Joaquin Sevilla, Ion Esandi, Julen Valgañón, Maitane Itoiz, Francisco J. Fabo
423 - 426
The aim of the project here presented is to develop a wireless remote control that enable users physically challenged to manage e-readers and tablets through devices adapted to their needs, by providing an alternative to the use of buttons or a conventional touch screen. The remote built acts as an interface between the reading device and the control system suitable for each user, joysticks pedals, blowers, etc. greatly increasing the accessibility to these technologies.
Julio Abascal, Olatz Arbelaitz, Myriam Arrue, Aizea Lojo, Javier Muguerza, Juan Eduardo Pérez, Iñigo Perona, Xabier Valencia
427 - 432
User-adapted interaction based on user modelling is a well known methodology that can be applied to enhance accessibility. To this respect, the structure and content of the user model is a key issue to ensure adequate adaptation. This paper describes the use of Web mining techniques to create user models that allow adaption of the Web interaction pattern. The main novelty of this system is the application of machine learning techniques to extract and structure information for the user model. Diverse adaptation techniques have been implemented for the specific user needs modelled.
Rocio Garcia, Elena Cerezuela, Rosa Yañez, Jose Luis Sevillano, Anton Civit
433 - 438
In this paper we analyze the future research topics that would have to be emphasized to improve the accessibility of Virtual Learning Environments (VLE). The analysis starts from the few previously available surveys on VLE accessibility and then complements this data by a questionnaire-based study with experts from industry and academia. The final results are mapped to the research lines and areas found in the EU Cardiac project showing that these provide a very good coverage of our requirements.
Alexandra Queirós, Joaquim Alvarelhão, Ana Luísa Gonçalves, Nelson Pacheco Rocha
441 - 445
The paper addresses the issue of a curriculum innovation for nursing and allied health professions and presents the inclusion of assistive technology as a mandatory subject of the formal education of future health professionals.
The ‘Caregiver Assessment of Skill Sets & Individualized Support through Training’ or ‘CG ASSIST’ project is a feasibility study that was designed to adapt, implement and evaluate a comprehensive hands-on skills training program with family caregivers of older adults who required assistance with transferring and/or positional change during daily activities. Specific objectives were to (1) field test a comprehensive in-home intervention delivered by a clinical expert which included training in caregiving skills and provision of assistive technology; and (2) to compare two needs assessment procedures (caregivers' subjective self-reports of dyadic performance during ADL task execution and objective, observation-based ratings made by Clinical Experts as part of the comprehensive assessments in the CG ASSIST pilot study.) Ratings of ADL performance in 4 domains were examined using percent agreement (P++, Cohen's Kappa (K) and the intra-class correlation coefficient (ICC). In general, concordance was poor but varied by task and domain for: level of assistance (ICC=.36, ns -.84, p<.005), safety (P++ = .11 - .53; K = -.07 - .11, ns), satisfaction with skills (P++ = .42 - .75 K =.11 - .23, ns); and reports of assistive technology and environmental supports present (ICC = -.01, ns - .60, p<.005) and used appropriately (ICC = -.06, ns - .53, p<.05). All dyads received AT and training on the safe and appropriate use of the equipment until the caregivers felt comfortable with their ability to use the AT and the Clinical Experts rated appropriate device use as 100%. These data point to the importance of the periodic assessment of ADL task performance and evaluation of assistive technology used by dyads for ADLs.
Since 2000 we encourage our students, future therapists or support teachers, to make personalized educational activities and games, in particular when commercial products are not available. So we aim to describe this experience and, through an on-line questionnaire, we analyze the professionals' opinions about the impact of learning how to use presentation software to make games in the present-day. Most former students mentioned that they design and implement part of the didactic materials used in their work with the clients and families. The main pros of this skill are the possibility to individualize the materials to the users and, in the long run, the time savings (just adapt the materials template). The main con was the time consuming of the initial prep work.
Care workers have the potential to play a fundamental role in advancing Assistive Technology (AT) in Europe. The use (or non-use) of personal enabling technology heavily depends on the awareness of the care workers and on their professional preparation. Whilst this is especially the case in care homes, nursing homes and other larger institutions, it is equally applicable to the (much larger) group of people with disabilities who are cared for in their own homes. Nevertheless many professional standards in the care sector, and the training leading to them, lack any specific reference to the importance of AT for the participation and inclusion of people with disabilities and elderly, and how this is related to the spirit of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. In this paper we will report on how the European Care Certificate (ECC) has recently updated its standard and adopted articles on enabling equipment, thus paving the way for a better preparation of the workforce with benefits for the entire social care environment.
The purpose of this study was to evaluate the effectiveness of cursor movement control (CMC) software and develop useful techniques for pointing device operation by people with physical disabilities. To accomplish this, experiments were conducted with the cooperation of users with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA). The results showed that, for a user who faced difficulty in operating a pointing device in specific directions, the CMC (separate control mode) application was effective because improvements in the usability could be achieved while making use of the user's ability. For a user whose operation was found to alter the direction and amount of cursor movement, the results suggested that an appropriate control mode would be to adjust the cursor movement by the same amount in all directions, which could reduce the physical burden on the user. In future work, we will make the CMC software available and will consider additional case studies.
Maria Borgestig, Torbjörn Falkmer, Helena Hemmingsson
473 - 477
The aim of this study was to describe how speed and accuracy in eye controlled computer performance changed over time for children with severe physical disabilities that used eye tracker controlled system (ETCS) in daily activities as an effect of assistive technology (AT) intervention. Data was collected with diaries and with Compass software. The preliminary results from this study from the first four children indicate that two children improved significantly in eye controlled performance up to 19 months since start of ETCS usage in daily activities.
