency of this process depends on the temperature of the gas, the reagent mixing with the gas, the residence time within the temperature window, and the amount of reagent injected relative to the concentration of NOx present. The optimum gas temperature for die reaction is about 1,750°F; deviations from this temperature result in a lower NOx reduction efficiency. Application of SNCR, therefore, must be carefully assessed, as its effectiveness is very dependent on combustion device design and operation.

Technology Selection

As noted previously, selection of applicable NOx control technologies depends on a number of fuel, design, and operational factors. After identifying the applicable control technologies, an economic evaluation must be conducted to rank the technologies according to their cost effectiveness. Management can then select the optimum NOx control technology for the specific unit.

It should be noted that the efficiencies of NOx control technologies are not additive, but rather multiplicative. Efficiencies for existing combustion devices have been demonstrated in terms of percent reduction from baseline emissions level. This must be taken into account when considering combinations of technology.

Consider, for example, the following hypothetical case. Assume a baseline NOx emissions level of 100 ppmv and control technology efficiencies as follows: low-excess-air operation (LEA), 10%; low-NOx burners (LNB), 40%; and flue gas recirculation (FGR). 60%. The three controls are installed in the progressive order of LEA-LNB-FGR.

It should also he noted that combining same-principle technologies (for example, two types of staged combustion) would not provide a further significant NOx reduction than either of the combination, since they operate on the same principle.

It must be emphasized that virtually all of the available control technologies have the potential for adversely affecting the performance and/or operation of the unit. The operation data obtained during the NOx characterization testing, therefore, must be carefully evaluated in light of such potential impacts before selecting applicable control technologies. Operational limitations such as flame envelope, furnace pressure, forced-draft fan capacity, and the like must he identified for each potential technology and their corresponding impacts quantified. (Reference (4), for example, discusses these items, in detail.)

As anyone familiar with combustion processes knows, one technology does not fit all. Careful consideration must he used to select the appropriate, compatible control technology or technologies to ensure compliance at least cost with minimal impact on performance, operation, and capacity.

History of Educational Technology

There is no written evidence which can tell us exactly who has coined the phrase educational technology. Different educationists, scientists and philosophers at different time intervals have put forwarded different definitions of Educational Technology. Educational technology is a multifaceted and integrated process involving people, procedure, ideas, devices, and organization, where technology from different fields of science is borrowed as per the need and requirement of education for implementing, evaluating, and managing solutions to those problems involved in all aspects of human learning.

Educational technology, broadly speaking, has passed through five stages.

The first stage of educational technology is coupled with the use of aids like charts, maps, symbols, models, specimens and concrete materials. The term educational technology was used as synonyms to audio-visual aids.

The second stage of educational technology is associated with the ‘electronic revolution’ with the introduction and establishment of sophisticated hardware and software. Use of various audio-visual aids like projector, magic lanterns, tape-recorder, radio and television brought a revolutionary change in the educational scenario. Accordingly, educational technology concept was taken in terms of these sophisticated instruments and equipments for effective presentation of instructional materials.

The third stage of educational technology is linked with the development of mass media which in turn led to ‘communication revolution’ for instructional purposes. Computer-assisted Instruction (CAI) used for education since 1950s also became popular during this era.

The fourth stage of educational technology is discernible by the individualized process of instruction. The invention of programmed learning and programmed instruction provided a new dimension to educational technology. A system of self-learning based on self-instructional materials and teaching machines emerged.

The latest concept of educational technology is influenced by the concept of system engineering or system approach which focuses on language laboratories, teaching machines, programmed instruction, multimedia technologies and the use of the computer in instruction. According to it, educational technology is a systematic way of designing, carrying out and evaluating the total process of teaching and learning in terms of specific objectives based on research.

Educational technology during the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age
Educational technology, despite the uncertainty of the origin of the term, can be traced back to the time of the three-age system periodization of human prehistory; namely the Stone Age, the Bronze Age, and the Iron Age.

Duringthe Stone Age, ignition of fire by rubbing stones, manufacture of various handmade weapon and utensils from stones and clothing practice were some of the simple technological developments of utmost importance. A fraction of Stone Age people developed ocean-worthy outrigger canoe ship technology to migrate from one place to another across the Ocean, by which they developed their first informal education of knowledge of the ocean currents, weather conditions, sailing practice, astronavigation, and star maps. During the later Stone Age period (Neolithic period),for agricultural practice, polished stone tools were made from a variety of hard rocks largely by digging underground tunnels, which can be considered as the first steps in mining technology. The polished axes were so effective that even after appearance of bronze and iron; people used it for clearing forest and the establishment of crop farming.

