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ICCHP Tables of Contents: 940204060810-110-212-112-214-114-2

ICCHP'06: International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs

Fullname:ICCHP'06: Computers Helping People with Special Needs: 10th International Conference
Editors:Klaus Miesenberger; Joachim Klaus; Wolfgang L. Zagler; Arthur I. Karshmer
Location:Linz, Austria
Dates:2006-Jul-11 to 2006-Jul-13
Publisher:Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Series:Lecture Notes in Computer Science 4061
Standard No:DOI: 10.1007/11788713; ISBN: 978-3-540-36020-9 (print), 978-3-540-36021-6 (online); hcibib: ICCHP006
Links:Conference Website | Online Proceedings
  1. People with Disabilities: Accessible Content Processing
  2. People with Disabilities: Web Accessibility
  3. People with Disabilities: Automatic and Manual Evaluation of Websites
  4. People with Disabilities: Quality of Web Accessibility
  5. People with Disabilities: Accessible Tourism
  6. People with Disabilities: Materials for Teaching Accessibility and Design for All
  7. People with Disabilities: Entertainment Software Accessibility
  8. People with Disabilities: Human Computer Interface
  9. People with Disabilities: Assistive Homes and Environments
  10. People with Disabilities: Service Delivery
  11. People with Disabilities: Education and Training
  12. Deaf and Hard of Hearing People: Electronic Communication Aids
  13. People with Cognitive Problems and the Aging Population
  14. People with Specific Learning Difficulties
  15. People Using Augmented and Alternative Communication (AAC)
  16. People with Motor and Mobility Impairment: Human Computer Interaction, Rehabilitation
  17. People with Motor and Mobility Impairment: Innovative Interfaces to Wheelchairs
  18. Blind and Visually Impaired People: Human Computer Interface
  19. Blind and Visually Impaired People: Access to Information and Communication
  20. Blind People: Access to Graphics
  21. Blind People: Access to Mathematics
  22. Blind and Visually Impaired People: Mobility and Orientation
  23. Blind and Visually Impaired People: Education and Training

People with Disabilities: Accessible Content Processing

People with Disabilities: Accessible Content Processing BIBAFull-Text 1-5
  David Crombie
The Special Thematic Session (STS) on Accessible Content Processing is intended to provide a focus for several different activities which can be grouped under this area. The European Accessible Information Network (EUAIN) was established in order to bring together the different stakeholders in the accessible content processing chain and to build on common concerns. EUAIN has now completed a systemic overview of this area and will use this information to provide guidelines, training materials and input into standardisation activities. The papers in this STS address many of these issues.
HODDER -- A Fully Automatic Braille Note Production System BIBAFull-Text 6-11
  Matthias Leopold
We present the software Hodder which is able to generate Braille Music Notes fully automatically. Thereby we focus on flexibility, readability, quality and translation speed. The software is designed to be used within a team of professional Braille note transcribers and to take over much of the tedious part of their work. Moreover the software is able to be used stand-alone.
Maps Sonification System Using Digitiser for Visually Impaired Children BIBAFull-Text 12-15
  Gintautas Daunys; Vidas Lauruska
Presentation of graphical information is key problem during teaching of visually impaired children. The developed system is devoted for investigation of graphical information by blind user using a digitiser. SVG language with additional elements is used for describing of maps. Non-speech sounds are used to transfer information about colour. Alerting sound signals is issued near two regions boundary.
Document Processing for Accessibility: Standards and Initiatives BIBAFull-Text 16-23
  George Ioannidis; David Crombie; Francisco Martínez Calvo; Konstantina N. Geramani
This paper presents the Document Processing for Accessibility Workshop that is held at CEN/ISSS and summarizes its findings so far. It focuses on standards and initiatives that have been elaborated and concern document management and accessibility issues especially for the publishing industry. The paper provides also an outline of the work to be done and invites interested parties to take an active role in shaping the workshop.
Expressing Emotions Using Animated Text Captions BIBAFull-Text 24-31
  Raisa Rashid; Jonathan Aitken; Deborah I. Fels
Due to limitations of conventional text-based closed captions, expressions of paralinguistic and emotive information contained in the dialogue of television and film content are often missing. We present a framework for enhancing captions that uses animation and a set of standard properties to express five basic emotions. Using an action research method, the framework was developed from a designer's interpretation and rendering of animated text captions for two content examples.
Schulbuch Barrierefrei (Accessible School Books) -- Co-operation Between Publishers and Service Providers in Austria BIBAFull-Text 32-39
  Klaus Miesenberger; Reinhard Ruemer
This presentation outlines the co-operation between Austrian school book publishers and service providers for people with special needs which aims at making books available in electronic format. A project has been working on a) a minimum set of structural elements to be incorporated by publishers, b) know-how and handouts for publishers how to implement structured design using standard desktop publishing (DTP) systems, c) examples of new books and redesign existing books, d) training materials, workshops and seminars to transfer the know-how to other publishers and design agencies, e) a general agreement which gives the right of transferring books in electronic format to students with disabilities, f) a Document Rights Management System, g) a workflow for the co-operation between schools/teachers, service providers, publishers and the ministry.
Modelling Accessibility Constraints BIBAFull-Text 40-47
  Terje Gjøsæter; Jan Pettersen Nytun; Andreas Prinz; Mikael Snaprud; et al
This paper describes the combination of research topics from two projects focusing on web accessibility testing, and on metamodelling and high-level specification languages. This combination leads to a novel approach to accessibility assessment that will improve the understanding of accessibility issues, and explore the potential for generating executable accessibility tests based on accessibility constraint models.
Scientific PDF Document Reader with Simple Interface for Visually Impaired People BIBAFull-Text 48-52
  Toshihiro Kanahori; Masakazu Suzuki
We proposed our integrated system for scientific documents including mathematical formulae with speech output interface [1], named "ChattyInfty." This system consists of recognizer, editor and speech interface for scientific documents. Using this system, visually impaired people can read printed scientific documents with speech output. In this paper, we propose a new additional function of this system, which recognizes PDF documents. Using this function, visually impaired people can also read PDF documents including mathematical formulae with ChattyInfty. If PDF documents have embedded text, our PDF recognition engine does not only recognize PDF documents as page images but also utilizes the text information to verify its recognition results, to improve the recognition results. Recent commercial OCR software usually provides PDF output. Combining it with our PDF reader, users can get integrated recognition results of any such commercial OCR with Infty's results of mathematical formulae. This system also provides simple interface customized for visually impaired people. It enables them to read scientific document (as image files / PDF) in minimum steps of key operation.
English "Oblique" Listening System -- Rapid Listening System for the Blind and Visually Impaired, and Its Evaluation BIBAFull-Text 53-60
  Shinichi Torihara; Miyoko Nakamura; Nami Ueda; Takuya Wada; Shun Ishizaki
We propose an "oblique" listening system in the English language for the blind and visually impaired by controlling the speed of Text-to-Speech based on parts of speech in which the important parts are synthesized 'relatively' slower while the unimportant at the maximum speed. In the system evaluation experiment, English natives with vision impairments were required to listen to three short passages of Text-to-Speech at the three types of speed and answer the questions of comprehension after the base-line speed was calculated from the measured maximum speed of recognizing 'a word' and that of recognizing 'a sentence' for each subject. We controlled the Text-to-Speech speed: base-line, 'oblique listening' speed, and simple high speed, by which the duration is equal to the one by our system but without any speed variation. The results show that the "oblique" listening system is better than a simple high speed system even though not exceeding the base-line.
Creating Pictures by Dialogue BIBAFull-Text 61-68
  Ivan Kopecek; Radek Ošlejšek
This paper deals with the problem of generating a picture of a scene by means of describing it in the terms of natural language ontologies. The corresponding graphical format, being formally represented in the form of the Pawlak information system, involves a full semantic description of the picture. Therefore, the pictures generated in this way "blind-friendly", i.e. they can be automatically fully described. A simple example of such a picture generation is presented here.
Automatic Annotation of Geographic Maps BIBAFull-Text 69-76
  Mirko Horstmann; Wilko Heuten; Andrea Miene; Susanne Boll
In this paper, we describe an approach to generate semantic descriptions of entities in city maps so that they can be presented through accessible interfaces. The solution we present processes bitmap images containing city map excerpts. Regions of interest in these images are extracted automatically based on colour information and subsequently their geometric properties are determined. The result of this process is a structured description of these regions based on the Geography Markup Language (GML), an XML based format for the description of GIS data. This description can later serve as an input to innovative presentations of spatial structures using haptic and auditory interfaces.
Towards the Use of Ontologies for Improving User Interaction for People with Special Needs BIBAFull-Text 77-84
  Shuaib Karim; A. Min Tjoa
Formal description of concepts so that it may be processed by computers has great promises for people with special needs. By making use of ontologies, improved user interaction with personal information management system is possible for these people. An ontology using semantic web technology is proposed which formally describes the mapping information about user's impairments, and the available interface characteristics. Effort is made to enhance accessibility at a generic level by making it possible to enrich the ontology for a diverse range of users. Consequently users with all types of special needs are able to get already customized interfaces. Especially, the possible adaptation to our prototype Personal Information Management System SemanticLIFE [1] is the trigger for this investigation.
A Model for Accessible Information Networks -- Findings of the EUAIN Project BIBAFull-Text 85-91
  Benoît Guillon; Catherine Desbuquois; Dominique Burger
This paper proposes a model for Accessible Information Networks based on the experience of the "Serveur Hélène" project and on-going research within the European Specific Support Action EUAIN. It outlines the main components of the model, that should support contractual policies with publishers, as well as technical tools for improving the accessibility of the files provided.
Making the Past a Thing of the Future: Automated Workflow for the Conversion of Printed Items into Fully Structured Digital Objects Based on Common Open Metadata Standards BIBAFull-Text 92-95
  Claus Gravenhorst
This article discusses the basic need for accessible information, the METAe Project and its results as related to the digitisation of printed materials, the advantages of harvesting structural metadata during the process, an overview of the digitisation technology and workflow in the docWORKS conversion solution from CCS, and a perspective and conclusion section relating to these subjects highlighting examples of where the technology is in use today and how the information can be used in the future.
Accessible Navigation of Rich Media: Exposing Structure, Content and Controls in the Mobile User Interface BIBAFull-Text 96-99
  Markku T. Häkkinen
As rich media moves further into our daily lives, whether at home, work, or on the go, lack of accessibility in mainstream content and end-user devices remains a challenge. Digital Talking Books are an example of how accessible content that merges text, audio, and structure, can be delivered on specialized portable devices for use by those with print disabilities. Mainstream media formats and standards are evolving that allow structural and meta information to be included in multimedia, yet authors may not utilize such capabilities and playback systems may not expose them even if present. Music playlists, as found on ubiquitous media devices such as MP3 players, offer conceptual similarities to talking book navigation but lack accessibility. With the growing presence of multimedia enabled mobile phones and devices, and increased availability of mobile audio and video, the accessibility of the content and user interface becomes a critical issue.
The Essential Role of Libraries Serving Persons Who Are Blind and Print Disabled in the Information Age BIBAFull-Text 100-105
  George Kerscher
Traditionally, libraries serving persons who are blind or print disabled have had to create accessible, specially formatted materials and distribute these products to their patrons. As new technologies evolve, there is the vision of a time when materials published for the mainstream can be made accessible to persons with disabilities at the same time and at no greater cost than the versions targeted for the mainstream consumer.
   This paper and presentation will both provide you with an update on the "traditional" activities, and reveal the essential roles that many libraries for the blind are playing in the standards, open source software, and the consumer products arena that will lead to that vision of the future.

People with Disabilities: Web Accessibility

Browsing Web Based Documents Through an Alternative Tree Interface: The WebTree Browser BIBAFull-Text 106-113
  Esmond Walshe; Barry McMullin
The serial nature of speech technology seriously reduces the efficiency of blind individuals accessing web-based documents. Locating and manoeuvring to the required information can often be slow and laborious. This paper describes WebTree, a rather simple, yet highly customisable tree structured interface to web based documents, which provides page summaries based on the tree-like arrangement of the mark-up. The user dynamically controls how much of the document's tree hierarchy is to be exposed on a (virtual) screen at any given time. Thus, entire element sub-trees may be efficiently traversed with minimal difficulty. Methods for incorporating non-hierarchical elements (such as tables), are also discussed. In addition, an alternative search mechanism, which allows for the restriction of the search to specific mark-up elements, is examined. Finally, this paper includes the initial findings from user evaluation tests and provides some additional recommendations to increase the usability of the interface.
Web Pages for Blind People -- Generating Web-Based Presentations by Means of Dialogue BIBAFull-Text 114-119
  Ludek Bártek; Ivan Kopecek
This paper deals with the problem of generating web pages by means of dialogue. The generated web presentations fully meet accessibility requirements. The basic approach is described and discussed. An illustrative example is presented as well.
Architecture for Personal Web Accessibility BIBAFull-Text 120-127
  Myriam Arrue; Markel Vigo; Julio Abascal
Universal web accessibility is an inalienable objective to guarantee the civil right of all users to access to the Information Society and to avoid the digital gap. This is a long process based on the promulgation of inclusive laws, specification of accessibility guidelines, and development of adequate design methodologies and tools. To the short term, websites that do not fulfil the Universal Accessibility specifications can be used by specific groups of users that are not affected by the barriers present in these websites. Personal web accessibility concept focuses on the need of providing people with the adequate methods and tools to design websites so that adaptation and customization could be performed. This paper describes an architecture aiming to help any user to find, select and use websites that are currently accessible to her or him. In addition, it will aid web developers to create websites according to specific users' needs.
Dynamically Generated Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) for Barrier-Free Web-Applications BIBAKFull-Text 128-135
  Kerstin Altmanninger; Wolfram Wöß
Many graphics used in Web pages are very attractive to the eye and useful for many people. However, with the extensive use of pixel graphics such as charts without textual description or image maps, Web pages are encountering an ever increasing amount of barriers. There are many developments to aid people with visual impairments to gain access to graphics on the Web but most of these techniques are not universally applicable to other disabilities. It is essential that future development concentrates on accommodating all kinds of disabilities. The use of Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) provides new possibilities as well as new challenges for the accessibility of Web sites. Consequently, this paper introduces a solution to make all graphics accessible to each user-group, and visualizes them in the resultant prototype Access2Graphics.
Keywords: Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG); accessibility; elderly/disabled people; barrier-free graphics
Designing a Web Page Considering the Interaction Characteristics of the Hard-of-Hearing BIBAFull-Text 136-143
  Miki Namatame; Tomoyuki Nishioka; Muneo Kitajima
The purpose of this paper is to report a case study involving the successful redesigning of a Web page that was problematic for the hard-of-hearing. We found in our previous eye-tracking studies [1,2,3] that the page in question presented serious usability problems for the hard-of-hearing. Namely, the performance of hard-of-hearing participants was inferior to that of the hearing in terms of the following four performance measures: 1) scan patterns, 2) the number of errors and the time necessary to select the correct link, 3) the amount of time necessary to select a link, and 4) the types of selected links. We conjectured that these differences occurred because the informational organization of the original Web page was difficult for the hard-of-hearing to understand. Considering the Web interaction characteristics of the hard-of-hearing, we redesigned the page in two ways: 1) adding vertical lines that should function as visual support enabling the hard-of-hearing to grasp the informational structure easily, and 2) replacing difficult-to-understand labels with comprehensible representations. Observation of eye movements for the redesigned page revealed that the abovementioned differences disappeared, indicating that the redesign was successful. We believe that this case study exemplifies the successful redesigning of Web pages to make them more accessible to hard-of-hearing users.
Accessible Websites for People with Dementia: A Preliminary Investigation into Information Architecture BIBAFull-Text 144-151
  Nada Savitch; Panayiotis Zaphiris
People with dementia have not traditionally been seen as a user group for website development. This paper describes the first attempts to discover some of navigation design needs when developing an information-based website for people with dementia. A card sorting methodology is described using existing information that is provided for people with dementia about their condition. Some participants with dementia found it difficult to group concepts together. This could have a profound affect on the design of good websites.

