Adaptive Technology Vs Assistive Technology: What's The Difference?

Author: Nicholas Sutedja   Date Posted:10 June 2022 

Adaptive Technology Vs Assistive Technology: What's The Difference? main image Adaptive Technology Vs Assistive Technology: What's The Difference? image

Adaptive Technology Vs Assistive Technology

The term “adaptive technology” is often used interchangeably with “assistive technology”, but this usage is incorrect. While adaptive and assistive technology may seem similar, their functions and uses are quite different

In this article, we explain the difference between adaptive technology and assistive technology, so you can understand our disability products more easily.


What is adaptive technology?

Adaptive technology refers to products designed for people living with disabilities, helping them to adapt to their circumstances and the environment around them. Unlike assistive technology, adaptive technology is rarely used by non-disabled people. 

Below, we have listed some examples of adaptive technologies.



A group of friends outdoors

One in five people in Australia have some form of disability, and 4.4% of Australians with a disability use a wheelchair. As you can see, many Australians rely on wheelchairs to get around daily — without a wheelchair, mobility would be near impossible. With this in mind, wheelchairs are most certainly a form of adaptive technology.


Sensory Equipment

Person reading braille

Another example of adaptive equipment relates to the senses, i.e. sensory equipment like Braille, large prints, tactile keyboards and screen readers. Using this adaptive equipment, people with vision impairments are able to participate more easily in society.


What is assistive technology?

Assistive technology refers to any product, piece of equipment or system designed to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of people living with disabilities. Essentially, assistive technology is a service or tool that helps elderly and/or disabled people do the activities they usually do but now have to learn to do differently. 

Here are some examples of assistive technology.


Arm assistance devices

JACO Robotic Arm

Dynamic arm assist devices are designed to help people with upper arm disabilities, neurological disorders or neuromuscular disorders to get moving again. They can also be used for rehabilitation following an accident, breast surgery, or even for people suffering from RSI/CANS or general back and shoulder pain. 

While using an arm assist device takes some getting used to, the benefits are undeniable — people with injuries or upper arm disabilities can regain their independence.


Scooters and Walkers

A couple with a mobility scooter

Older Australians and people with disabilities who can still walk can benefit from a mobility scooter or walker. Rather than being bound to their mobility aid, these individuals can use their aid when required and otherwise place it in storage.


Food preparation and dining aids

Food Preparation System

For those with upper arm disabilities, injuries or neurological conditions, food preparation and dining aids can be a huge advantage. See the food preparation system above, for example — rather than struggling to keep hold of the ingredients while cutting them, the food preparation system holds them in place. 

Even people with RSI/CANS can benefit from these tools!


Shop assistive and adaptive technology online with Active Mobility

Here at Active Mobility, we offer both assistive and adaptive technology to make everyday life easier for older Australians and people with disabilities. From dynamic arm assist devices to wheelchairs, mobility scooters, walkers and food preparation tools, we stock everything you need to maintain your independence.

Shop online today!