Although Stone Age cultures left no written records, but archaeological evidences proved their shift from nomadic life to agricultural settlement. Ancient tools conserved in different museums, cave paintings like Altamira Cave in Spain, and other prehistoric art, such as the Venus of Willendorf, Mother Goddess from Laussel, France etc. are some of the evidences in favour of their cultures.

Neolithic Revolution of Stone Age resulted into the appearance of Bronze Age with development of agriculture, animal domestication, and the adoption of permanent settlements. For these practices Bronze Age people further developed metal smelting, with copper and later bronze, an alloy of tin and copper, being the materials of their choice.

The Iron Age people replaced bronze and developed the knowledge of iron smelting technology to lower the cost of living since iron utensils were stronger and cheaper than bronze equivalents. In many Eurasian cultures, the Iron Age was the last period before the development of written scripts.

Educational technology during the period of Ancient civilizations
According to Paul Saettler, 2004, Educational technology can be traced back to the time when tribal priests systematized bodies of knowledge and ancient cultures invented pictographs or sign writing to record and transmit information. In every stage of human civilization, one can find an instructional technique or set of procedures intended to implement a particular culture which were also supported by number of investigations and evidences. The more advanced the culture, the more complex became the technology of instruction designed to reflect particular ways of individual and social behaviour intended to run an educated society. Over centuries, each significant shift in educational values, goals or objectives led to diverse technologies of instruction.

The greatest advances in technology and engineering came with the rise of the ancient civilizations. These advances stimulated and educated other societies in the world to adopt new ways of living and governance.

The Indus Valley Civilization was an early Bronze Age civilization which was located in the northwestern region of the Indian Subcontinent. The civilization was primarily flourished around the Indus River basin of the Indus and the Punjab region, extending upto the Ghaggar-Hakra River valley and the Ganges-Yamuna Doab, (most of the part is under today’s Pakistan and the western states of modern-day India as well as some part of the civilization extending upto southeastern Afghanistan, and the easternmost part of Balochistan, Iran).

There is a long term controversy to be sure about the language that the Harappan people spoke. It is assumed that their writing was at least seems to be or a pictographic script. The script appears to have had about 400 basic signs, with lots of variations. People write their script with the direction generally from right to left. Most of the writing was found on seals and sealings which were probably used in trade and official & administrative work.

Harappan people had the knowledge of the measuring tools of length, mass, and time. They were the first in the world to develop a system of uniform weights and measures.

In a study carried out by P. N. Rao et al. in 2009, published in Science, computer scientists found that the Indus script’s pattern is closer to that of spoken words, which supported the proposed hypothesis that it codes for an as-yet-unknown language.

According to the Chinese Civilization, some of the major techno-offerings from China include paper, early seismological detectors, toilet paper, matches, iron plough, the multi-tube seed drill, the suspension bridge, the wheelbarrow, the parachute, natural gas as fuel, the magnetic compass, the raised-relief map, the blast furnace, the propeller, the crossbow, the South Pointing Chariot, and gun powder. With the invent of paper they have given their first step towards developments of educational technology by further culturing different handmade products of paper as means of visual aids.

Ancient Egyptian language was at one point one of the longest surviving and used languages in the world. Their script was made up of pictures of the real things like birds, animals, different tools, etc. These pictures are popularly called hieroglyph. Their language was made up of above 500 hieroglyphs which are known as hieroglyphics. On the stone monuments or tombs which were discovered and rescued latter on provides the evidence of existence of many forms of artistic hieroglyphics in ancient Egypt.

Educational technology during Medieval and Modern Period
Paper and the pulp papermaking process which was developed in China during the early 2nd century AD, was carried to the Middle East and was spread to Mediterranean by the Muslim conquests. Evidences support that a paper mill was also established in Sicily in the 12th century. The discovery of spinning wheel increased the productivity of thread making process to a great extent and when Lynn White added the spinning wheel with increasing supply of rags, this led to the production of cheap paper, which was a prime factor in the development of printing technology.

The invention of the printing press was taken place in approximately 1450 AD, by Johannes Gutenburg, a German inventor. The invention of printing press was a prime developmental factor in the history of educational technology to convey the instruction as per the need of the complex and advanced-technology cultured society.

In the pre-industrial phases, while industry was simply the handwork at artisan level, the instructional processes were relied heavily upon simple things like the slate, the horn book, the blackboard, and chalk. It was limited to a single text book with a few illustrations. Educational technology was considered synonymous to simple aids like charts and pictures.