People with Disabilities: Automatic and Manual Evaluation of Websites

People with Disabilities: Automatic and Manual Evaluation of Web Sites BIBAFull-Text 152-155
  Helen Petrie; Gerhard Weber
Quality of websites is a key factor in addressing all users. Besides functional issues is the design of each web page affecting the ability to navigate and interact with web applications. Web designers are only slowly becoming aware of accessibility issues, more tools, better processes in creating high quality websites and a better understanding of guidelines is needed.
Web Accessibility Testing: When the Method Is the Culprit BIBAFull-Text 156-163
  Giorgio Brajnik
Testing accessibility of a web site is still an art. Lack of appropriate definitions of accessibility and of standard testing methods are some of the reasons why Web accessibility is so difficult to achieve.
   The paper describes a heuristic walkthrough method based on barriers; it then discusses how methods like this can be evaluated, and it shows experimental data about validity and usefulness of the method when compared to standards review.
Test Case Description Language (TCDL): Test Case Metadata for Conformance Evaluation BIBAFull-Text 164-171
  Christophe Strobbe; Sandor Herramhof; Evangelos Vlachogiannis; Carlos A. Velasco
Automatic benchmarking of evaluation and repair tools (ERT) has been recently the subject of several studies as there is a growing interest because of legal and commercial issues on Web compliance with different criteria and standards. This paper addresses the development of a description language targeted to formally represent test case metadata. This language was used to develop a WCAG 2.0 test suite that will support the benchmarking of ERT with regard to the aforementioned W3C recommendation.
The BenToWeb XHTML 1.0 Test Suite for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 BIBAFull-Text 172-175
  Christophe Strobbe; Sandor Herramhof; Evangelos Vlachogiannis; Johannes Koch; et al
This paper presents a detailed description of the work carried out under the umbrella of the EU-funded project BenToWeb to develop a complete XHTML 1.0 Test Suite in regard to conformance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 from the W3C. This initial work covered the Working Draft version of June 2005. A thorough evaluation involving end users is carried out at the moment of writing this paper.
An Environment for Defining and Handling Guidelines for the Web BIBAFull-Text 176-183
  Barbara Leporini; Fabio Paternò; Antonio Scorcia
Several accessibility and usability guidelines are proposed more and more. In this paper we present an environment for defining, handling and checking guidelines for the Web. The goal of such a tool is to support developers and evaluators in flexibly handling multiple sets of guidelines, which can be dynamically considered in the evaluation process. In particular, an interactive editor has been designed to assist the evaluators in abstracting and specifying new and existing guidelines in our XML-based Guideline Abstraction Language (GAL), which are then stored in external files. Our tool is able to check any guidelines specified in this language without requiring changes in its implementation.
Interpreting Results from Large Scale Automatic Evaluation of Web Accessibility BIBAFull-Text 184-191
  Christian Bühler; Helmut Heck; Olaf Perlick; Annika Nietzio; Nils Ulltveit-Moe
The large amount of data produced by automatic web accessibility evaluation has to be preprocessed in order to enable disabled users or policy makers to draw meaningful conclusions from the assessment. We study different methods for interpretation and aggregation of the results provided by automatic assessment tools. Current approaches do not meet all the requirements suggested in the literature. Based on the UCAB approach described in UWEM 0.5 we develop a new aggregation function targeted at the requirements.
Managing and Monitoring Web Site Accessibility BIBAFull-Text 192-198
  Shadi Abou-Zahra
Evaluating Web sites for accessibility is a quality assurance process that becomes increasingly difficult to manage as the size and complexity of a Web site increases. There is a growing need to effectively manage and monitor the accessibility of Web sites throughout the development process. The Evaluation and Report Language (EARL) is a semantic Web vocabulary, and is a W3C royalty-free format for expressing test results. While EARL can be used to support generic Web quality assurance processes, it has been specifically developed to assist Web accessibility evaluation reviews. EARL facilitates the exchange of test results between development and quality assurance tools. While a lot of development has already gone into EARL and tools that support the EARL format, a lot more work and research remains to be addressed.
Semi-automatic Evaluation of Web Accessibility with HERA 2.0 BIBAFull-Text 199-206
  Carlos Benavídez; José L. Fuertes; Emmanuelle Gutiérrez; Loïc Martínez
The evaluation of the accessibility of a web site calls for the participation of human evaluators: most of the checkpoints to be assessed cannot be evaluated fully automatically. This paper presents the second version of HERA, a multilingual online tool developed by the Sidar Foundation that automatically performs a preliminary analysis of a web page and then provides support for the complete manual evaluation process. This description includes the justification for a newer version, the technologies used, and the main strengths of HERA 2.0 as compared with other tools and version 1.0.
Automatic Control of Simple Language in Web Pages BIBAFull-Text 207-214
  Constantin Jenge; Sven Hartrumpf; Hermann Helbig; Rainer Osswald
The use of simple and easy to understand language is an essential requirement for web documents to be accessible by people with cognitive or reading disabilities. We present an architecture that scores the readability of textual content automatically and also provides hints about possible obstacles to readability in the given text. Our approach is based on a natural language processing framework that supports all levels of linguistic analysis, ranging from the morphological analysis of words to the semantic analysis of sentences and texts.
Test Case Management Tools for Accessibility Testing BIBAFull-Text 215-222
  Sandor Herramhof; Helen Petrie; Christophe Strobbe; Evangelos Vlachogiannis; et al
Two tools are presented which support test case management for accessibility test suites. Creating test suites for the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 is one major objective of the EU-funded project BenToWeb. Parsifal is a desktop application which easily allows editing test description files. Test description files compose an XML layer containing descriptive information about the particular test cases. Amfortas is a web application which allows controlled evaluation of the test suites by users. Controlled in that sense means, that Amfortas not only stores the evaluation results, but also is aware of the physical and technical condition of the evaluator.
Testing Web Navigation for All: An Agent-Based Approach BIBAFull-Text 223-229
  Martin González; Marcos González; Cristóbal Rivera; Ignacio Pintado; Agueda Vidau
Laboratory navigability testing is a powerful technique to obtain a picture of the user's mental representation of the navigation model of a web site. However, bringing volunteers to the laboratory to test our prototypes is quite expensive and even impossible for certain users with specific interaction needs. Since the tests are performed using equipments different from those employed by the real user, the impact that the computer performance has on navigation is missed. In this paper we propose a remote testing approach, performing navigability testing in the user's home, employing special silent data-gathering software agents, which are able to measure the user accuracy when performing navigation tasks.
University of Illinois Tools and Techniques for Functional Web Accessibility BIBAFull-Text 230-233
  Hadi Bargi Rangin
Functional web accessibility goes beyond complying with the technical requirements of Section 508 or W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 1.0. Current web accessibility policies and practices favor an "accessible repair" approach to web accessibility, which lead to resources that might meet the technical requirements of accessibility guidelines, but are still not functionally usable by people with disabilities. The University of Illinois at Urbana/Champaign (UIUC) has developed a set of HTML best practices and accessibility management and visualization tools to improve the design and verification of the functional accessibility of web resources. The goal of these practices and tools is to support developers and administrators in creating and verifying the functional accessibility of their web resources. The practices encourage developers to use forward looking web design that improves the accessibility of web resources to everyone, including people with disabilities, by making web resources more adaptable to a wider range of technologies and user preferences.
A Proposed Architecture for Large Scale Web Accessibility Assessment BIBAKFull-Text 234-241
  Mikael Holmesland Snaprud; Nils Ulltveit-Moe; Anand Balachandran Pillai; et al
This paper outlines the architecture of a system designed to demonstrate large scale web accessibility assessment developed in a European research project. The system consists of a set of integrated software components designed to automatically evaluate accessibility metrics for a large number of websites and present results in a common report. The system architecture is designed to be maintainable, scalable, and extensible in order to facilitate further development of the tool. To meet these design criteria within a limited set of resources, an Open Source approach is adopted both for selecting, designing and developing the software.
Keywords: Software architecture; Web accessibility evaluation; free/open source software

People with Disabilities: Quality of Web Accessibility

People with Disabilities: Quality of Web Accessibility BIBAFull-Text 242-244
  Dominique Burger
This session has been design as to discuss several and various aspects involved in the design of quality and to examine how e-accessibility may impact this general process.
Towards Web Accessibility Certification: The Findings of the Support-EAM Project BIBAKFull-Text 245-252
  Dominique Burger; Pierre Guillou
This paper presents the results of a European Specific Support Action whose objective was to explore the possibility to certify the accessibility of Internet services and the possible implications for a eAccessibility Quality Mark. The project initiated and conducted a CEN workshop which produced a CEN Workshop Agreement (CWA) identifying three possible schemes for Web accessibility certification, namely inspection according to the ISO/IEC 17020, certification according to the EN 45011 and Supplier's Declaration of Conformity according to the ISO/IEC 17050. The CEN workshop also recommended the creation of an Institute whose objective would be to harmonise the interpretation and implementation of the W3C/WAI Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) in Europe. The Institute would create, promote and maintain a Quality Mark.
Keywords: eAccessibility; Web accessibility; Conformity; Certification; Supplier's declaration; Quality Mark
Raising the Expertise of Web Designers Through Training -- The Experience of BFWD -- Accessible Web Design (Barrierefreies Webdesign) in Austria BIBAFull-Text 253-257
  Klaus Miesenberger; Daniela Ortner
Over the last years a well elaborated body of knowledge in "Web Accessibility" has become available. Awareness and in accordance legal directives today ask for application of this knowledge. The BFWD post graduate course, a comprehensive university course on accessible web design, is a pro active reaction to this an increasing demand.
The Role of Benchmarking in Concerted Actions to Increase Accessibility BIBAFull-Text 258-262
  Finn Aslaksen; Frank Fardal; Mikael Snaprud
This paper covers "soft measures" that can be used in a "stick and carrot" strategy to improve accessibility to web sites. Two examples of benchmarking are presented. The first is the benchmarking of 700 Norwegian public web sites that has been carried out three times the last years, giving experiences on how to carry out the analyses and how to use the results for awareness raising and stimulation to improvement. The second is the planned European Internet Accessibility Observatory, EIAO. This will be capable of large-scale web assessment and may speed up the effects of benchmarking as a tool for awareness raising.
A Ubiquitous Social Community Portal Service for Social Networking with Convenient Accessibility BIBAFull-Text 263-270
  Yung Bok Kim
A ubiquitous social community portal service for social networking was studied with short International Domain Names (IDN) as a convenient mobile user interface (UI) for the disabled and elderly. Single-character multilingual domain-names are easy for the disabled and elderly people to memorize and type in to access social information. Multi-lingual single-character domain names with text-based social information are more convenient than long URL strings to retrieve information and to give short notice of information for social networking. We introduce a ubiquitous social community portal 'ktrip.net', that has real-time Text to Speech (TTS) functionality with text-based contents in social networking service, using a tiny 'hand-board' for alumni, relatives and any special groups.
Web Accessibility Conformity Assessment -- Implementation Alternatives for a Quality Mark in Austria BIBAFull-Text 271-278
  Marie-Luise Leitner; Klaus Miesenberger; Daniela Ortner; Christine Strauss
Various European Union initiatives have focused on the dissemination and harmonization of approaches for assessing the conformity of web accessibility. This paper suggests a scenario-based decision support for the implementation of a web accessibility quality mark in Austria on the basis of a framework proposed in a CEN Workshop Agreement. The paper analyzes different implementation alternatives in order to facilitate and accelerate the realisation of such approaches at the national level and to encourage other European countries to adopt selected elements for their own initiation.
Accessible Interfaces to Empower the User BIBAFull-Text 279-286
  Mari Luz Guenaga; Javier Oliver; Ander Barbier
Highly interactive interfaces, where complex information is presented and managed, need further research. Existing guidelines, techniques and recommendations focus on the user accessing, reading and understanding content and services, but there is the need to go beyond, and convert users into authors, editors or managers of products and services provided by ICT. DAIA project (Accessible Design of Advance Interfaces, a practical application) has contributed to the understanding of human behavior in this context and to a better approach of guidelines to improve this kind of interfaces. Users with disabilities have broadly contributed to the success of this project through a web questionnaire and a software prototype testing.
A GOMS Model for Keyboard Navigation in Web Pages and Web Applications BIBAFull-Text 287-294
  Martin Schrepp; Patrick Fischer
An unlimited keyboard support is one of the main accessibility requirements for web pages and web applications. But it is not sufficient that the user can perform all actions on the page using the keyboard. In addition designers of web sites or web applications have to make sure that keyboard users can use their pages with acceptable performance. We present GOMS models for mouse and keyboard navigation in web pages and web applications. These models can be used to compare keyboard navigation with mouse navigation. Such a comparison allows us to decide if the amount of keyboard support for a web page or web application is sufficient or if there is an unacceptable disadvantage for keyboard users.

People with Disabilities: Accessible Tourism

People with Disabilities: Accessible Tourism Introduction to the Special Thematic Session BIBAFull-Text 295-297
  Franz Pühretmair
Making tourism accessible means to make tourism enjoyable for everyone, whether the tourist is a young or an old tourist, a wheelchair user, a visually or hearing impaired person, a mother with a baby carriage, a single parent family, a traveler with heavy bulky baggage or someone recovering from an accident or an illness. The accessibility itself refers to the physical accessibility of the infrastructure, facilities and services at the holiday location as well as to the accessibility and availability of information regarding on-site accessibility. Addressing accessible tourism, the tourism industry can gain an economic advantage and an added value for tourism destinations, which attract the expanded market of all tourists.
Accessibility Add-on Box Enabling Barrier-Free Tourism Information Systems (TIS) BIBAKFull-Text 298-305
  Michael Winkler; Wolfram Wöß
Barrier-free tourism as an enormous market potential affects the whole tourism chain covering all tourism objects from arrival, accommodations, restaurants, activities on holiday resorts up to the departure process. In order to offer barrier-free tourism, two kinds of accessibility have to be considered. Tourism accessibility extends common tourism object especially with information concerning the requirements of disabled people. Web accessibility is responsible for the presentation of tourism accessibility in a transparent and accessible way. This paper introduces an Accessibility Add-on Box as extension for existing tourism information systems which supports both providers of tourism objects in adding extra accessibility information to tourism objects as well as tourists with disabilities in retrieving required accessibility information.
Keywords: Tourism information systems (TIS); accessibility; elderly/disabled people; barrier-free tourism; eTourism
Development of a Mobile Tourist Information System for People with Functional Limitations: User Behaviour Concept and Specification of Content Requirements BIBAFull-Text 306-313
  Sascha M. Sommer; Marion Wiethoff; Sari Valjakka; Dionisis Kehagias; Dimitrios Tzovaras
The paper describes the specification of content requirements for a new mobile tourist information service for people with functional limitations. The theoretical background for the specification of content requirements is based on action and activity theory. The framework enables the division of complex activities into smaller functional units in order to analyse the information needs of user groups with different types of functional limitations. The approach provides results in the form of information elements and attributes which can be easily translated into a machine-readable language.
Objective Accessibility Assessment of Public Infrastructures BIBAFull-Text 314-321
  Christophe Ponsard; Vincent Snoeck
More than 30% of the population are experiencing daily problems to access public infrastructures. Despite this, there is still no effective and widely adopted method to measure accessibility, inform users and incite managers to improve their infrastructure.
   The Passe-Partout Index was designed which such goals in mind. Starting from a thorough accessibility requirements analysis accounting for obstacles related to various impairments, a complete set of measurable criteria and evaluation rules were developed. Those enable an precise, relevant, informative and objective assessment of the accessibility of public infrastructures.
BAIM -- Information for People with Reduced Mobility in the Field of Public Transport BIBAFull-Text 322-328
  Christian Bühler; Helmut Heck; Dirk Sischka; Josef Becker
The German project BAIM aims at supporting or enabling the active and independent participation of people with reduced mobility in public transportation by the provision of usergroup-oriented accessible information services on barrier-free travelling opportunities. Existing regional and nation-wide information services are enhanced with static and dynamic information on the accessibility of public transportation vehicles, buildings and other facilities which form part of a barrier-free travelling chain. Information and services will be accessible before and during the travel.
Accessible Information Space to Promote Accessible Tourism BIBAFull-Text 329-336
  Franz Pühretmair; Klaus Miesenberger
Currently about 10-20% of the population are affected by a disability from temporary or permanent nature. For these people accessibility is a requirement and a necessity. The implementation of accessibility concerns all areas of he society, including tourism objects and tourism services. Besides being a social demand, accessibility has an economic dimension and is an indicator for quality, a trademark and a competitive advantage. So far, the tourism industry has hardly recognized the economic dimension of accessibility. Often the lack of not supporting and promoting accessibility is a combination of missing knowledge about requirements and needs of people with disabilities and the missing of standardized methods to evaluate accessibility, categorize and map it to standardized accessibility labels.