The year 1873 may be considered a landmark in the early history of technology of education or audio-visual education. An exhibition was held in Vienna at international level in which an American school won the admiration of the educators for the exhibition of maps, charts, textbooks and other equipments.

Maria Montessori (1870-1952), internationally renowned child educator and the originator of Montessori Method exerted a dynamic impact on educational technology through her development of graded materials designed to provide for the proper sequencing of subject matter for each individual learner. Modern educational technology suggests many extension of Montessori’s idea of prepared child centered environment.

In1833, Charles Babbage’s design of a general purpose computing device laid the foundation of the modern computer and in 1943, the first computing machine as per hi design was constructed by International Business Machines Corporation in USA. The Computer Assisted instruction (CAI) in which the computer functions essentially as a tutor as well as the Talking Type writer was developed by O.K. Moore in 1966. Since 1974, computers are interestingly used in education in schools, colleges and universities.

In the beginning of the 19th century, there were noteworthy changes in the field of education. British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC), right from its start of school broadcasts in 1920 had maintained rapid pace in making sound contribution to formal education. In the USA, by 1952, 20 states had the provision for educational broadcasting. Parallel to this time about 98% of the schools in United Kingdom were equipped with radios and there were regular daily programmes.

Sidney L. Pressey, a psychologist of Ohio state university developed a self-teaching machine called ‘Drum Tutor’ in 1920. Professor Skinner, however, in his famous article ‘Science of Learning and art of Teaching’ published in 1945 pleaded for the application of the knowledge derived from behavioral psychology to classroom procedures and suggested automated teaching devices as means of doing so.

Although the first practical use of Regular television broadcasts was in Germany in 1929 and in 1936 the Olympic Games in Berlin were broadcasted through television stations in Berlin, Open circuit television began to be used primarily for broadcasting programmes for entertainment in 1950. Since 1960, television is used for educational purposes.

In 1950, Brynmor, in England, used educational technological steps for the first time. It is to be cared that in 1960, as a result of industrial revolution in America and Russia, other countries also started progressing in the filed of educational technology. In this way, the beginning of educational technology took place in 1960 from America and Russia and now it has reached England, Europe and India.

During the time of around 1950s, new technocracy was turning it attraction to educations when there was a steep shortage of teachers in America and therefore an urgent need of educational technology was felt. Dr. Alvin C. Eurich and a little later his associate, Dr. Alexander J. Stoddard introduced mass production technology in America.

Team teaching had its origin in America in the mid of 1950’s and was first started in the year 1955 at Harvard University as a part of internship plan.

In the year 1956, Benjamin Bloom from USA introduced the taxonomy of educational objectives through his publication, “The Taxonomy of Educational Objectives, The Classification of Educational Goals, Handbook I: Cognitive Domain”.

In 1961, Micro teaching technique was first adopted by Dwight W. Allen and his co-workers at Stanford University in USA.

Electronics is the main technology being developed in the beginning of 21st century. Broadband Internet access became popular and occupied almost all the important offices and educational places and even in common places in developed countries with the advantage of connecting home computers with music libraries and mobile phones.

Today’s classroom is more likely to be a technology lab, a room with rows of students using internet connected or Wi-Fi enabled laptops, palmtops, notepad, or perhaps students are attending a video conferencing or virtual classroom or may have been listening to a podcast or taking in a video lecture. Rapid technological changes in the field of educational have created new ways to teach and to learn. Technological changes also motivated the teachers to access a variety of information on a global scale via the Internet, to enhance their lessons as well as to make them competent professional in their area of concern. At the same time, students can utilize vast resources of the Internet to enrich their learning experience to cope up with changing trend of the society. Now a days students as well teachers are attending seminars, conferences, workshops at national and international level by using the multimedia techno-resources like PowerPoint and even they pursue a variety of important courses of their choice in distance mode via online learning ways. Online learning facility has opened infinite number of doors of opportunities for today’s learner to make their life happier than ever before.

What is a Business Technology Coach?

There are countless computer consultants out there. You have the geeks, the gurus, the evangelists, the computer guys, techs, nerds, network consultants, computer consultants and technologists, just to name a few. At the end of it all, regardless of what they call themselves, each provides a different level of service and technical know-how. Too many IT consultants solve every problem by asking you to throw money at it. New computers, new servers, new monitors, new printers, but every time you spend money, you are cutting into profitability. The key is for you to identify the right person for your needs. If you run a company, what you really need is a business technology coach to help you make the right decisions about your technology.

A computer consultant is usually only interested in fixing your computers. He is not versed in any business functions and is therefore incapable of assisting you with many additional services that will maximize your information technology investments. The computer guy is great when the printer breaks or when the computer goes haywire, but a business technology coach can offer you significantly more value. Large corporations hire a Chief Information Officer to fulfill this role, but a small to mid-sized business may not need that degree of full time support. In these cases, a business technology coach will serve you well.

Business Technology is any technology that serves the needs of business, including accounting, networking, and other office systems. So, while an office productivity software suite (e.g. Microsoft Office) is considered business technology, the Microsoft Xbox is not. The realization that there is a growing divide between recreational gadgets and technologies that can directly impact the business world has led to a new way of examining the direct value of technology. Business technology must add value to your company or else it is just a waste of money. There are so many products to choose from, all with competing philosophies and learning curves. More often than not, you simply accept what came with the computer when you bought it and you make due. Or, worse yet, you fall prey to that fantastic salesperson that promises the answer to all your prayers and delivers another expensive nightmare. So, the next fact you need to accept is that not all business technology is valuable to your business!

The key to modern business success is to be sure to align your business goals with your technology plans. Business and technology alignment has become a Holy Grail for large multinational corporations. Because these industrial monsters are so large, anything they can do to make themselves more flexible, more responsive to their customers, is mandatory. Fortunately, most small and medium-sized businesses are agile and fast to respond. Chances are your top customers know how to get in touch with you at any time of the day. However, just because you do not suffer from the problems of these huge dinosaur businesses does not mean you cannot benefit from business / technology alignment. A business technology coach will assist you in aligning your business goals with your technology investments.

The second benefit you can derive from a business technology coach is an understanding of your business processes. No two businesses operate exactly alike. Chances are your business practices have developed organically as your company overcomes new challenges. However, organic growth has a tendency to develop substantial inefficiencies that can impact profits. I have seen cases where companies print and mail out zero dollar invoices ($0.00) simply because the system was poorly automated. This is inefficient and expensive, and can easily be remedied. A business technology coach will analyze how you work to pinpoint and correct these inefficiencies.

A business technology coach will then use his knowledge and understanding of your computer systems and business processes to assist you in building competitive advantage. According to a 2007 IBM study, a business technology coach should be “…engaged as a strategic partner for process and culture change.” This means that the lonely computer geek typing away for hours without human contact is not the right choice if you want to succeed. A business technology coach will be capable of working with others and must possess advanced communication and social skills to act as an agent of positive change. The computer geek that is incapable of communicating ideas or is lacking in social skills is not what you need.

Also, a business technology coach understands that his job is to make recommendations. Remember, you are the ultimate decision maker, so your coach needs to present you with options, instead of ultimatums. In some rare cases there is only one course of action, but in my experience I have rarely encountered them. A business technology coach will present you with multiple options to achieve your goals. However, if so instructed, your business technology coach will make decisions on your behalf based on solid experience and understanding of your objectives.

Technology is a fact of life. From cell phones to computers, technology has become a part of our everyday lives. Whether it’s to improve efficiency or to develop new services, companies all over the world are harnessing technology to improve the way they do business. Don’t trust your technology to someone that doesn’t understand business and how you work. A business technology coach can make the difference to your success.

Assistive Technology, Needs Assessment and Devices For Seniors and the Disabilities

Many senior citizens or people with disabilities or injuries make use of assistive technology-tools, products, or kinds of equipment that help people perform tasks and activities. They can be as simple as a hearing aid, a walker, or a magnifying glass, or as complex as a computer or motor scooter.

More specifically, assistive technology or adaptive devices are services or instruments that help senior citizens or people with disabilities perform the activities they used to perform but must now perform differently. Anything that helps the elderly continue to do daily activities in the context of in home care is considered assistive technology.