People with Disabilities: Materials for Teaching Accessibility and Design for All

People with Disabilities: Materials for Teaching Accessibility and Design for All BIBAFull-Text 337-340
  Gerhard Weber; Julio Abascal
The growing interest on teaching accessibility and design for all requires good teaching material. While the research body is growing, emphasis for teaching materials is less developed. We identify a few criteria for teaching materials and identify their role in curriculum and course development.
Teaching Web Accessibility with "Contramano" and Hera BIBAFull-Text 341-348
  Carlos Benavídez; José L. Fuertes; Emmanuelle Gutiérrez; Loïc Martínez
There is a need for training in design for all both at universities and in organisations, particularly as regards accessible web design. In this paper we present the experiences of the Sidar Foundation and the Technical University of Madrid in teaching web accessibility, focusing on the use of two key materials. The first one is Contramano, a fictitious web site designed to fail every accessibility checkpoint. It can be used to give examples of bad practices or as a basis for short exercises focused on specific checkpoints. The second material is the HERA tool, an on-line evaluation tool that has been designed to assist the manual evaluation of web accessibility. The paper will present the experience of using these materials in both higher education and other courses.
Introducing Media Managers to Usability and Accessibility BIBAFull-Text 349-352
  Christoph Haffner; Gerhard Weber
The degree program for M.Sc. Multimedia Management includes teaching on basic aspects of usability and accessibility. Our approach is to introduce accessibility issues as an application of a more general learning objective. Learners experience accessibility issues indirectly when working on a project involving multiple students. Two case studies are presented: a) developing an accessible Flash-based web interface and b) the heuristic evaluation of the usability of a novel software package. 17 students participated in a questionnaire allowing to assess the effectiveness of our approach.
Evaluating the Length of Virtual Horizontal Bar Chart Columns Augmented with Wrench and Sound Feedback BIBAFull-Text 353-360
  Tatiana G. Evreinova; Grigori Evreinov; Roope Raisamo
Augmented visualization of the mathematic and scientific data is an essential aid in training blind students' pre-calculus skills. Compared to existing multidimensional wrench-reflection interfaces, one-dimensional stylus-based interaction concept could support blind users with reasonable feedback in different tasks. We designed a mock-up of the cable-suspended haptic interface and a match game-like piece of software to investigate the perception features of the length of the virtual horizontal bar chart columns augmented with wrench and sound feedback. The performance of the eight blindfolded subjects was evaluated in terms of the number of repeated inspections to detect twin chart columns with similar length, and the task completion time required to perform the chart inspection. The experience acquired within simulated gameplay conditions with the use of implemented cable-suspended interface can be applied in developing novel didactic tools for training blind students in estimating linear dimensions of the simulated objects.
"Assistec" -- A University Course on Assistive Technologies BIBAFull-Text 361-368
  Kerstin Matausch; Barbara Hengstberger; Klaus Miesenberger
Research results concerning Assistive Technologies show a growing demand of experts on AT deriving from an increase in use of Assistive Technologies which can be seen as an indirect result of worldwide population development trends. According to these recent changes efforts on inclusion of people with disabilities and older adults is of prime importance. Due to these facts the Institute Integriert Studieren started developing a new university course on Assistive Technologies. The characteristics are the composition of the course and its interdisciplinary content. Graduates will be awarded with an academic title. The following article describes the idea of the training, its contents, its realisation and its expected impacts.

People with Disabilities: Entertainment Software Accessibility

People with Disabilities: Entertainment Software Accessibility BIBAFull-Text 369-371
  Dominique Archambault
The commercial market for computer games and other multimedia products is extremely large and young people have a considerable experience of such games. Disabled users have very limited access to this important part of the youth culture. Indeed there are few entertaining computer games which are accessible for them. Research and development in the field of IT and the disabled has focused on education rather than leisure.
Semi Automatic Generator of Tactile Video Games for Visually Impaired Children BIBAFull-Text 372-379
  Alexis Sepchat; Nicolas Monmarché; Mohamed Slimane; Dominique Archambault
Currently, few video games are accessible for visually impaired people. Nevertheless, there are two ways in order to improve video games accessibility: the use of sound or the use of touch. Even if the latter turns out to be the main exploited solution, the use of touch remains substantial. Indeed, touch is the base of Braille learning and Braille knowledge is the only way for visually impaired persons to access written information alone without any technical help such as computer and vocal analysis [1]. This article introduces our works about tactile video games. It shows games like Snake or Maze, which can be played from a Braille display. Finally, these works have led us to think about the way to introduce tactile games as play aspect in Braille learning [2,3].
Making the Mainstream Accessible: What's in a Game? BIBAFull-Text 380-387
  Matthew T. Atkinson; Sabahattin Gucukoglu; Colin H. C. Machin; Adrian E. Lawrence
Though accessible gaming is a well-established phenomenon, few mainstream applications of it exist. We present some of the work of the AGRIP project -- an effort to develop techniques to render modern first-person shooter games accessible to the blind and vision-impaired. We discuss some of the low-level accessibility infrastructure employed in the game AudioQuake and compare it to other contemporary research. The project's ultimate goals of generalisation and use of the technology in educational settings are also introduced.
Access Invaders: Developing a Universally Accessible Action Game BIBAFull-Text 388-395
  Dimitris Grammenos; Anthony Savidis; Yannis Georgalis; Constantine Stephanidis
This paper depicts the notion of Universally Accessible Games and presents the development of a related action game entitled Access Invaders. The design of the game's user interface which accommodates concurrently the needs of people with diverse abilities is described, along with the approach followed to adapt the game logic and content to achieve accessibility. In this context, the concept of Parallel Game Universes is introduced and suggested as a solution for the creation of multiplayer universally accessible action games.
Internet and Accessible Entertainment BIBAFull-Text 396-402
  Morten Tollefsen; Are Flyen
Young people with disabilities should be entitled to use technology for entertainment, but research and development in IT and the disabled has not typically focused on pleasurable activities. It is therefore important to set up guidelines that facilitate accessibility, develop good examples of accessible computer games, and not least, utilize the great potential of technology to include persons with different requirements.
Guidelines for the Development of Accessible Computer Games BIBAFull-Text 403-406
  Roland Ossmann; Klaus Miesenberger
Games are very important for learning, teaching, entertainment, inclusion. But they are of the most challenging applications concerning accessibility, and usability for people with disabilities. Especially in the context of playing together or in groups equal access is critical. In this paper we will present first attempts to define games accessibility guidelines helping game developers to design their products in a way that assistive technologies can interact with the game interface and that the parameters of usage can be adapted to the needs of people with disabilities.

People with Disabilities: Human Computer Interface

A Classification, Based on ICF, for Modelling Human Computer Interaction BIBAFull-Text 407-414
  M. Billi; L. Burzagli; P. L. Emiliani; F. Gabbanini; P. Graziani
The present paper describes a study on the use of the International Classification of Functioning Disability and Health (ICF) of the World Health Organization (WHO) for modelling the interaction between humans and devices within the context of the Information Society. An extension of the human abilities section of ICF and an ICF-like classification for ICT interactions and the environment are proposed.
Evaluation of Reaction Forces During Human Computer Interaction for Optimization and Development -- A Pilot Research BIBAFull-Text 415-420
  Stefan Mina; Lisa Ehrenstrasser; Robert Lurf; Barbara Prazak
The described work focuses on the analysis how users interact with specific human machine interfaces and how shape and tactile properties influence this interaction. Results gained by such investigations should help to obtain better knowledge of human computer interaction in general and about possible influences of diseases.
   Based on this knowledge it should be possible to fit and optimize human machine interfaces in a way that is not only dependent on the professionist performing this task. Also for the development of new device this knowledge and reliable data is essential.
A User-Orientation Evaluation Framework: Assessing Accessibility Throughout the User Experience Lifecycle BIBAFull-Text 421-428
  Alexandros Mourouzis; Margherita Antona; Evagelos Boutsakis; Constantine Stephanidis
Today, as the users and contexts of use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) become more diverse, there is a significant need to understand all the factors that may affect the quality of the user-experience, and to measure them systematically. This paper proposes an evaluation framework for specifying and measuring the user-orientation of interactive products. The term "user-orientation" refers to the extent to which target users (will) find the product acceptable at all phases of the user experience lifecycle. The proposed framework incorporates accessibility as a basic determinant of acceptability and long-term adoption. It can be employed effectively in the evaluation of systems that are aimed to be accessible and usable by diverse users (e.g., public systems) or by people with disability.
Basic Research of Input Support Device by Using Sympathetic Skin Response BIBAFull-Text 429-436
  Chikamune Wada; Fumihiko Masuda
SSR is a biomedical signal, that reflects the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, and can be affected by cognitive thinking an decision making. We hypothesized that the SSR response could be used as a switch for an input support device for the ALS patients. In this paper, we investigated whether or not the SSR response could be used as a switch for an input support device for the ALS patients.
Unskilled Finger Key Pressing and Brain Coherence BIBAFull-Text 437-441
  Ling-Fu Meng; Chiu-Ping Lu; Ching-Horng Chen
To press a computer key by an unskilled finger is sometimes an adaptive way to successfully access computer for the persons with quadriplegia. The efficiency of the unskilled site during the learning process should be addressed. Currently, we also want to know how the brain works in this unskilled situation during the learning process. Therefore, this combined motor behavioral and brain electrophysiological study was conducted. Since it was not easy to invite the persons with quadriplegia to participate electrophysiological studies, we invited eight typical college students to participate our study. Each of them tried to press the left, middle, and right keys for 200 times by their 2nd, 3rd and 4th fingers respectively in a randomized order. The event-related coherence of the EEG was calculated to find out the functional connection among brain areas under unskilled (4th) and skilled (2nd) conditions. The result suggested that the alpha band synchronization between C3 and C4 electrodes under the unskilled condition was weaker than that under the skilled condition. It is likely that the performance of an unskilled finger was correlated to the weaker brain coherence. The brain might need some time to establish connections among different regions in the cortex during the learning process especially when using the unskilled control site.
Customizing User Interfaces with Input Profiles BIBAFull-Text 442-449
  Mario Mühlehner
In this paper I will present an approach to design custom user interfaces in order to tailor the human-machine-interaction to individual user skills and preferences. These so called input profiles play a crucial role in the HeadControl+ framework [2].
Computerized Assessment Approach for Evaluating Computer Interaction Performance BIBAFull-Text 450-456
  Ming-Chung Chen; Chi-Nung Chu; Ting-Fang Wu; Chih-Ching Yeh
This study presents a computerized assessment approach for evaluating a subject's pointing and selecting proficiency using computer input tools, to aid access tool selection for users with severe disabilities. The CAT system consists of three subsystems. The CAT system not only provides clinicians with an objective means of evaluating clients' specific mouse operating difficulties, but also allows them to compare the performance improvement made by a client make during the device selection and training period. The client's performance in each assessment task is assessed on the basis of speed, accuracy and efficiency. Besides introducing the CAT system, this study also describes an example of adopting the CAT system to assist a client to select a suitable pointing device.

People with Disabilities: Assistive Homes and Environments

People with Disabilities: Assistive Homes and Environments BIBAFull-Text 457-460
  Gerhard Nussbaum
Assistive Homes and Environments are a category of Smart Homes and Environments and are an approach to independent living. All important devices are linked together and allow their integrated control by an accessible user interface. These environments have the ability to compensate some of the occupant's disabilities and therefore enhance the occupant's independence. This special thematic session deals with Assistive Homes and Environments and related developments and research. The topics reach from "Smart and Assistive Homes" over "Control of ICT devices by eye gaze" to "Health monitoring systems for elderly and disabled people".
Prototyping and Evaluation of New Remote Controls for People with Visual Impairment BIBAFull-Text 461-468
  Michiaki Yasumura; Ryo Yoshida; Megumi Yoshida
Many new home appliances being introduced to the market cannot be fully used by people with visual impairment due to lack of non-visual feedback. We have developed two new types of Remote Control (RC)'s for people with visual impairment, one with voice recognition and the other with numeric keys. We conducted two types of evaluations for them. We found that while the key RC took more time to use than the voice RC, the participants were more satisfied with the key RC.
Constructing Adaptive User Interface Through Semantic Descriptions BIBAFull-Text 469-472
  Hyun Namgoong; Kyung-il Kim; Yun Koo Chung
We present semantic descriptions for dynamically integrated usage of the devices providing user-centric services. This paper describes the architecture of the user-side controller for adaptive user interface supporting control of the devices. It provides users with easy interface for controlling heterogeneous devices in environment. Especially, it is efficient for people with disabilities to operate the surrounding devices. Furthermore, it can be applied to automated home control and proactive service system, etc.
A Proposal for a Home-Based Health Monitoring System for the Elderly or Disabled BIBAFull-Text 473-479
  HyungJun Kim; Bart Jarochowski; DaeHyun Ryu
It has been shown that the elderly, disabled, and those suffering from chronic illness benefit from early detection of symptoms and being involved with the management of their own conditions. We propose a home-based monitoring system which will continuously and unobtrusively (depending on a patient's condition and the sensors used) monitor a patient's condition. The monitoring system is supplemented by a monitoring/data warehousing service which is the first line of response in the event of an emergency. This system will be implemented using Zigbee technology.
Helping People with ICT Device Control by Eye Gaze BIBAFull-Text 480-487
  Fangmin Shi; Alastair Gale; Kevin Purdy
This paper presents a computer method to help people, typically having limited mobility, to be able to operate ICT devices with eye gaze in their living/work environment. The user's eye gaze is recorded and analyzed in real-time. Any ICT device in the environment that is being looked at for a certain time period is identified, located and assumed to be the object of interest that the user wants to utilise. Through a suitable interface, the user can then decide whether to operate the device. By using this state-of-the-art technology, people with impaired mobility, or able bodied people whose movements are restricted can attain a more independent life style.
IRCS -- Infra Red Code System: Access to Infra Red Codes for Ambient and Assisted Living BIBAFull-Text 488-491
  Klaus Miesenberger; Gerhard Nussbaum; Martin Bartsch; Thomas Mayrhofer; et al
This paper presents a prototype of a web based system which allows to upload and to share infra red codes for consumer electronic devices support or automate the integration of the interface of these devices in an accessible user interface i.e. in Environmental Control Systems.
The DAT Project: A Smart Home Environment for People with Disabilities BIBAFull-Text 492-499
  Renzo Andrich; Valerio Gower; Antonio Caracciolo; Giovanni Del Zanna; Marco Di Rienzo
The DAT project is a research initiative that aims at building up a smart home environment where people with disabilities can improve their abilities to cope with daily life activities by means of technologically advanced home automation solutions. The project has a threefold purpose. The smart home will be used as a physical setting, where clients with disabilities can follow individual programs aimed at improving their independence in the home environment. The smart house will also be used as a demonstration an educational laboratory where anybody interested can get knowledge of the latest advancements in the field of home automation and tele-care. Finally, the smart home will be used as research laboratory for testing and developing new clinical protocols and innovative solutions in the field of environmental control and home care. This article describes the architecture of the smart home, the design of the home automation system, and the research programs associated with the DAT project.
Selection by Visualization of Topological Layouts for Adapted Living Area Design BIBAFull-Text 500-507
  Arnaud Puret; Sébastien Aupetit; Pierre Gaucher; Nicolas Monmarché; Mohamed Slimane
To design adapted houses many things must be considered: standards and recommendations related to the field of disabilities, capacities and incapacities of the persons, and wishes of the future resident. Considering all those constraints makes difficult to build such adapted living areas. Automatic layout generation simplifies the design task and decreases both design costs and study times. However, it produces a lots of layouts that we need to present to the user. In this work, we proposed clustering and visualization methods to help both the designer and the demander to choose between layouts.
Wireless Communicator for Patients in Intensive Care BIBAFull-Text 508-515
  Cecília Sik Lányi; Viktor Magyar
Intensive care is often a stressful experience for patients and presents unique challenges for the nursing staff. Under conditions where patients are unable to speak (e.g. mechanical breathing, intubation) it becomes difficult for nurses to be aware of patients needs. We have developed two multimedia software programs that are designed to assist patient/nurse communication in these situations.