Assistive Technology Options and Devices

Many kinds of disabilities exist, so many kinds of assistive technology have been created to help people overcome a great range of disabilities. Some kinds of assistive technology are described below: 

  • Adaptive switches. These are modified switches that senior citizens can use to adjust devices like air conditioners, power wheelchairs, etc. by using the tongue or voice.
  • Communication equipment. This is anything that helps someone send and receive messages, such as a telephone amplifier.
  • Computer access. This is special software that helps senior citizens access the Internet or basic hardware like a modified mouse or keyboard to make the computer more user-friendly.
  • Education. This category includes audio books, Braille writing tools, and resources for people to get additional vocational training.
  • Home modifications. This can include some remodeling to overcome physical barriers and live more comfortably. An example is constructing a ramp to allow wheelchair access.
  • Tools for independent living. This is anything that allows senior citizens to enjoy daily life without additional assistance. An example is a handicapped-accessible bathroom with grab bars in the bathtub.
  • Job-related items. This is any process or device that facilitates your job. This could include a special type of chair or pillow if you work at a desk or a back brace if you perform physical labor.
  • Mobility aids. This is any device that allows a senior citizen to move around more easily, including a power wheelchair, a wheelchair lift, or a stair elevator.
  • Orthotic or prosthetic equipment. This is a tool that compensates for a missing or disabled body part. This could include shoe inserts for someone with fallen arches or an artificial arm for someone who has undergone an amputation.
  • Recreational assistance. This is a method or device that enables people with disabilities to enjoy fun activities. A couple examples are swimming lessons from recreational therapists and specially made skis for senior citizens who have lost a limb.
  • Seating aids. This is a modification to a chair, wheelchair, or motor scooter that helps someone remain upright, move up and down without assistance, or decrease the amount of pressure on the skin. This could be as simple as an extra pillow or as complex as a motorized seat.
  • Sensory enhancements. These are devices that help people who are partially blind or deaf to participate in more activities. This could include a caption option on a television for a senior citizen who is hard of hearing.
  • Therapy. This could include equipment or processes that encourage and work toward recovery after an illness or injury. This may involve both services and technology, like having a physical therapist use a specialized massage unit to restore a more complete range of motion in stiff muscles.
  • Transportation assistance. This category includes devices for senior citizens that facilitate getting into and out of vehicles and driving safely, including adjustable mirrors, seats, and steering wheels. Drive-up windows at the department of motor vehicles that allow the elderly to maintain and register their vehicles are also included.

Now that you know what falls into the category of assistive technology, you may be wondering what the benefits are. For starters, many senior citizens view assistive technology as a way to live independently without worrying about having long-term elder care or living in a nursing home. It allows in home care to be conducted in areas of living such as bathing and going to the bathroom.

Studies show that the majority of senior citizens who use methods of assistive technology have reduced their dependence on others, including paid assistance. Families may need to make monthly payments for this kind of equipment, but the costs are generally less than those associated with in home care or nursing homes. This means that assistive technology can reduce the cost of elder care for senior citizens and their families.

Assistive Technology Needs Assessment in the Elderly

Is assistive technology right for you? Planning and assessment are important parts of deciding whether to use assistive technology since it can interfere with your current services or the way in which those services are provided.

This assessment is most thorough when it involves many people within your spectrum of support. For instance, if you have trouble communicating or are hard of hearing, you may wish to consult with your doctor, an audiology specialist, a speech-language therapist, or other elder care provider to identify your specific problem and determine the plan that will best address your needs. If assistive technology is a part of this plan, your team can help decide which devices are appropriate for you, choosing the most effective tools at the lowest cost. Training to use the devices chosen may also be included in your plan.

A case study shows the benefits of conducting a needs assessment and working with a team in terms of improving the quality of life of an elderly woman:

A team worked together to help Christina find and buy a hearing aid that allowed her to hear well again. She could watch television again with the help of special magnification equipment and a telecaption decoder. More assistive technology allowed her to talk on the phone and use the computer like she used to. When combined with her hearing aid, assistive technology improved the quality and ease of Christina’s life.

When you’re considering assistive technology, it’s helpful to look at both simple and complex solutions to find the one that’s best for you over a range of time. Complex, high-tech solutions may be more expensive, but they’re usually more adaptable if your needs change over time. Simple, low-tech solutions may be cheaper in the short-run, but they aren’t as adaptable. Before purchasing any expensive assistive technology, make sure it can be upgraded to change with your needs and upgraded as improvements are designed. Here are some questions to ask when considering assistive technology:

  • Which tasks do you need help with, and how frequently do you need help?
  • Which types of assistive technology will enable you to be most independent?
  • Is there a more advanced device that addresses more than one of your needs?
  • Does the manufacturer have a preview policy so you can try out the equipment and return it for credit if it isn’t what you need?
  • How do you expect your needs to change over the next six months? the next six years or longer?
  • Is the equipment up-to-date? Will it likely be off the market in the near future?
  • Which kinds of assistive technology are available that meet your needs?
  • Which types of assistive technology have you used before, and how did those devices work?
  • Will you always need help with a certain task, and can the device be adjusted to fit your needs as your condition changes?