People with Disabilities: Service Delivery

The Development and Application of the Assistive Devices Application System for Clients with Disabilities BIBAFull-Text 516-523
  Tzyh-Chyang Chang; Jiann-Der Lee; Shwu-Jiuan Wu; Juei-Fen Huang
It is important for clients with disabilities to live independently and enhance their recovery progresses by having assistive devices in their daily lives. The purpose of this study is to develop and construct an inquiry and application system for clients with disabilities so that the officials can better manage assistive devices application information. In addition, we can check and understand how well assistive devices assist clients with disabilities in their livelihood and do an analysis based on current conditions and results through the system. These results can then be used as references for improving future clients with disabilities welfare suggestions to government officials.
EASTIN: A Trans-national Information Network on Assistive Technologies BIBAFull-Text 524-531
  Renzo Andrich; Roberto Da Dalt; Renzo Giust; Andrea Agnoletto
EASTIN (European Assistive Technology Information Network) is a trans-national information service on Assistive Technologies for people with disabilities, that aggregates the contents of six national information systems in Italy (Portale SIVA), Germany (Rehadat), Denmark (HMI Basen), the United Kingdom (DLF Data), The Netherlands (Hulpmiddelenwijzer) and Spain (Catálogo de Ayudas Técnicas). It is the result of the EASTIN project, carried out in 2004-2005 with partial funding by the EU within the eTEN programme. In order to work as a network, the six national systems have been harmonized according to commonly agreed standards and integrated through the new EASTIN website. This is equipped with advanced search engines able to perform search and retrieval operations across all the partners' databases, in any of the partners' languages.
Participation in Development of Computers Helping People BIBAFull-Text 532-535
  Lars Bruhn; Jürgen Homann; Gerlinde Renzelberg
The frequently prescribed "Design for All" or "Universal Design" reduces the comprehension of participation of people with disabilities and their interests in technical development tendentious to a pure user involvement. In such case, the ethical implications of new technologies are not considered. In this article we develop a concept for participation that will be more than a pure user involvement. To this purpose, ways to participation from the viewpoint of Disability Studies as well as Technology Assessment will be combined. The Participatory Action Research, which is suggested as methodical approach to technological development process will also be embedded in this concept for participation.
Developing Pedagogical Multimedia Resources Targeting Children with Special Educational Needs BIBAFull-Text 536-543
  Paloma Cantón; Ángel Lucas González; Gonzalo Mariscal; Carlos Ruiz
An educational resource targeting children with learning difficulties should be based on special teaching aids to achieve its educational purposes. Teaching supported by new technologies should guarantee the accessibility of the contents introduced over the web, as well as through the use of software applications. In this paper, we present a methodology for creating such resources and its application to the Proyecto Aprender (Learn Project). This project involves developing an accessible web site targeting teachers and the public (parents, families, researchers...) generally, and developing an accessible application targeting learners in particular. The whole process of design, preparation and construction is conceived to meet learners' special educational needs.

People with Disabilities: Education and Training

Accessibility Issues in Two Specifications for E-Learning Tests: IMS QTI 1.2 and IMS QTI 2.0 BIBAFull-Text 544-551
  Christophe Strobbe
The IMS Global Learning Consortium developed the QTI (Question and Test Interoperability) specification to allow the exchange of question and test data, and their corresponding result reports, between learning systems. QTI 1.2 had some accessibility issues, as the VISUAL project discovered when transforming QTI tests into accessible HTML and voice user interfaces. Some problems were due to an insufficient mechanism to specify alternative text, other problems were due to the ambiguity of the intent of certain interaction types. QTI 2.0 solved the issue of alternative text, but the ambiguity with regard to the intent of interaction types was not sufficiently addressed.
Informatics Teachers and Their Competences in Inclusive Education BIBAFull-Text 552-559
  L'udmila Jašková
The paper deals about the problem of necessity to modify preparation of future informatics teachers so that they will be able to use information and communication technologies for their educational work with handicapped students in mainstream schools. In our research we try to find missing teacher competences and appropriate educational contents, methods and forms.
ECDL bf: Equal Opportunities Through Equal Access to an ECDL E-Learning Solution BIBAFull-Text 560-567
  Andrea Petz; Klaus Miesenberger
People with Specific Needs -- even if they are, in principle, willing and capable of taking part in 'our' information -- or better ICT -- society -- run the risk of unemployment and (social) exclusion significantly more often than people without disability. While recognized certification schemes, like the internationally recognised and promoted IT certificate ECDL help to clearly prove ones knowledge in handling mainstream IT and open up the labour market, those certificates build up new and insuperable barriers for people with specific needs when not designed and implemented accessible. Following the outcomes of the previously presented EU funded project ECDL PD, primarily accessible inclusive training settings are lacking. To overcome this obstacle, the Austrian project ECDL bf (ECDL without barriers) worked on an extensively accessible ECDL e-learning solution applicable for the mainstream market that will be presented in this paper.
Searching Knowledge CinemaSense as a Case Study in Collaborative Production of a WWW Service in Two Universities BIBAFull-Text 568-574
  Antti Raike
In this paper I will present design research carried out between 1999-2004 at the University of Art and Design Helsinki in collaboration with the Classroom Teacher Training Programme for Finnish Sign Language Users of Jyväskylä University, Finland. The aim of the project was to produce an accessible web-based study product, as well as to clarify the sign language students' deepening of knowledge and conceptualization related to the subject of cinematic expression, as well as their collaboration during the web-based course. The aim of the design research was connected to the general aim of inclusion, for a shared university for all, which adapts flexibly to the needs of different and diverse students. The design research was positioned in the areas of film art and pedagogy. By merging participatory action research and WWW production a collaborative study concept dealing with cinematic expression entitled, CinemaSense, was developed and produced as part of the research work. It can be accessed at http://elokuvantaju.uiah.fi/. The usability and accessibility of the CinemaSense was observed during web-based courses in cinematic expression during 2001, with the help of a concept survey and network-based communication.

Deaf and Hard of Hearing People: Electronic Communication Aids

Deaf and Hard of Hearing People: Electronic Communication Aids BIBAFull-Text 575-578
  Hans-Heinrich Bothe
This paper gives an overview and extends the Special Thematic Session (STS) on 'Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing People: Electronic Communication Aids'. The topics of the session focus on special equipment to improve the communication between people with or without hearing-impairments, on improvement of communicational skills, or on methods to generate a better research environment for respective technical developments. The papers are related to visual communication using sign language, lip-reading or written text, to spoken or written language acquisition or improvement, or to general services for hearing-impaired persons.
User Evaluation of the SYNFACE Talking Head Telephone BIBAFull-Text 579-586
  Eva Agelfors; Jonas Beskow; Inger Karlsson; Jo Kewley; Giampiero Salvi; Neil Thomas
The talking-head telephone, Synface, is a lip-reading support for people with hearing-impairment. It has been tested by 49 users with varying degrees of hearing-impaired in UK and Sweden in lab and home environments. Synface was found to give support to the users, especially in perceiving numbers and addresses and an enjoyable way to communicate. A majority deemed Synface to be a useful product.
Towards a Service Integration Portal for Deaf People BIBAFull-Text 587-594
  Christophe Ponsard; Christiane Broekman; Cécile Lamy; Martine Fraiture
High speed connections have enabled video-based communication and given deaf and hard-of-hearing people the opportunity to rely on the visual modality to better communicate with each other and with hearing people. However a number of obstacles still have to be removed to make this technology really accessible for all: technical expertise for operating a computer, lack of compatibility, poorly integrated services,... This papers describes an ongoing project for providing a better accessibility by (1) supporting multiple kind of user terminals (such as PC, videophone, TV, mobile phone) in an interoperable way; (2) with a simple and user friendly interface, (3) giving access to a number of related services such as directories, video message box, relay centre and signed news.
A Proposal of the Universal Sign Code BIBAFull-Text 595-598
  Kazuyuki Kanda; Tsutomu Kimura; Daisuke Hara
This is a proposal of the universal coding system for the sign languages. It is expected to resolve the problems of the entangled notational systems for the sign language. The structure and rules are proposed and some application models for Japanese Sign Language are shown The USC is constructed with several strata, lexical, sentence, phonological, morphological, regional and other levels.
Bilingual Sign Language Dictionary BIBAFull-Text 599-606
  José L. Fuertes; Ángel L. González; Gonzalo Mariscal; Carlos Ruiz
The Spanish Sign Language Dictionary (DILSE) is one of the first truly bilingual (Spanish Sign Language-Spanish) electronic dictionaries for the deaf community. The properties of this format are perfectly matched to a visual language such as sign language, which uses space as a means of expression. Additionally, two-way searches for word entries are possible from either Spanish or signs. The signs have been previously classified according to sign language-based linguistic criteria. Furthermore, the system presented here includes different geographical varieties of Spanish Sign Language.
Improvements and Evaluations in Sign Animation Used as Instructions for Stomach X-Ray Examination BIBAKFull-Text 607-614
  Kazunari Morimoto; Takao Kurokawa; Syouhei Kawamura
To make sign language animation used as instructions for stomach X-ray examination easier for hearing impaired patients to understand, the authors identified problems in currently used sign animation and then created a new animation to solve these problems. The objective of this study was to compare how easy to understand the new animation was over previous animation by conducting evaluation tests. The evaluation tests were conducted with 32 hearing impaired persons. Results indicated that the new animation improved comprehension approximately 8% over previous animation.
Keywords: sign language animation; sign language interpretation; hearing impaired patient
Speech Technologies in a Computer-Aided Speech Therapy System BIBAFull-Text 615-622
  András Kocsor; Dénes Paczolay
The hearing impaired have always had difficulties learning to speak because their auditory feedback is either damaged or missing. The SpeechMaster software package provides real-time visual feedback as a substitute for this. Within the package the forms of the feedback are clear and simple. For instance in the first phase of vowel learning the software uses an effective phoneme recognizer providing real-time visual feedback. In this case flickering letters indicate correctness where the brightness of the letters is proportional to the output of speech recognizer. These unambiguous solutions help the hearing impaired to learn the correct association between the phoneme -- grapheme pairs or the connection between their own articulation and the speech signal they produce. Also, with the aid of the computer, children can practice without the need for the continuous presence of the teacher. This is a significant step in the education of the hearing impaired as their traditional therapy includes a long and tedious fixation phase. Furthermore, the use of computer exercises, which are popular with children, speeds up the learning process.
Automatic Synthesis of Training Data for Sign Language Recognition Using HMM BIBAFull-Text 623-626
  Kana Kawahigashi; Yoshiaki Shirai; Jun Miura; Nobutaka Shimada
The paper describes a method of synthesizing sign language samples for training HMM. First face and hands regions are detected, and then features of sign language are extracted. For generating HMM, training data are automatically synthesized from a limited number of actual samples. We focus on the common hand shape in different word. The database hand shapes is generated and the training data of each word is synthesized by replacing the same shape in the database. Experiments using real image sequences are shown.
Communication Supporting System in a Classroom Environment for the Hearing Impaired BIBAFull-Text 627-634
  Yoshinori Takeuchi; Yudai Sakashita; Daisuke Wakatsuki; Hiroki Minagawa; Noboru Ohnishi
In this paper, we propose a communication support system in a classroom environment for the hearing impaired. This system detects the questioner, monitors his/her sign language with a video camera, and displays the video on a monitor at the front of the lecture room. Although other students cannot see the questioner's sign language directly, they can see the questioner on the monitor. The system locates the questioner by detecting a raised hand. Once the system locates the questioner, it zooms in by controlling the direction and the zoom parameters of the camera and captures his/her image. We implemented the system and conducted an experiment during a real lecture. As a result, we achieved a raised hand extraction rate of 70%.
Efficient Generation of Large Amounts of Training Data for Sign Language Recognition: A Semi-automatic Tool BIBAFull-Text 635-642
  Ruiduo Yang; Sudeep Sarkar; Barbara Loeding; Arthur Karshmer
We have developed a video hand segmentation tool which can help with generating hands ground truth from sign language image sequences. This tool may greatly facilitate research in the area of sign language recognition. In this tool, we offer a semi automatic scheme to assist with the localization of hand pixels, which is important for the purpose of recognition. A candidate hand generator is applied by using the mean shift image segmentation algorithm and a greedy seeds growing algorithm. After a number of hand candidates is generated, the user can reduce the candidates by simple mouse clicks. The tool also provides a hand tracking function for faster processing and a face detection function for groundtruthing non manual signals. In addition, we provided a two-passes groundtruthing scheme unlike other tools that only does one-pass. Our first pass processing is automatic and does not need user interaction. The experiment results demonstrate that based on the first pass's result, one can groundtruth 10,000+ frames of sign language within 8 hours.
Composition Corrector -- A Computer-Based Tool to Support Professional Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Writers BIBAFull-Text 643-650
  Martha Birnbaum; Corine Bickley; Brianne Burger
Composition Corrector (CC) is an online, browser-based tool that detects and corrects grammatical errors in written English composition. CC is aimed at deaf high school and college students who are fluent in a language such as American Sign Language but are not necessarily fluent in written English. The student types an English sentence into the browser window and receives an immediate analysis of grammatical errors and the corrections in standard English. The writing skills of deaf students are reported to be significantly poorer than those of their hearing peers, with attendant educational, professional, and income disparities with the hearing population. CC is conceived as a tool to present students to best advantage in an academic or professional setting. It acknowledges a social as well as educational need in that strong English composition skills are companions to independence, quality of life, and professional development.
VoxAid 2006: Telephone Communication for Hearing and/or Vocally Impaired People BIBAFull-Text 651-658
  Bálint Tóth; Géza Németh
Speech and/or hearing impaired people have difficulties with voice communication. In case of face-to-face conversation they can find a common communication channel (e.g. sign language, paper, etc.), but without an appropriate system they are unable to talk over the phone. The goal of the present study is to introduce the design and development steps of a system for vocally and/or hearing impaired people, which helps them to communicate via telephone with any person. Speech output is realized by text-to-speech (TTS) technology and speech input is provided by automatic speech recognition (ASR). The visual and the speech user interfaces enable users on both side of the phone line (a speech and hearing impaired person at one end, a non-speech-and-hearing-disabled person at the other end) to communicate.
Evaluation of Effect of Delay on Sign Video Communication BIBAFull-Text 659-666
  Kaoru Nakazono; Yuji Nagashima; Mina Terauchi
Evaluation tests of sign communication with delayed video are reported and the effect of delay on the communication is discussed. The authors constructed the delayed sign dialogue experimental system. Five kinds of tasks were assigned to deaf subjects and videos of performing the task with various delay times were recorded. By analyzing the data, sign communications was found to be more tolerant of the delay time than voice communication.
Japanese JSL Translation and Searching Display Conditions for Expressing Easy-to-Understand Sign Animation BIBAFull-Text 667-674
  Sumihiro Kawano; Chie Izumi; Takao Kurokawa; Kazunari Morimoto
This paper described a bi-directional translating system between Japanese and Japanese Sign Language and two experiments conducted to clarify necessary conditions for displaying easy-to-read animation of a person model speaking sign language synthesized by the system. In Experiment 1 hearing-impaired and hearing subjects judged identity of a pair of animation. Resolution and frame rate had an main effect against correct answer rate. While the hear ing had tendency to watch the whole body of the model, the hearing-impaired focused their attention chiefly on handshape and movement. In Experiment 2 the hearing-impaired read signs on animation. For correct reading above 90% sign animation needed to be displayed with more than 10 x 8 cm, 113 x 90 pixels and 8 f/sec. This condition was much relaxed compared with that in Experiment 1.
Design and Development of Several Mobile Communication Systems for People with Hearing Disabilities BIBAFull-Text 675-682
  Jose L. Martín; Sira E. Palazuelos; Jerónimo Arenas; Javier Macías; Santiago Aguilera
During the last decade we have attended to an impressive development of mobile communications which, unfortunately, deaf and hearing-impaired community cannot (in principle) take advantage of. In order to favour this people to take part in the Information Society, we have designed and developed some PC-based systems and applications which will provide several text-based services to them, such as real time and text mode communication between mobile text telephones and those connected to the PSTN or direct accessibility to Urgency Call Centers. We emphasize in this article the advantages of the software design methodology followed, which has led to the implementation of two systems which have shown to be robust and versatile in operation.
Captioning for Deaf and Hard of Hearing People by Editing Automatic Speech Recognition in Real Time BIBAFull-Text 683-690
  Mike Wald
Deaf and hard of hearing people can find it difficult to follow speech through hearing alone or to take notes when lip-reading or watching a sign-language interpreter. Notetakers summarise what is being said while qualified sign language interpreters with a good understanding of the relevant higher education subject content are in very scarce supply. Real time captioning/transcription is not normally available in UK higher education because of the shortage of real time stenographers. Lectures can be digitally recorded and replayed to provide multimedia revision material for students who attended the class and a substitute learning experience for students unable to attend. Automatic Speech Recognition can provide real time captioning directly from lecturers' speech in classrooms but it is difficult to obtain accuracy comparable to stenography. This paper describes the development of a system that enables editors to correct errors in the captions as they are created by Automatic Speech Recognition.
Improving Baby Caring with Automatic Infant Cry Recognition BIBAFull-Text 691-698
  Sandra E. Barajas-Montiel; Carlos A. Reyes-García; Emilio Arch-Tirado; Mario Mandujano
Babies are human beings who cannot satisfy their necessities by themselves, they completely depend of cares and attentions by adults. The cry is the natural media babies use to express their needs. Several studies have demonstrated that cry is a useful tool to determine the different emotional and physiological states from an infant, and in addition to make medical diagnoses of diseases related to the central nervous system. This work presents the analysis and extraction of characteristics from infant crying for its automatic classification with Support Vector Machines. Several classification tasks were done, working in the identification of pain, hunger, and deafness levels with results of up to 96% of correct classification. Besides some results, we show the implementation and experimentation done.