Costs and Payment Options for Assistive Technology

Another important aspect of deciding whether you’d like to use assistive technology is cost and financing. Currently, no single private insurance plan or public program will cover the entire cost of assistive technology under any circumstances, but Medicare Part B can cover up to 80 percent of the cost of equipment that falls under the category of “durable medical equipment.” This includes devices that are “primarily and customarily used to serve a medical purpose, and generally are not useful to a person in the absence of illness or injury.”

Some state-run Medicaid programs also cover some assistive technology. This may help you, but it will not cover the entire cost of buying an expensive device like a power wheelchair.

If you’re a senior citizen who is eligible for veterans’ benefits, you may also want to explore the possibility of financial assistance from the Department of Veterans Affairs (DVA). This agency has an existing structure to pay for the large volume of devices it purchases, and it invests in training people to operate assistive technology.

Other options to pay for assistive technology are private health insurance and paying with your own funds. Paying out-of-pocket is generally a viable option for simple items like modified eating utensils, but most senior citizens need assistance in paying for more complex devices. Another option is finding discounts, grants, or rebates from not-for-profit organizations or companies that want you to try a certain product that you might not otherwise consider. If you’re looking into this option, you may want to be careful-businesses with commercial interests have the potential to be fraudulent.

Since private health insurance does not cover the entire cost of this equipment, you may want to look into subsidy programs, which can provide some kinds of assistive technology at a reduced cost or for free.

Effects of Emerging Technologies on the Society

Advancement in technology has made the world go “gaga”. As far as technology is concerned, you can expect the unexpected or imagine the unimaginable. The world has left the stage of crude implementation. Every facet of life has been touched and affected by technology. The bewilderment of everyone is that existing technologies are fast becoming obsolete by the day; courtesy of advancement in technology. This article discusses the effects of emerging technology on the society.

Technology has affected and is still affecting people of all age brackets from all over the world. You can imagine the formats in which toddlers’ toys and items for old people are made these days. They are given touch of modernity to let them have the feel of the innovations the mind of the human person is capable of.

Internet Technology

Let us begin with Information Technology. Gone are the days when people melted for fear of where to get information or data for their usage. Whatever information you think you need has been well written out for you on the Internet. “Internet is the world on the computer”. The internet has a wealth of information on every area of human endeavour. It is a safe place of consultation or reference for students as well as professors. The internet is a place individuals and enterprise run to locate the information they need. For instance, when you need any service, just log into the Internet, and you will see one million and one individuals and organisations who render such services. Whatever it is you need, you can find it on the internet.

The world wide web as an aspect of technological advancement, has made the production and sharing of information a breeze. With the proper use of the internet, businesses that took “ages” to be accomplished are now executed within a twinkle of an eye. Even though the internet has numerous advantages, it has some disadvantages too. A lot of unhealthy materials are available on the internet. And these to the detriment of innocent minds. In as much as good people post relevant information on the net for the use of those who need them, people with bad intentions also post harmful materials on the internet. Materials on how to indulge in bad things abound on the internet. This is because a large part of the internet is not censored.

Technological advancements have positive and negative effects on us. Let us talk about other facets of latest technologies and their effects.

Nano technology

Nano technology, like the Internet technology is spreading like a wild fire and its future effects are unimaginable. Nano technology spreads through large parts of human life. In the area of human health, nano technology is used for the treatment of cancer. It is used through the infrared to dismantle cancer tumors. Besides the health sector where nano technology has proved its relevance, it is also a force in the electronic sector. With nano, devices or applications of different types and sizes can be built. As a matter of fact, the military seems to be using the nano technology than anyone else. They are projecting its usage for combat, espionage and so forth. Nano technology has unimaginable possibilities. If care is not taken, without nano technology, a lot of damages could be achieved. And the world that has been built for many years might be destroyed within a few moment.

Energy Technology

So much has come out under this category. We have the solar energy, the wind powered plants, hydrogen battery technology. These have proved really useful in place of their alternative technologies. They have helped to break monopoly of various power sectors. Many homes in the US and Europe power their homes with solar energy. This and others are fruits of alternative energy. As good as these are, they come with some environmental hazards. They generate a level of pollutions in our environments like air and water pollution and heat generation to mention but a few.

In a nutshell, as good and important as modern technologies are, efforts should be made to curb their negative impacts. Whenever there is a technological innovation, efforts should be made to forestall its negative impacts on the society.

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