People with Cognitive Problems and the Aging Population

People with Cognitive Problems and the Aging Population BIBAFull-Text 699-700
  Erwin Fugger; Martin Morandell; Barbara Prazak
As a result of increasing life expectancy and the resulting demographic shift, there are ever growing numbers of elderly persons, living in single households. In consequence of declining cognitive and physical abilities, many affected persons are increasingly dependent on external support to carry out basic and instrumental activities of everyday living. In order to extend the time span elderly people can live independently in their preferred environment, new solutions offered by modern information and communications technology (ICT) need to be introduced. In important respects, ICT support is the primary unsatisfied need of individual elderly persons, their families and caregivers. This need can be met by ICT-based support in health and activity monitoring, by enhancing safety and security in home environments, by improving access to social welfare and medical services, by facilitating social contacts as well as access to context-based infotainment.
A Semi-autonomous Wheelchair Towards User-Centered Design BIBAFull-Text 701-708
  Sven Rönnbäck; Jouni Piekkari; Kalevi Hyyppä; Tomas Berglund; Simo Koskinen
Research on assistive technology for impaired and elderly is of great importance and it is intended to grow as society undergoes an age shift in its population. Research on assistive technology leads to the development of aids for individual users. These aids can be made more or less autonomous in order to fit an individuals specific needs. Aids can be designed not only to please a user from a technical perspective, but also from a psychological perspective. Based on knowledge about a user, from for example interviews, the design of an aid can be improved.
   We present a semi-autonomous wheelchair which can be controlled using head-mounted sensors. Control is also possible by sensors placed on the hand of a user. The wheelchair hand control was tested by a user and the feedback from the user is included.
   Through an interface suitable for specific users, the wheelchair can perform certain tasks autonomously. One such task is moving to a certain location pointed out by a user looking at a map of the surrounding which is presented on a computer screen.
   With a user centered perspective based on interviews, direct contact, and knowledge about users, we show results for improving the design of assistive technology.
Computer Control by Tracking Head Movements for the Disabled BIBAFull-Text 709-715
  HyungJun Kim; DaeHyun Ryu
We present a system for the hands-free control of a computer, using a PC camera to track head movements, then translating these movements into cursor movements onto a computer screen. The proposed system is an alternative for people with spinal cord injuries and other special needs. It can be run on a standard Windows platform and makes use of a standard USB video camera to track head movements compared to other commercial hands-free products, which use special devices. Also, it can be applied to not only the disabled but also for any users operating common devices, such as ATMs, vending machines, or pay phones.
Healthcare Service with Ubiquitous Sensor Networks for the Disabled and Elderly People BIBAFull-Text 716-723
  Yung Bok Kim; Daeyoung Kim
An e-healthcare service with ubiquitous sensor network (USN) for the disabled and elderly people was studied, considering the current technology as well as forthcoming technology and service in the ubiquitous computing and networking environment. We introduce the USN for e-healthcare service for the disabled and elderly in smart environments. Beyond e-healthcare service, as a primitive application for ubiquitous healthcare service using mobile Internet, we studied the real-time health-monitoring service for the disabled and elderly people with an inexpensive and effective Web server. We considered the health-monitoring sensors in the wrist phone, as a future product for ubiquitous healthcare service. For quality of service (QoS), we studied an evaluation scheme for U-healthcare service for the disabled in smart environments, considering diversity of technologies and services.
Guiding Support for 'Way-Finding' in Unknown Buildings: Design and Evaluation BIBAFull-Text 724-731
  José M. Falcó; Roberto Casas; Álvaro Marco; Jorge L. Falcó
We face the support to finding the way in an unknown building, such as hospital or city-hall for people with special needs (reduced vision, cognitive disabilities, physical disabilities), which forces not only to find the way, but to find the suitable one for specific capacities. Our goal is to enhance accessibility to public services and leisure in an autonomous and easier way. The system design uses building and personal context to find an adequate way to his/her destiny. Then it will guide the person through the way, monitoring the route followed, re-conducting when needed and giving the chance to change destination. This paper shows a brief description of the system and the two evaluation stages performed with their conclusions. A multidisciplinary team with engineers, gerontologists, psychologist and two special education schools are involved in specification, development and evaluation.
Mobile Computing in Medicine: Designing Mobile Questionnaires for Elderly and Partially Sighted People BIBAKFull-Text 732-739
  Andreas Holzinger; Peter Sammer; Rainer Hofmann-Wellenhof
At the clinical department of Dermatology at the Medical University Hospital in Graz, approximately 30 outpatients consult the pigmented lesion clinic each day. During the visit, the patients are asked to complete a questionnaire, which is necessary, both for the clinical information system and for a scientific database for research in skin cancer. However, motorically and visually handicapped people usually have problems in completing paper based questionnaires. Consequently, a system was built, using a mobile touch computer with a specially designed interface, in order to assist these people and to allow full mobility within the clinical department, as well as the possibility of completing questionnaires, for example: during a cancer survey even in the open-air swimming resort. The system was developed by applying a User Centered Design including four levels: paper mock-up studies, low-fi prototypes, hi-fi prototypes and the system in real life. Scientifically this work provided insights into the technical possibilities, Human-Computer Interaction and Usability Engineering, user acceptance in the clinical field and the possible optimization potential of clinical workflows.
Keywords: Human-Computer Interaction & Usability Engineering; Mobile Computing; Information Interfaces; Input Devices and Strategies (mobile touchscreen); Screen design; User-centered Design & Development (UCD)
NeurOSS -- Open Source Software for Neuropsychological Rehabilitation BIBAFull-Text 740-743
  Jyrki Rissanen
In recent years hundreds of successful community-driven open source software projects have incarnated. However, it is quite hard to find similar success stories in the field of neuropsychological rehabilitation. This paper describes the core ideas of the NeurOSS project. The project aims at building an open source software platform for developing tools for neuropsychological rehabilitation, and gathering up a community of people from all over the world to contribute to shared collection of open source plug-in components extending and utilizing the core services of the platform.
DALMA -- Location Aware Alarm System for People with Disabilities BIBAFull-Text 744-751
  Roberto Casas; Álvaro Marco; Jorge L. Falcó; Héctor Gracia; José I. Artigas
This paper presents a location aware alarm system developed to give each person greater and safer mobility by automatically detecting risk situations. Location awareness has been possible thanks to an indoors positioning system (IPS) based on Bluetooth and ultrasounds, developed by the authors. The IPS is able to give accuracies of several centimetres, using a reduced infrastructure (6 fixed beacons every 100 m²). The alarm system has been implemented in several stances of a special education school. Preliminary evaluation results show its reliability and usability.
Usage of IT and Electronic Devices, and Its Structure, for Community-Dwelling Elderly BIBAFull-Text 752-758
  Madoka Ogawa; Hiroki Inagaki; Yasuyuki Gondo
Electrical household appliances and IT (information technology) are believed to increase the QOL and well-being of the people who use them. The benefits of electronic devices for elderly people would be more evident than for younger people because it is assumed that such equipment would compensate for the decline of functional ability in the elderly. However, there has been only very limited research on the actual usage and influence of such devices in relation to generation and age. The purposes of the present study were to clarify the actual situation with regard to the use of IT and electronic devices by community-dwelling elderly, and to characterize individuals according to their familiarity with such devices.
A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Study of the Efficacy of Cognitive Intervention on Elderly People and on Patient's with Alzheimer's Disease BIBAFull-Text 759-765
  J. J. Yanguas; C. Buiza; I. Etxeberria; N. Galdona; M. F. González; E. Urdaneta
Research on non-pharmacological therapies (cognitive rehabilitation) in old age has been very limited, and most has not considered the effect of intervention of this type over extended periods of time. The aim of Donostia Longitudinal Study was to investigate a new cognitive therapy in a randomized, placebo-controlled group of elderly people over 65 years of age without cognitive deterioration or expressed AAMI (Age Associated Memory Impairment) and patients with a Alzheimer's Disease (AD). The efficacy of this therapy was evaluated by means of post-hoc analysis of 390 people using biomedical, neuro-psychological, affective, and personality assessments. In the GDS 1-2 grouping, scores for learning potential and different types of memory for the treatment group improved significantly relative to the untreated controls. While, subjects with a GDS 3-4 showed significantly better performance on Neuropsychiatric inventory (NPI) scores in all domains (anxiety, depression, apathy, sleep disturbances). Finally subjects with a GDS 5-6, showed a maintenance of cognitive capacities. In the GDS 1-2 grouping, the most significant result found is that learning potential of trained people enhances within two years of intervention, this involves a successful ageing sign and plays a preventive role in dementia development. On the other hand, in the GDS 3-4 and GDS 5-6 grouping, the behavioral disturbances diminished within this intervention, so this type of training program could be beneficial on them.
Compensatory Use of Computers by Disabled Older Adults BIBAFull-Text 766-769
  Boaz Kahana; Eva Kahana; Loren Lovegreen; Gul Seçkin
This paper focuses on diverse adaptive benefits of computer use by frail elders in the U.S.A. who are attempting to maintain independent lifestyles. Case studies are presented based on data from an ongoing longitudinal study (N=1000) of older adults living in a retirement community [12]. It is argued that technology may extend the autonomy and independence that older people value, which may be threatened as they encounter functional decline, especially in very old age. The data lend support to theoretical models proposed by Baltes and colleagues regarding selective optimization with compensation, as characterizing successful adaptation to late life disability. Furthermore, results demonstrate that technology is increasingly utilized by old-old adults and that the flexibility afforded by computer-supported health communication presents a useful resource for older adults.
Computer Aids Clients with Psychiatric Disabilities in Cognitive and Vocational Rehabilitation Programs BIBAFull-Text 770-776
  Tzyh-Chyang Chang; Jiann-Der Lee; Shwu-Jiuan Wu; Ming-Jen Yang; Chun-Hua Shih; et al
The purposes of this study are to assess the aided effects of computer in cognitive and vocational rehabilitation of clients with psychiatric disabilities and to follow up their employment status. All participants from a community mental rehabilitation unit take a three-month computer skill training program. Participants complete computer key-in test and attention test at the beginning and at the end of the computer skill training program. The researcher assesses all participants' behaviors in class by using observation in every session. After six months, ten participants are still employed and their works are related to computer skills. The significant cognitive improvements of these participants are attention focus ability, problem solving skills, and memory retention ability. In addition, participants completing computer training program can use learned computer skills to obtain more work opportunities. Therefore, applying computer skill training programs to psychiatric disabled clients can improve not only their cognitive abilities but also vocational skills.
Ethically Aware Design of a Location System for People with Dementia BIBAFull-Text 777-784
  Roberto Casas; Álvaro Marco; Jorge L. Falcó; José I. Artigas; Julio Abascal
This paper presents an experience of ethically aware design of a location service intended to monitor residents in an institution for people with dementia. As location systems have a direct impact over privacy and personal autonomy, the system design was preceded by a deep study of ethical and social impact. Among its contributions it can be emphasized that this study was extended both to patients and also to caregivers that were located in order to provide urgent assistance. The conclusions of this experience were compiled as design guidelines and used for the technological design.

People with Specific Learning Difficulties

TouchStory: Towards an Interactive Learning Environment for Helping Children with Autism to Understand Narrative BIBAFull-Text 785-792
  Megan Davis; Kerstin Dautenhahn; Chrystopher Nehaniv; Stuart D. Powell
Children with autism exhibit a deficit in the comprehension and creation of narrative which impacts their social world. Our ongoing research agenda is to find ways of developing interactive learning environments which enhance the ability of individual children with autism to deal with narrative and thus the social world. The study reported here involved 12 children in a longitudinal study which focussed on identifying the particular aspects of narrative which individual children found difficult. Our aim was to investigate each individual child's understanding of 'primitive' components of narrative by means of an interactive software game called TouchStory which we developed for this purpose. Our results show, for most of the children, an ongoing and clear distinction in their understanding of the various narrative components, which relates their narrative comprehension as shown by a picture-story based narrative comprehension task.
Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) for Dyslexic Students BIBAFull-Text 793-800
  Cara Nicole Greene
This paper outlines the analysis, design, development, deployment and evaluation stages of Computer-Assisted Language Learning (CALL) software aimed at dyslexic learners. CALL is traditionally aimed at second language acquisition. The research presented here is different because the target group are students with first language difficulties. Dyslexia is a specific learning disorder, which affects roughly eight percent of the population in Ireland [5]. This research identifies the lack of support for dyslexic teenagers in Irish secondary schools and establishes their particular needs. The paper describes CALL courseware development in progress, which aims to aid the reading, organisation and exam skills of dyslexic students through the use of online authentic Junior Certificate history curriculum texts. The final evaluation phase of the project will assess the efficacy of the software and investigate the question of whether dedicated software can improve the reading skills of teenage dyslexic students at word, sentence and text level.
A New Audio Testing System for the Newly Blind and the Learning Disabled to Take the National Center Test for University Admissions BIBAFull-Text 801-808
  Mamoru Fujiyoshi; Akio Fujiyoshi
A new audio testing system was developed for the newly blind and the learning disabled (dyslexia) who have difficulties with reading braille or print-format tests. The system enables them to take the National Center Test for University Admissions. The system was developed primarily on a tablet PC and presents not only speech sound but also document structures and figures from the test.
Embodied Agents in Language Learning for Children with Language Challenges BIBAFull-Text 809-816
  Dominic W. Massaro
Given the value of face-to-face interaction in communication and learning, our persistent goal has been to develop, evaluate, and apply animated agents to produce realistic and accurate speech. We have implemented these agents as computer-assisted speech and language tutors for hard of hearing and autistic children, and other children with language challenges. Our language-training program utilizes conversational agents, who guide students through a variety of exercises designed to teach vocabulary and grammar, to improve speech articulation, and to develop linguistic and phonological awareness. We report a new experiment showing its effectiveness for school children learning English as a new language. Some of the advantages of this pedagogy and technology include the popularity and effectiveness of computers and embodied conversational agents, the perpetual availability of the program, and individualized instruction. Animated tutors offer a promising approach to language learning, human-machine interaction, and education.
Web Design for Dyslexics: Accessibility of Arabic Content BIBAFull-Text 817-822
  Areej Al-Wabil; Panayiotis Zaphiris; Stephanie Wilson
This paper reports results of a workshop on the design of electronic content for users with Specific Learning Difficulties (SpLD), particularly Arabic dyslexics. First we shed some light on the nature of the Arabic language and discuss features that account for the unique needs of Arabic users with reading disorders. Then we present recommendations for accessible web design for Arabic content in light of existing guidelines on web design for dyslexic users.
Flexibility in Virtual Environments -- A Fully Adjustable Virtual Classroom BIBAFull-Text 823-830
  Zoltán Geiszt; Cecília Sik-Lányi; Péter Károlyi
The fear of public speaking is one of the most wide-spread social problems of the world today. It is present in early childhood as well as in adultness, and causes problems with further influence on the child's entire life. The hesitation or the inability to speak in a heart-quaked situation can easily lead to bullying from classmates or even the teacher can misinterpret it as lack of knowledge or unwillingness to give the answer at all. For helping such children overcome their fear we developed a virtual environment imitating a classroom with its usual elements. The user immerses the virtual environment via a head mounted display where he or she must solve tasks in a "living" classroom of noisy, commentating classmates and a virtual teacher. A teacher or therapist supervises the acting in the virtual class and reacts to the doings of the user through speaking to him directly or allocating a speech utterance or other act to one of the virtual classmates. Due to its complex nature and complete adaptability the virtual classroom proved to be a very useful tool in helping such children and it is already in use in a primary school.
Temporal Orientation Panel for Special Education BIBAFull-Text 831-838
  Jorge L. Falcó; Carmen Muro; Inmaculada Plaza; Armando Roy
In the present work an electronic panel designed for helping people with deficiencies in their understanding of the sense of time is showed. The device will be installed in special education classrooms. It tries to meet the following objectives: 1) To provide disabled people with temporal orientation and to help in learning the use of conventional clocks. 2) To make the concept of temporal grouping easier. The grouping mechanism reflects the ability to use the information about task or work at some point correlated with temporal indicators. 3) To make anticipation of the sequence of events possible for autistic children. The results of the device's evaluation will allow authors to improve the design. Thus, it could be possible to extrapolate the use of the device on homes for disabled children or for elderly people with cognitive disabilities or even in the early stages of senile dementia.
Developing a TriAccess Reading Environment BIBAFull-Text 839-846
  Chien-Chuan Cko; Ming-Chung Chen; Li-Yuan Chen; Jun-Nan Guo; Ji-Fu Liu; An-Jun Luo
TriAccess is a web-based integrated reading supporting system. It provides physical, sensory, and cognitive supports for individual students based on their specific limitation or preference. The main idea is to provide multiple means of representation for learners to use various ways of acquiring information and knowledge. In addition, TriAccess also provides curriculum material developers and instructors convenient interface. Curriculum developers could upload text and cognitive supports to a simple web page. Then the webpage will generate automatically the material with needed supports. Instructors could set up the appropriate reading supports and manage the subjects for their responsible students on the web.
A Platform for Creating Adaptive Communicators BIBAFull-Text 847-854
  María Dolores Paredes Garrido; Oscar Pino Morillas; María José Rodríguez Fórtiz; et al
In order to help people with communication problems, we present a platform for creating an augmentative and alternative communicator which runs on a Pocket PC. This communicator is based on an adaptive hypermedia, and may be configured and adapted for each individual person. It has been used with autistic children.
Do Text-to-Speech Synthesisers Pronounce Correctly? A Preliminary Study BIBAFull-Text 855-862
  D. G. Evans; E. A. Draffan; A. James; P. Blenkhorn
This paper evaluates 4 commercial text-to-speech synthesisers used by dyslexic people to listen to and proof read text. Two evaluators listened to 704 common English words and determined whether the words were correctly pronounced or not. Where the evaluators agree on incorrect pronunciation, the proportion of correct pronunciations for the four synthesisers is in the range 98.9% to 99.6% of the 704 words. The evaluators also listened to the same synthesisers speaking phrases in which there were 44 pairs of homographs and determined whether each instance of the homograph was correctly spoken or not. The level of correctness for the four synthesisers ranged from 76.3% to 91.3%.

People Using Augmented and Alternative Communication (AAC)

Investigation on Effect of Prosody in Finger Braille BIBAFull-Text 863-869
  Manabi Miyagi; Masafumi Nishida; Yasuo Horiuchi; Akira Ichikawa
Finger braille is one of the communication methods for the deaf blind, which seems to be the most suited medium for real-time communication by its speed and accuracy in transmitting characters. We hypothesize that the prosody information exists in the time structure of finger braille typing. Prosody is the paralinguistic information that has functions to transmit the sentence structure, prominence, emotions and other form of information in real-time communication. In this research, we performed a cognition experiment on 12 subjects with a simulated output to confirm the effect of prosody in the time structure. As a result, the percentages of questions answered correctly were 79% for the prosody simulated output and 65% for the monotonous output. The result shows the possibility that the prosody information of finger braille can be applied to the assistive technologies for deaf-blind people's communication.
Internet Chat System for the Deaf-Blind Using Doubled Braille Display -- DB4DB BIBAFull-Text 870-873
  Makoto Kobayashi
This paper reports on a proposition of a communication system for the blind and deaf-blind person. The system is composed of a terminal which is named "Doubled Braille display terminal for the Deaf-Blind person (DB4DB)." This terminal equipped with two-lined refreshable Braille displays and its software is based on an Internet chat program. The one line of the display is for confirmation of inputted sentence by the user and the other one is for reading all messages from members who take part in the chat space. The proposal system enables the blind and deaf-blind person to recognize message from another member at anytime, even he/she is inputting his/her message.
Using Iconicity to Evaluate Symbol Use BIBAFull-Text 874-881
  David Gareth Evans; Lisa Bowick; Marianne Johnson; Paul Blenkhorn
This paper investigates the use of iconicity testing to evaluate symbol 'quality' and to examine differences in symbol perception in different ethnic groups. The paper largely replicates an earlier study by Haupt and Alant in which a communication grid of PCS symbols was evaluated with Zulu children. In our study 10 university-educated people with long experience of Western European culture are used to test the symbols. They achieve an overall symbol correctness of 50.3% (compared with Haupt and Alant's 18.9%) and 27.8% symbols are strictly iconic (2.8% for Haupt and Alant) and 55.6 are iconic according to a lenient criterion (11.1% for Haupt and Alant). The concept of distinctiveness as defined by Haupt and Alant is also investigated, as is a method of analyzing symbols based on frequency of selection and correctness when selected. The overall conclusion is that iconicity tests can be usefully employed for assessing symbol quality and determining the difference between ethnic groups.
Development of a Voice-Input Voice-Output Communication Aid (VIVOCA) for People with Severe Dysarthria BIBAFull-Text 882-885
  Mark S. Hawley; Pam Enderby; Phil Green; Stuart Cunningham; Rebecca Palmer
This paper describes an approach to the development of a voice-input voice-output communication aid (VIVOCA) for people with disordered or unintelligible speech, initially concentrating on people with moderate to severe dysarthria. The VIVOCA is intended to recognize and interpret an individual's disordered speech and speak out an equivalent message in clear synthesized speech. User consultation suggests that such a device would be acceptable and would be useful in communication situations where speed and intelligibility are crucial. Speech recognition techniques will build on previously successful development of speech-based home control interfaces, and various methods for speech 'translation' are being evaluated.
EMU -- A European Multilingual Text Prediction Software BIBAFull-Text 886-893
  Christian Beck; Gottfried Seisenbacher; Georg Edelmayer; Wolfgang Zagler
EMU is a program that supports disabled people to write text faster and/or with less physical load. The program was developed based on knowledge of the outcome of the R&D project IST-2000-25420 FASTY. This paper shows how the commercially available program EMU was developed with special attention to the test results with the final prototype coming from the EC project.
Design and Evaluation of a Versatile Architecture for a Multilingual Word Prediction System BIBAFull-Text 894-901
  Sira E. Palazuelos-Cagigas; José L. Martín-Sánchez; Lisset Hierrezuelo Sabatela; et al
Word prediction is a process that tries to guess the word a user is writing, at the same time he/she is doing it. It is mainly used to decrease the effort needed to write a text in applications devoted to people with disabilities. In this paper, we describe and evaluate the architecture of a multilingual word prediction system. The proposed architecture is modular and flexible, with common interfaces between the modules to allow the use of different prediction algorithms or even the prediction in different languages. The current system consists of a general lexicon for each language, the possibility to create and store personal lexicons, prediction methods based on words and POS (parts of speech) probabilistic grammars (when available). The system has been trained and evaluated for English, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish. The Spanish version is currently included in a technical aid widely used for people with communication disabilities.

People with Motor and Mobility Impairment: Human Computer Interaction, Rehabilitation

People with Motor and Mobility Impairment: Human Computer Interaction, Rehabilitation BIBAFull-Text 902-904
  Michiaki Yasumura; Kazuyuki Itoh; Akira Ichikawa; Akira Okamoto
Here we describe the summary of the STS on "People with Mobility Impairment: Human Comuter Interaction, Rehabilitation" that was proposed by Japanese research group of the Grant-in-Aid Scientific Research of the Japanese Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology. Twelve excellent papers are presented, whose authors are from Europe, North America, and Asia. Among them, 6 papers focus on cursor control by eye movement, and 6 papers describe other new challenges of assistive technologies.
Electromyogram-Based Cursor Control System for Users with Motor Disabilities BIBAFull-Text 905-912
  Craig Chin; Armando Barreto; Miguel, Jr. Alonso
An improved hands-free cursor control system suitable for use by individuals with spinal dysfunction or spinal cord injury is introduced. The system uses electromyogram (EMG) signals from facial muscles to produce five distinct cursor actions, namely: left, right, up, down and left-click. The new system is derived from a system previously created by our group. Object selection tests are performed on both systems. We use statistical analysis and Fitts' law analysis of these tests to support our assertion that the new system provides enhanced performance over its predecessor.
A Tongue Based Control for Disabled People BIBAFull-Text 913-918
  Lotte N. S. Andreasen Struijk
Efficient input devices for computers and automatic equipment can improve the quality of life for severely disabled people. This work describes a new tongue-computer interface to be used by the disabled to access computers and new technologies. The new sensor system may be used during eating and speaking and may incorporate as many activation buttons as the number of characters in the alphabet.
An Alternative Chinese Keyboard Layout Design for Single-Digit Typists BIBAFull-Text 919-925
  Ming-Chung Chen; Ting-Fang Wu
This study designed an alternative Chinese keyboard layout for single-digit typists and evaluated the efficacy of this innovative layout design. The new eight row by five column keyboard layout was designed based on the principles of alternative keyboard design. Eight college students with proficient keyboarding were involved in this study. The repeated measurement experimental design was used to compare the speed and accuracy of keystroke among the four different keyboard patterns: QWERTY, Alternative, Revised-QWERTY, and Random-Alternative. The experimental results indicated that the subjects' typing speed is fastest when utilizing the QWERTY layout (63.86 symbols/minute), followed by the Alternative (56.02 symbols/minute), Revised QWERTY (53.39 symbols/minute) and the Random-Alternative keyboard (49.94 symbols/minute). There is no significant difference among QWERTY, Alternative, Revised-QWERTY, and Random-Alternative layouts on the subjects' typing accuracy. The possible causes of the unpredicted results and suggestions for further studies were discussed.
An Integrated Design for a Myoelectrically-Based Writing Module for a Controlled Prosthesis BIBAFull-Text 926-934
  Andres Herrera; Malek Adjouadi; Melvin Ayala
The objective of this research was the design and implementation of a writing module that is integrated with a myoelectrical-based gripper as a potential prosthetic device that could help amputees recover some of their writing abilities. The developed module would hence offer increased functionality to current prostheses. This novel device required multidisciplinary design in mechanical, electrical, and software areas. The robust integration of these key technical areas ensured a reliable module that allowed converting voluntary muscle contractions from remaining muscles into written characters. The writing module spanned over a specific writing area using a mechanical finger to yield a realistic and feasible design. The electrical implementation involved capturing and processing real time myoelectric signals (EMG). The software section utilized an assembler based algorithm to control the overall device using the processed signals. After processing a serially inputted code, the implemented writing module accurately selected and generated the requested characters with reliable and acceptable printing quality.
Development of a Power Assisted Handrail -- Handrail Trajectory and Standing Up Motion BIBAKFull-Text 935-942
  Yoshiyuki Takahashi; Osamu Nitta; Shigeru Okikawa; Takashi Komeda
We developed a handrail which can provide functional assistance. The result of basic experiment shows the force on the handrail could be used to expect the center of gravity of the user. And also, the handrail could assist the moving ability of a subject who cannot stand up even if using the normal handrail. In future, establish the human standing up modeling and adaptive handrail controlling for the handrail.
Keywords: Power assistance; Hand rail; Standing up
Trial Usage of Rehabilitation System: Simple Driving Simulator for the Driving Skill Evaluation of People with Cerebrovascular Disease: CVD BIBAKFull-Text 943-949
  Kaoru Inoue; Yuko Ito; Yumi Ikeda; Atsuko Tanimura; Keisuke Suzuki; Yoshiyuki Takahashi; et al
We have developed a simple tentative version of the driving simula-tor for rehabilitation using a Personal Computer (SDS). We described the over-view of the system and the trial usage of this system for people with Cere-brovascular disease. The test results of the subjects whom an occupational therapist in attendance assessed to be able to drive a car showed values almost the same as the data of the healthy subjects. The effectiveness of the system was suggested in the preliminary experiments and a case study.
Keywords: Cerebrobascular disease; Rehabilitation; Driving simulator
Eye Movement Communication Control System Based on EOG and Voluntary Eye Blink BIBAFull-Text 950-953
  Junichi Hori; Koji Sakano; Michio Miyakawa; Yoshiaki Saitoh
A communication support interface controlled by eye movements and voluntary eye blink has been developed for disabled individuals with motor paralysis who cannot speak. Horizontal and vertical electro-oculograms were measured using two surface electrodes attached above and beside the dominant eye and referring to an earlobe electrode and amplified with AC-coupling in order to reduce the unnecessary drift. Four directional cursor movements -- up, down, right, and left -- and one selected operation were realized by logically combining the two detected channel signals based on threshold settings specific to the individual. Letter input experiments were conducted on a virtual screen keyboard. As a result, operatablility, accuracy, and processing speed were improved using our method.
Eye as an Actuator BIBAFull-Text 954-961
  Marcela Fejtová; Jan Fejt; Olga Štepánková
The I4Control® device is a new type of computer peripheral enabling non-contact control of a personal computer through eye (or head) movement. The solution emulates the computer mouse and consequently it gives its user direct access to any mouse controlled SW system. One of those is a SW keyboard, which is nowadays a common part of computer operating system. In the same way the system can be combined with other text entering solutions. Section 4 provides a brief report on corresponding preliminary experiments as well as description of some edutainment applications, for which I4Control® device seems to be very well suited. The very same solution can be applied for design of a control element in a computer-driven working environment where the hands of the PC user have to be engaged in another (primary) activity (i.e., during medical surgery or when handling greasy components of a complex machine).
Nonlinear Mapping of Pupil Centre Coordinates from Image Sensor to Screen for Gaze Control Systems BIBAFull-Text 962-965
  Gintautas Daunys; Nerijus Ramanauskas
Exact calibration in real time is critical for gaze control systems. Usually measurements are mapped to points on screen using coefficients obtained from calibration data. The mathematical model of pupil centre/ eye corner gaze tracking system was proposed. 6 parameters were used to describe both eyes movement on image sensor. Experimental results show good correspondence with model over all screen area. As some parameters are user specific and other can be measured independently, the number of calibration points could be reduced drastically, keeping nonlinear mapping.
Keyboard Adaptations for Children with Cerebral Palsy BIBAFull-Text 966-972
  Ting-Fang Wu; Ming-Chung Chen
The purpose of this study is to systematically investigate the effects of keyboard adaptations for children with cerebral palsy. Twelve children aged from 7 to 15 years old participated in this study. Keyboard adaptation strategies were developed based on the individualized assessments. A group comparison experimental design was selected to examine the effectiveness of keyboard adaptations. Speed and accuracy of typing Chinese were compared before and after keyboard adaptations. The results indicated that children with cerebral palsy did increase their typing performance after implementing keyboard adaptation strategies. The results of this study can provide health and educational profession a reference when serving children with physical disabilities.
Light Spot Operated Mouse Emulator for Cervical Spinal-Cord Injured PC Users BIBAFull-Text 973-980
  Kazuyuki Itoh
The purpose of this study is to develop a mouse emulator system for cervical spinal-cord injured PC user. In this system, a laser illuminated point on a liquid crystal display is detected with image processing software developed for this system and the mouse cursor moves the detected point. The evaluation results indicate that the proposed method is comfortable for cervical spinal-cord injured PC user to operate GUI windows system.
Design and Implementation of a Chorded On-Screen Keyboard for People with Physical Impairments BIBAFull-Text 981-988
  Yun-Lung Lin; Ming-Chung Chen; Yao-Ming Yeh; Wen-Jeng Tzeng; Chih-Ching Yeh
The purposes of this study were to design an alternative on-screen keyboard for people with physical impairments and to evaluate the efficacy of the chorded input method. The approach of the on-screen keyboard is based on the human computer interface. It gives visual guide and instant feedback to show users where they can find the characters they need. The system has been designed with the principles of universal design. Three factors including the learning ability, efficiency of using and subjective satisfaction are considered as the usability evaluation. According to a preliminary study, the participant felt mastered the text input method quickly. An experimental evaluation on the typing performance of the subjects with muscular dystrophy will be measured under both scanning input mode and chorded input mode in the future.

People with Motor and Mobility Impairment: Innovative Interfaces to Wheelchairs

People with Motor and Mobility Impairment: Innovative Multimodal Interfaces to Wheelchairs BIBAKFull-Text 989-991
  Andreas Holzinger; Alexander K. Nischelwitzer
Standard Interfaces have limited accessibility. Multimodal user interfaces combine various input and output modalities (including seeing/vision, hearing/audition, haptic/tactile, taste/gustation, smell/olfaction etc.), which are a classical research area in Human-Computer Interaction. One of the advantages of multiple modalities is increased flexibility in Usability. The weaknesses of one modality are offset by the strengths of another. For example, on a mobile device with a small visual interface and keypad, a word may be quite difficult to read/type, however very easy to say/listen. Such interfaces, in combination with mobile technologies, can have tremendous implications for accessibility and consequently, they are a potential benefit for people with a wide variety of impairments. Multimodal interfaces must be designed and developed exactly to fit the needs, requirements, abilities and different knowledge levels of the targeted end-users. It is also important to consider different contexts of use. However, in order to achieve advances in both research and development of such interfaces, it is essential to bring researchers and practitioners from Psychology and Computer Science together.
   Introducing Statement: Today, together for better interfaces of tomorrow!
Keywords: Human-Computer Interaction & Usability Engineering (HCI&UE); Multimodal User Interfaces (MUI); Auditive User Interfaces (AUI)
Accessible User Interface Framework for Severely Physically Disabled People BIBAFull-Text 992-998
  Michael Mahr; Alexander K. Nischelwitzer
This paper presents a software concept to allow severely physically disabled people to enter the information age. The software concept consists of a software framework which can be used to reduce the cost of adapting applications to special input devices. The software framework in particular allows different types of input devices for severely disabled people to be subsumed into one software interface. Thus if an application is extended to support this framework, the application automatically supports all current and future input devices for severely physically disabled people. It turns out that several software challenges need to be mastered in order for the framework to satisfy the tremendous need for adaptability of severely physically disabled people.
MediaWheelie -- A Best Practice Example for Research in Multimodal User Interfaces (MUIs) BIBAKFull-Text 999-1005
  Alexander K. Nischelwitzer; Bernd Sproger; Michael Mahr; Andreas Holzinger
For many motorically disabled people it is extremely difficult to operate keyboards. This is worst with tiny keyboards for example on mobile phones. This paper reports on research in multimodal user interfaces in order to assist disabled people to operate mobile phones or other equipment of daily life. Research in this area is gaining insight into problems and solutions which are generally applicable to assist the e-Society including elderly people or patients within a hospital. In the project described a so called MediaWheelie was developed, which is itself a common electric wheelchair which is extended by various multimedia devices. The focus was on usability and accessibility by following an end-user centered development.
   Introducing Statement: The old interface is about what developers like; the new interface is about what end-users really need.
Keywords: Multimodal User Interfaces (MUI); Accessibility; Audicons; Usability; Tacticons; Auditive User Interfaces (AUI); 2D audio interfaces
NIBLUM: Non-Invasive Bluetooth Mouse for Wheelchair Users BIBAFull-Text 1006-1013
  Roberto Casas; Marcos Quilez; Borja Romero; Oscar Casas
Being autonomous is one of the biggest challenges for many people with disabilities. While wheelchairs enable individuals to move freely, computers allow them to communicate, work, etc. by their own. In many cases both devices are controlled by two different interfaces of the same kind -- two joysticks -- and people need the assistance of a second person to switch between them. In this article we describe how any person that drives a wheelchair using a joystick, can control the pointer of any computer using the same driving joystick and without being helped by anyone. This device, NIBLUM, uses Bluetooth to get a wireless and transparent connection with the computer. As it is not necessary to modify the wheelchair, its manufacturer's guaranty is not voided, something essential to enable NIBLUM's real usage.
Smart Wheelchair Based on Ultrasonic Positioning System BIBAFull-Text 1014-1020
  HyungJun Kim; DaeHyun Ryu
We present a robot wheelchair based on a UPS (Ultrasound Positioning System) for the elderly or the disabled. The proposed robot wheelchair system, called Smart Wheelchair, is a standard powered wheelchair equipped with a laptop computer which supports a variety of GUIs (graphical user inter-faces) for the disabled and a micro-processor system equipped with UPS and external connectivity modules. The Smart Wheelchair incorporates state-of-the-art technology providing information about the location of the wheelchair based on its movement, which is beyond comparison to ordinary wheelchairs that have just one function: to move patients. The Smart Wheelchair can provide users with driving assistance and take over low-level navigation to allow the user to travel efficiently, safely and easily.
Scenarios of Use for a Modular Robotic Mobility Enhancement System for Profoundly Disabled Children in an Educational and Institutional Care Environment BIBAFull-Text 1021-1028
  Peter Mayer; Paul Panek; Georg Edelmayer; Marnix Nuttin; Wolfgang Zagler
In the framework of the EU funded MOVEMENT Project a novel modular robotic system is being developed which aims at supporting the mobility of elderly citizens and persons with disabilities. This paper outlines some of the use cases which were developed for the envisaged system with focus on assisting severely disabled children and their carers in an institutional environment. Six scenarios were developed and commented by nine professional carers. The paper presents and discusses the qualitative and quantitative data gained from user panel discussion. It was found that the concept and the use cases of MOVEMENT system were very well rated regarding utility which confirms the work of the consortium up to now. The future development activities towards the roll out and evaluation of the first MOVEMENT prototype platform are described.

Blind and Visually Impaired People: Human Computer Interface

Blind and Visually Impaired People: Human Computer Interface BIBAFull-Text 1029-1030
  Grigori Evreinov
For over ten years human-computer interface, blind interaction and integration of visually impaired users with sighted users are the key issues of equal access to information and service. The vast research on alternative visualization, augmented communication, user-centered design and usability has been done, and much more projects and solutions are under development. However, several generations of graphical interfaces (Xerox, Apple, Microsoft) have brought less or no benefits for the blind users. Some elderly people still recall the times of DOS and command line, when both the system and application software levels were almost equally accessible. Nowadays, multi-processor operating systems are extremely complex and perform hundreds of routine tasks which are not necessary to be supervised or adapted for the user control at all.
A Framework for Blind User Interfacing BIBAFull-Text 1031-1038
  Fernando Alonso; José L. Fuertes; Ángel L. González; Loïc Martínez
There are specific usability requirements that have to be met when developing dual interfaces, that is, graphical user interfaces that are adapted for blind users. These include task adequacy, dimensional trade-off, behavior equivalence, semantic loss avoidance and device independence. Consequently, the development of human-computer interfaces that are based on the task, domain, dialog, presentation, platform and user models has to be modified to take into account these requirements. This paper presents a framework that includes these requirements, allowing for the development of dual interfaces. The framework includes a set of guidelines for interface design, a toolkit for the low effort implementation of the user interface, and a programming library for the inclusion of speech and Braille in applications. A case study of the development of one such dual interface application is also presented.
An Approach for Direct Manipulation by Tactile Modality for Blind Computer Users: Development of the Second Trial Production BIBAFull-Text 1039-1046
  Shigenobu Shimada; Masami Shinohara; Yutaka Shimizu; Makoto Shimojo
A basic device combining a tactile display function and a touch position sensing function is proposed. The trial device consists of two major components, a tactile graphic display and a six-axis force/torque sensor. The force sensor measures six dynamic values generated by touch action on the display surface and a PC estimates the touch position based on the data. Since the defects of the first trial production are the weakness of the touch surface, an assembly error, and the measurement error of six-axis force/torque sensor, they are solved in the second trial production. The effect of a contact force on the estimated position are examined respectively by a vertical component and a horizontal component. It is shown from the above experimental results that the second trial production is practically sufficient estimated position accuracy.
Making Nonaccessible Applications Accessible for Visually Impaired BIBAFull-Text 1047-1054
  Tomáš Zahradnický; Róbert Lórencz
Apple Human Interface Guidelines state that all applications should be accessible in order to provide the best user experience. Not all software vendors honor this statement and if an application does not support accessibility, people with disability or a special need can hardly use it or cannot use it at all. The purpose of this paper is to present a method that is capable of extending an already existing applications to support accessibility without the necessity to have access to the source code of the application. Paper proposes the use of Mach code injection techniques to load access enabling code into the context of the access enabled application and describes ways that are used to make the application accessible. There is also a case study of proposals offered by this paper on a portion of ProTools, a professional audio editing software that makes its mix table window accessible.
Usability Evaluation of the MOST Mobile Assistant (SlatTalker) BIBAFull-Text 1055-1062
  Zoltan Juhasz; Andras Arato; Gabor Bognar; Laszlo Buday; Gergely Eberhardt; et al
The goal of the MOST project is to develop a novel, inexpensive, easy-to-use digital talking device for blind and visually impaired users based on off-the-shelf handheld computers (Personal Digital Assistant). The device provides a novel user interface based on a simple menu system and Braille text input, and a range of application programs to support everyday tasks, including clock, notepad, phone and short messaging, email. This paper reports on the usability evaluation of the device, its strategy and implementation, and shows that our approach results in an easy to learn and use system with input speed comparable to sighted users.
Non-visual Access to GUIs: Leveraging Abstract User Interfaces BIBAFull-Text 1063-1070
  Kris Van Hees; Jan Engelen
Various approaches to providing blind users with access to graphical user interfaces have been researched extensively in the past 15 years, and yet accessibility is still facing many obstacles. Graphical environments such as X Windows offer a high degree of freedom to both the developer and the user, complicating the accessibility problem even more. Existing technology is largely based on either a combination of graphical toolkit hooks, queries to the application and scripting, or model-driven user interface development. Both approaches have limitations that the proposed research addresses. This paper builds upon past and current research into accessibility, and promotes the use of abstract user interfaces to providing non-visual access to GUIs.
Design Guidelines for Audio-Haptic Immersive Applications for People with Visual Disabilities BIBAFull-Text 1071-1078
  Fernando Alonso; José L. Fuertes; Loïc Martínez; Héctor Szabo
We describe the goals, issues and constraints found creating audio-haptic applications oriented to people with visual disabilities. Using audio-haptic games as a measuring tool, we have found unexpected features in the user's audio perception. Our goal is to define a model of perception and usability guidelines for developers creating immersive accessible applications. This paper presents initial findings, related to user precision over 3D audio and haptic effects. The game and environment use a multichannel speaker array taking advantage of Microsoft DirectX multichannel audio support (5.1) as the audio processing abstraction layer. The environment allows simple haptic assistance through force feedback joystick devices, also supported by Microsoft DirectX as the force feedback and user input abstraction layer.
The Amodal Communication System Through an Extended Directional Input BIBAFull-Text 1079-1086
  Georgios Yfantidis; Grigori Evreinov
Multi-modal interfaces have been overflowing HCI research, incorporating the different senses, to provide adequate feedback or input for human-device interaction. The plethora of sensory combinations that this "creeping multimodalism" implies seems to be creating an oxymoron when it is used as a solution to help people with sensory problems and/or limitations dealing with interfaces. A better solution for those people would be to use systems where the traditional senses are obsolete as driving factors of the interaction, and they are only used as peripheral aids. The quest for such an amodal user experience is the object of our current research.

Blind and Visually Impaired People: Access to Information and Communication

Multimedia Browser for Internet Online Daisy Books BIBAFull-Text 1087-1093
  Piotr Brzoza; Dominik Spinczyk
Visually impaired people have limited access to printed media: books, magazines, newspapers etc. Only one to five percentage of printed books and magazines are published in the form accessible for this group of readers. Nowadays printed materials are prepared on computers in digital form. These documents can be accessible for all readers. Paper describes a computer system enabling interactive online presentation of multimedia Daisy books over the Internet. The system cooperates with the Internet multimedia library computer management system. The main goal of both projects and their execution, is easy and effective access to information for visually impaired people. We focus on new feature of our DaisyReader which allows interactive voice reading of math formulas.
Automated Book Reader for Persons with Blindness BIBAFull-Text 1094-1101
  Malek Adjouadi; Eddy Ruiz; Lu Wang
This research introduces a new automatic book reader for persons with blindness. The objective is to design a fully integrated system that is relatively fast and yet inexpensive and effective with a high reading accuracy. Through the use of two inexpensive light weight cameras, a book holder and using regular lighting of an office or a lab environment, this integrated system addresses through software development (a) the mathematical foundation of perspective distortion introduced by page curvature of an open book, and of barrel correction introduced by the inherent nature of image capture of the camera; (b) image preprocessing for finding lines and characters in a given image; and (c) the implementation of a fast neural network that takes as input the findings of step (b) and provides an audible read out through a speech synthesis engine.
RoboBraille -- Automated Braille Translation by Means of an E-Mail Robot BIBAFull-Text 1102-1109
  Lars Ballieu Christensen
As society becomes increasingly dependent on literacy, the problems of textual information inaccessible to print-impaired people are likely to grow. This paper discusses the problems of decentralised, user-driven Braille translation and proposes an alternative: The centralised, email-based RoboBraille service capable of translating to and from contracted Braille, including any pre- or post processing steps required to convert between document types, formats and character sets. As such, the RoboBraille service attempts to solve a universal problem as it makes textual information accessible to people who would otherwise find it inaccessible due to disability or reading difficulties. Originally a Danish service, a pan-European consortium is currently validating RoboBraille in six European countries with financial support from the European Commission.
Accessing Music Notation Through Touch and Speech BIBAFull-Text 1110-1117
  Ben P. Challis
A system for the non-visual presentation of music notation is described. Derived from an earlier test-platform for the establishment of a set of principles for tactile communication, the Weasel notation system has been redesigned to facilitate both music-reading and composition tasks. Using tactile overlays on a touchpad, speech output/input and audio-playback, the system allows the reader to browse and interact with music notation in a way that is appropriate to the majority of common music reading and writing tasks.

Blind People: Access to Graphics

Math Class: An Application for Dynamic Tactile Graphics BIBAFull-Text 1118-1121
  Peter Albert
Research work has been ongoing in the field of dynamic display of tactile graphics for about forty years now. Compared to these numerous efforts, the number of systems actually in use in daily life has remained quite low. Today, there are still very few workplaces for the blind that include a dynamic tactile graphic display for providing information in graphic form, besides speech and Braille output systems. One application which does utilize such devices today, however, are math classes in schools. The following paper introduces a system that permits blind students to both create and explore mathematical graphics without assistance.
Helping People with Visual Impairments Gain Access to Graphical Information Through Natural Language: The iGraph System BIBAFull-Text 1122-1130
  Leo Ferres; Avi Parush; Shelley Roberts; Gitte Lindgaard
Much numerical information is visualized in graphs. However, this is a medium that is problematic for people with visual impairments. We have developed a system called iGraph which provides short verbal descriptions of the information usually depicted in graphs. This system was used as a preliminary solution that was validated through a process of User Needs Analysis (UNA). This process provided some basic data on the needs of people with visual impairments in terms of the components and the language to be used for graph comprehension and also validated our initial approach. The UNA provided important directions for the further development of iGraph particularly in terms of interactive querying of graphs.
Fingertip Guiding Manipulator: Haptic Graphic Display for Mental Image Creation BIBAFull-Text 1131-1138
  Yoshihiko Nomura; Yuki Yagi; Tokuhiro Sugiura; Hirokazu Matsui; Norihiko Kato
A fingertip guiding manipulator was developed as a haptic graphic display for blind people: it helps them create mental images of raised graphics and reliefs with stroke order. Through fingertip kinesthetic sense, while foreseeing the direction of the upcoming stroke by perceiving the knob's direction, users experience the uplifted and fallen strokes by perceiving their fingertips being pulled in the horizontal and vertical directions. Especially, the up-lifting function expands a representation capability from "single stroke graphics" to "multiple stroke graphics.
Graphic Editor for Visually Impaired Users BIBAFull-Text 1139-1146
  Atsushi Nishi; Ryoji Fukuda
Additional adequate graphical contents are very effective in various communications. The same is clearly true of information given by a visually impaired person. The main purpose of our system is to create graphical contents without any visual information. The targets are fundamental mathematical graphic objects. Making use of a tactile pin display and ultrasonic pen, users input graphical object hearing several audio assists.
Exploiting SenseCam for Helping the Blind in Business Negotiations BIBAFull-Text 1147-1154
  Shuaib Karim; Amin Andjomshoaa; A. Min Tjoa
During business meetings, blind persons are not able to see the meaningful movements, and facial gestures of the participants. The formal meeting minutes and / or participants' conversation during the meeting normally lack this important feedback in order to determine who is in favor and who is against their proposed suggestions. This is crucial in business negotiations, where one has to convince people and do lobbying for winning the business case in upcoming meetings. Today the devices already exist for instantly and seamlessly capturing the snapshots everywhere. The proposition suggests data capture using a similar device called SenseCam, and then making these snapshots accessible for the benefit of the visually impaired users.
On the Accuracy of Tactile Displays BIBAFull-Text 1155-1162
  Christopher Power
Inaccuracies in the reporting of finger positions from electronic tactile displays can result in errors in the audio presentation of multi-modal applications. In this paper, we conduct an experiment to examine the accuracy of one such device. Given the results of this experiment, we present a collection of recommendations for the spacing of objects within a tactile scene.
HOWARD: High-Order Wavefront Aberration Regularized Deconvolution for Enhancing Graphic Displays for Visually Impaired Computer Users BIBAFull-Text 1163-1170
  Miguel, Jr. Alonso; Armando Barreto; Malek Adjouadi; Julie A. Jacko
High-Order Wavefront Aberration Regularized Deconvolution (HOWARD) is a complete closed loop system developed for simulating human visual function with the primary goal of enhancing graphic computer displays for users that have refractive errors (resulting in difficulty interacting with visual displays). Visual function is a primary requirement for a human being to engage in computer usage efficiently. There are situations in which common forms of vision correction, such as contact lenses or glasses are not sufficient to provide the necessary compensation for some users to interact with graphic displays. This paper presents a model for the visual function of an imaging system, the implementation of an artificial eye with high-order wavefront aberrations, as well as a method for providing compensation of the artificial eye through a graphic display.

Blind People: Access to Mathematics

"BlindMath" a New Scientific Editor for Blind Students BIBAFull-Text 1171-1174
  A. Pepino; C. Freda; F. Ferraro; S. Pagliara; F. Zanfardino
Today studying mathematics and science for blind students is still an open problem both in Secondary school and at the University in so far as it concerns the effectiveness of teaching approaches, methods and devices (1) Many national and international projects have given a contribution to bring different technical solutions. But, at least in Italy, these solutions are not effective yet in the schools, probably because human, social and organizational aspects have not really been taken into adequate consideration. Here a new method will be proposed, a method which will put forward new technical solutions for editing scientific books and documents but essentially will give adequate answers to operational and practical problems.
Translating MathML into Nemeth Braille Code BIBAFull-Text 1175-1182
  Paul B. Stanley; Arthur I. Karshmer
An assistive software application has been created that translates math statements encoded as MathML into Nemeth Braille Code (NBC). This translation is conducted in two phases, the translation of the MathML elements into NBC, then the implementation of rules specific to Nemeth Braille that are irrelevant to MathML. All MathML elements holding semantically relevant information are translated by this program, including the nesting of elements to any level. Some of the syntactical rules inherent to NBC such as the use of the numeric indicator; additional space characters; and some contractions have also been implemented; other rules remain to be incorporated. The NBC can be exported in three ways (1) directly to a refreshable Braille device via a serial connection in real time; (2) saved as a text file then downloaded into a Braille device; and (3) save as a text file then embossed by a third party application. This application allows a person with no Braille experience to enter a math equation into any equation editor that can save that statement in the MathML format, and then convert that statement into Nemeth Braille Code for perusal by the visually impaired.
New Environment for Visually Disabled Students to Access Scientific Information by Combining Speech Interface and Tactile Graphics BIBAFull-Text 1183-1190
  Toshihiko Komada; Katsuhito Yamaguchi; Fukashi Kawane; Masakazu Suzuki
We recently developed a math document editor with a function of speech output. Using this software named "ChattyInfty," visually disabled students not only can read scientific documents including math expressions with speech output but also can author or edit them. One of remarkable features of ChattyInfty is its availability of recognition results by our math OCR system. By combining them, we construct a system to enable students with visual disabilities to access scientific documents in print for themselves. Furthermore, using tactile graphic tools, we realize an environment in which they can grasp and correct recognition errors without any aid of sighted people.
Canonical MathML to Simplify Conversion of MathML to Braille Mathematical Notations BIBAFull-Text 1191-1198
  Dominique Archambault; Victor Moço
This paper describes the Canonical MathML, a tentative to unify MathML structures in a deterministic way in order to simplify transcription into Braille. All Mathematical structures that are necessary to perform a correct transcription into Mathematical Braille are recognised and rewritten in a unique way. Additionally Canonical MathML is valid MathML so it can be used with common tools which handle MathML. The Canonical MathML was successfully used to build several transcribers from MathML to Braille national codes.
Mathematics: How and What to Speak BIBAFull-Text 1199-1206
  D. Fitzpatrick
Access to mathematical content for blind and vision impaired people continues to be a problem. The inherently visual nature of this form of presentation is neither easily or readily accessible using the linear representations in common usage by this community.
   This paper proposes methodology for depicting mathematics in a non-visual manner. It will be shown how, through the prosodic component found in spoken language, the structure of mathematical formulae may be disambiguated. We will also discuss lexical cues which can be added to the utterance to further reduce the ambiguity which can be very evident in this form of material.
SBT: A Translator from Spanish Mathematical Braille to MathML BIBAFull-Text 1207-1214
  Fernando Alonso; José L. Fuertes; Ángel L. González; Loïc A. Martínez
One of the key issues for integrating blind people into everyday life is education. For many educational subjects, however, there is no suitable assistive technology for blind people. One especially sensitive question facing blind people is learning mathematical language, apart from interacting with sighted teachers and students. This article presents a Spanish mathematical Braille to mathematical notation (MathML) conversion system to fill this gap. The translation system has been designed as a portable programming library, it solves ambiguities in Spanish mathematical Braille and it generates an intermediate code, which means that it can be easily adapted to other Braille languages or to other output formats.
Braille Math Made Easy with the Tiger Formatter BIBAFull-Text 1215-1222
  John A. Gardner; Leon Ungier; John J. Boyer
The Tiger® Braille Formatter is a Windows® software application used to transform MS Office documents into a form suitable for embossing on ViewPlus® Tiger® technology embossers. Tiger® embossers have 20 dot per inch resolution and can emboss Braille and tactile graphics with variable height dots. The Formatter's primary purpose is to replace text with Braille and reformat the document to accommodate the considerably larger font size needed for Braille than normal text. A new release of the Formatter will include ability to transform math within MS Word documents to virtually any standard Braille code, to DotsPlus® Braille, or to custom Braille codes developed by individual users. The new open source Liblouis open source translator is used for both literary and math Braille translation.
LAMBDA: A European System to Access Mathematics with Braille and Audio Synthesis BIBAFull-Text 1223-1230
  Waltraud Schweikhardt; Cristian Bernareggi; Nadine Jessel; Benoit Encelle; et al
This paper deals with an innovative method to improve access to mathematics by blind students in an educational setting. It was designed and developed in the European project LAMBDA (Linear Access to Mathematics for Braille Device and Audio-synthesis). This system is made up of two main functional components: the LAMBDA code and the mathematical editor. The research project is funded by the European Union in the framework of the IST Programme. It started in 2002 and will end in 2006.
Speech Recognition Helps Visually Impaired People Writing Mathematical Formulas BIBAFull-Text 1231-1234
  Tomáš Hanakovic; Marek Nagy
We present a web-based application that can use a speech dialog to write mathematical formulas. It is suitable also for visually impaired people. A voice control is simple and easy-to-use to reach accessibility goals. All functions are separated to relevant categories in menu and accessible via mouse as well as voice. Application is based on X+V [1] technology, java web-server and browser-side scripting.
Supporting Blind Students in Navigation and Manipulation of Mathematical Expressions: Basic Requirements and Strategies BIBAFull-Text 1235-1242
  Bernhard Stoeger; Mario Batusic; Klaus Miesenberger; Philipp Haindl
In [10], the problems faced by a blind or visually impaired student in doing Mathematics were analyzed, and the basic ideas of a MAWEN (Mathematical Working Environment), a software solution to help overcome these pressing difficulties, were described. The present paper builds upon the latter one, refining the ideas sketched there. After a thorough description of the state of the art, we present some general considerations on the problems met by a blind pupil when navigating within mathematical expressions and when doing calculations. Finally, through several case studies taken from mainstream school books, strategies to provide computer aided support to overcome the problems are outlined.
Scientific Diagrams Made Easy with IVEO™ BIBAFull-Text 1243-1250
  John A. Gardner; Vladimir Bulatov
Virtually all modern scientific documents and textbooks use graphical illustrations and/or data displays. The ViewPlus IVEO™ technology, based on Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) is being developed to permit scientists to publish such graphics in a form fully usable by all people. The first release of IVEO™ was designed to make simple graphics accessible. Development of the second release, which includes improved text accessibility, linking, and interactivity, is described in this paper. We also discuss new research to expand accessibility of quantitative data in IVEO™ documents by using non-speech audio.

Blind and Visually Impaired People: Mobility and Orientation

CyARM: Interactive Device for Environment Recognition and Joint Haptic Attention Using Non-visual Modality BIBAFull-Text 1251-1258
  Tetsuo Ono; Takanori Komatsu; Jun-ichi Akita; Kiyohide Ito; Makoto Okamoto
We have developed CyARM, a new kind of sensing device especially for visually impaired persons, to assist with mobility and detection of nearby objects. This user interface has unique characteristics of giving visually impaired persons the impression of an "imaginary arm" that extends to existing obstacles. CyARM is also a communication device for constructing "joint haptic attention" between impaired and unimpaired persons watching or feeling the same objects. In other words, this device offers a new methodology for judging the others' attentions or intentions without using their eye gaze direction. We verified the efficiency and ability of CyARM for environment recognition through experiments and discuss its possibility as a communication device for realizing joint haptic attention.
Marking in the Surroundings by Data-Carriers for the Visually Impaired BIBAFull-Text 1259-1264
  Hisayuki Tatsumi; Yasuyuki Murai; Nobuyuki Nagai; Masahiro Miyakawa
We are conducting a research project aimed at building an information secured environment for the visually impaired, especially in our campus, by combining data-carrier technology and networks. We use RFID tags and networks to keep the environmental information and to trace the changes in the environment. Our approach is the following: 1. In the mental map kept by the visually impaired person landmarks play a significant role, 2. We can turn any object (location) in the surroundings into a landmark by attaching an RFID tag to it, 3. The changes in the environment could be recognized, at least roughly, by recognizing changes of landmarks. We outline two methods to trace the changes of locations of RFID tags in the environment. The first one is to detect the moves of active RFID tags directly by analyzing the signals emitted from them. The second one is to trace the moves of passive RFID-tags by autonomous cruising robots. In both cases the changes are kept and updated in the network, and then conveyed to a visually impaired person according to his inquiry.
A Study and Development of the Auditory Route Map Providing System for the Visually Impaired BIBAFull-Text 1265-1272
  Takafumi Ienaga; Michito Matsumoto; Masahiro Shibata; Nobuyuki Toyoda; Youko Kimura; et al
These days, we are able to get updated visual map freely from web sites. However, auditory maps for the visually impaired were not able to get easily. So, we studied about the system which enables us to generate and provide the auditory map via Internet. In this paper, we described about the production rules of our auditory map. And, we also described about the questionnaire and two experiments to determine the information which was put into the map. The results of experiment suggested that it is important whether the subjects were able to find the point for changing their directions to reach to the destination. And we applied that suggestion to our prototype system. And, finally, we also described about the problems of our system and our future works.
Identification of Acoustic Factors for Perception of Crossability Common to Blind and Sighted Pedestrians BIBAFull-Text 1273-1279
  Takayuki Shiose; Kiyohide Ito; Kazuhiko Mamada
This paper describes which auditory information affects the accuracy of "perception of crossability" for blind people. We have created a "virtual 3D acoustic environment" in which subjects feel a car passing in front of them to help them cross a road safely. The system is theoretically based on acoustic "time-to-contact" information, which is the most important concept in Ecological Psychology. Experimental results suggest that blind people tend to estimate the acoustic "time-to-contact" significantly longer than did sighted people. However, there are no significant differences between their sensitivities toward the speed of a moving sound source and the gain level of indirect sounds.
A Computer-Based Navigation System Tailored to the Needs of Blind People BIBAFull-Text 1280-1286
  Bettina Pressl; Manfred Wieser
For blind people it is very difficult to orientate in an urban area. Especially in an unknown environment they cannot move independently and need the help of a sighted person. With the development of a navigation system tailored to the special needs of blind people their mobility will increase. Blind people make high demands on all components of the navigation system. These requirements and possible solutions are worked out in a project with the collaboration of blind people. The development aims at a prototype of a navigation system which covers the overall spectrum of navigational components. This comprises an appropriate modeling of the navigational environment, fast routing algorithms generating lists of maneuvers, suitable positioning tools, reliable map matching algorithms for route checking, and finally, adequate guidance instructions.
A Haptic Interface for an Indoor-Walk-Guide Simulator BIBAFull-Text 1287-1293
  Yasuyuki Murai; Hisayuki Tatsumi; Nobuyuki Nagai; Masahiro Miyakawa
We are developing a haptic-sensable system to help a blind person understand 3D shapes. As a first attempt we have implemented a pathway simulator which simulates a guiding of a pathway through haptic recognition. If we could indicate a pathway by haptic means to the user, i.e., if we simulate a feeling sensed in his palm and caused by a sliding long cane along the pathway, we believe it might give him an on-site feeling of the pathway. The purpose of this haptic pathway simulator is to help a user with his making a mental map of the pathway. So in the simulator we provide guiding information of the surroundings verbally as well.
Computer Vision-Based Terrain Sensors for Blind Wheelchair Users BIBAFull-Text 1294-1297
  James Coughlan; Roberto Manduchi; Huiying Shen
We demonstrate computer vision techniques designed to aid blind or severely visually impaired wheelchair users. These techniques will be used to sense important features in nearby terrain from images collected by cameras mounted rigidly to the wheelchair. They will assist in the detection of hazards such as obstacles and drop-offs ahead of or alongside the chair, as well as detecting veer, finding curb cuts, finding a clear path, and maintaining a straight course. The resulting information is intended ultimately to be integrated with inputs from other sensors and communicated to the traveler using synthesized speech and/or audible tones and tactile cues, supplementing rather than replacing the user's existing cane, guide dog and wayfinding skills.
The Blind Interactive Guide System Using RFID-Based Indoor Positioning System BIBAFull-Text 1298-1305
  Jongwhoa Na
In this paper, we designed and implemented the Blind Interactive Guide System (BIGS) for the blind person to use in the building. The BIGS uses RFID-based indoor positioning system to acquire the current location information of the user. The system consists of two parts: the smart floor and the portable terminal unit. The smart floor is a floor of a building where each tile of the floor has the passive RFID tag which transmits a unique ID number. The portable terminal unit is an embedded system equipped with an RFID reader as an input device so that the BIGS can get the current location information of the user. Using the preinstalled map of the target floor, the blind person can navigate to the final destination. The prototype is implemented and successfully operated.

Blind and Visually Impaired People: Education and Training

An IT Training Programme for Blind Computer Users -- Presentation and Discussion of Didactic and Teletutorial Implications BIBAFull-Text 1306-1312
  Mario Batušic; Andrea Gaal; Joachim Klaus; Mary O'Grady
The current discussion about the inclusion of people with disabilities into an open labour market is characterised by dominant economic aspects. The unemployment situation of people with disabilities -- irrespective of their intellectual level -- varies in the different partner countries. The transnational EU LdV Programme IDOL (Inclusion of Disabled in Open Labour Market) aims to open sensibilities and understanding concerning the situation of people with disabilities especially with visual impairment. Its focus is to develop and to implement an IT and psychological training programme for this target group in the different partner countries and in future in all EU countries.
Usability for All: Towards Improving the E-Learning Experience for Visually Impaired Users BIBAFull-Text 1313-1317
  Eva Patrícia Gil Rodríguez; Muriel Garreta Domingo; Jordi Planella Ribera; et al
The new Information Society context entails new risks of social exclusion due to the digital exclusion even when it generates new possibilities for inclusion thanks to accessible Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) and universal design [15]. In this context, we see that e-learning provides a powerful tool towards social inclusion. Yet, we have seen that compliance with accessibility and e-learning standards together with the usage of adequate devices does not guarantee a satisfactory experience for those with a disability [9]. As a result, our project specifically tackles the design of educational technical applications specifically developed for the visually impaired, following a user-centered design perspective.
Issues in Implementing Awareness in Collaborative Software for Blind People BIBAFull-Text 1318-1325
  Jaime Sánchez; Nelson Baloian
There is no doubt among the members of the CSCW community that awareness is a key issue in the design of successful collaborative software. In many systems awareness mechanisms have been implemented through displaying graphic information over the system's interface. However, this strategy does not apply when the end users of the system are blind people. In this work we report the problems we encountered when implementing a collaborative game for supporting the learning of music and sound by blind people when trying to develop effective awareness mechanisms. The preliminary results have helped us to be "aware" about some characteristics awareness mechanisms should have for blind people which are not as prominent and problematic for sighted people.
Modeling 3D Interactive Environments for Learners with Visual Disabilities BIBAFull-Text 1326-1333
  J. Sánchez; N. Baloian
Educational software has been criticized for not using explicit models to generalize and replicate good practices. Actually almost every educational program has a model, but most of them remain implicit. In this paper we propose a methodology for developing educational software for children with visual disabilities. Multimedia software for these children has some particularities reflected on our model with emphasis on process modelling including learner evaluation and feedback. The model emerges from research on developing educational software for children with visual disabilities and studies concerning the design of educational software for sighted learners. The model was validated by special education teachers and software designers trying the model with five software products based on model heuristics.
APL: Audio Programming Language for Blind Learners BIBAFull-Text 1334-1341
  Jaime Sánchez; Fernando Aguayo
Programming skills are strongly emphasized in computer science. Programming languages are constructed based on sighted people as end-users. We have designed Audio Programming Language for blind learners based on audio interfaces to support novice blind learners to develop and exercise problem solving skills. APL was designed with blind learners from the beginning to construct programs and solve problems with increasingly complexity. Audio Programming Language was usability tested during and after implementation. Blind learners used, wrote programs, and helped to make improvements to this programming language. Testing results evidence that APL mapped the mental models of blind learners and helped to motivate them to write programs and thus entering to the programming field.
eDiab: A System for Monitoring, Assisting and Educating People with Diabetes BIBAFull-Text 1342-1349
  L. Fernández-Luque; J. L. Sevillano; F. J. Hurtado-Núñez; F. J. Moriana-García; et al
In this paper, a system developed for monitoring, assisting and educating people with diabetes, named eDiab, is described. A central node (PDA or mobile phone) is used at the patient's side for the transmission of medical information, health advices, alarms, reminders, etc. The software is adapted to blind users by using a screen reader called Mobile Speak Pocket/Phone. The glucose sensor is connected to the central node through wireless links (Zigbee/Bluetooth) and the communication between the central node and the server is established with a GPRS/GSM connection. Finally, a subsystem for health education (which sends medical information and advice like treatment reminder), still under development, is briefly described.