Brain Computer Interfaces (BCIs) might be the only communication resort for patients with Locked In Syndrome (LIS). Auditory-P300-based interfaces might provide an communication alternative to such patients. In this study we evaluate in an on-line setting the Emotiv's Epoc performance for capturing auditory P300s. Five healthy subjects (3 male, 2 female) participated in an on-line multi-class auditory oddball paradigm. The stimuli set consisted of six musical instruments sounds, different in pitch and stereo spatialization. Two different conditions of 300 ms and 175 ms Inter Stimuli Interval (ISI) were tested. In each condition, the training data consisted of 10 sub-trial recordings, each sub-trial consisting of 25 repetitions in the 175 ms condition and of 15 ms in the 300m s condition. At the beginning of each sub-trial a target sound was presented for the subjects to focus on. Each repetition consisted of a randomized sequence of 6 stimuli appearing once each. After training a spatial filter using xDawn unsupervised algorithm and a linear discriminant analysis (LDA) classifier on a window from 250 ms to 750 ms after the stimuli presentation, the average on-line performance was 97,5% in the 175 ms condition and 90% in the 300 ms condition, resulting in an average information transfer rate (ITR) of 5.39 bits/min -in the 175 ms condition-. The average ITR is found to be 8.88 bits/min when taking into account the minimum number of repetitions is to achieve 70% accuracy, while the best performance was 9.99 bits/min.
Communication is a core aspect of the human life, since it makes us able to share concepts, information and needs. In patients afflicted by pathologies like Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) an interruption of communication ability occurs: the patient must use Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) aids to recover this capability. Due to the progress of the disease, the patient's abilities keep reducing, till complete paralysis. In that condition the only interface able to provide a communication channel is Brain Computer Interface (BCI). In the following we will present a P300-based BCI, integrated in a project implementing a remote monitoring system for ALS patients.
A. Tsakiris, P. Moschonas, N. Kaklanis, I. Paliokas, G. Stavropoulos, D. Tzovaras
489 - 493
In this paper, we present a novel methodology to assess the accessibility and usability of Graphical User Interfaces (GUIs) using virtual user models to describe the users' cognitive capacities and applying these models in simulated interaction with virtual prototypes of ICT products' UIs. We have implemented two tools, to facilitate GUI accessibility assessment: VerSEd-GUI, which supports the creation of custom GUI interaction scenario sequences in an implementation-agnostic manner and VerSim-GUI, for the simulated reproduction of these interactions by virtual users with cognitive impairments. Using these tools, we create a holistic methodology to assess the cognitive accessibility of GUIs.
A novel interface to enable people with severe upper limbs impairment use a smartphone and a tablet is presented in this paper. Since smartphone and tablet market is constantly increasing and is overcoming respectively the one of cellular phones and the one of notebooks, the availability of novel human device interfaces (HIDs) for the disabled person is mandatory. Few solutions for Android and IOS-based devices are available on the market but not all the disabled users can take advantages of these products since these HIDs can mainly be used with upper limbs. Even though other types of HID technologies for disabled users are available, such as camera-based and inertial guidance systems, these can nowadays be used only with personal computer operating systems and they are not available for operating systems dedicated to portable devices. Therefore the technology transfer to Android and IOS is an eligible and novel result. To this aim a device featuring inertial-based pointer guidance and connectivity for standard sensor switches, is presented in this paper. It allows a person with disability to upper limbs to use a smartphone and a tablet by means of head tilt. A prototype of the device has been developed and tested, allowing some preliminary tests. A second test campaign with final users is soon expected and a second version of the prototype will be released according to the user's feedbacks.
The aim of this paper is to make a validation of the Vella's model based on Fitts's law on several virtual keyboard layouts to prove its validity. Firstly, we have obtained this model through an experiment in three populations (able-bodied, suffering myopathy and tetraplegia). The Vella's model takes into account the motor behaviour variability inside of a population. We have observed a more important variation for the motor impairment than for the able-bodied. In second time, we have compared to the keyboard performance with the different models based on Fitts's law. Then we have evaluated the Vella's model on suffering myopathy subject. This one has used two virtual keyboards: Annie and AZERTY. Theoretical results have been compared with experimental results. The Vella's model is more efficient for suffering myopathy participants than for able-bodied participants . These results show that there are still strong needs to adapt the Fitts's law to accurately model the user's behavior.
Massimiliano Donati, Fabrizio Iacopetti, David Mandoloni, Francesco Giometti, Luca Fanucci
506 - 512
Mobile devices are indubitably the main tools for communications, and they offer a wide range of opportunities to the users. Especially for people with disabilities these devices produce benefits in social inclusion and security. Unfortunately, the accessibility of the current devices is compromised by small form factors, touchscreen input methods, complex user interfaces. A complete aid system is presented in this paper, to allow people with motor skill impairments to take advantage of mobile devices. It enables to control the main functionalities of a smartphone through different kinds of switch sensors for the exploitation of residual abilities. Compared with similar solutions, it reduces the efforts required to the user.
To control assistive devices to be used by seriously disabled people, we have focused on tongue motion. We have tried to develop an Integrated Tongue Operation Assist System (“I-to-AS”) to control a PWC and a PC as an AAC device. In this study we developed a stick type mouthpiece remote controller as a new type of the remote controller. This controller has a 4-directional tact switch and a push switch. To investigate the operativeness of the “I-to-AS” with the stick type mouthpiece remote controller, eight able-bodied candidates drove a PWC on the same course. Each candidate operated the PWC using the stick type mouthpiece remote controller by “Tongue” and by “Fingers”. The average driving times were compared and the difference between using the tongue and fingers was about 25% which was considered acceptable. These suggest that the “I-to-AS” with the stick type mouthpiece remote controller would be effective and it has the potential to be used by seriously disabled people.
David Thaller, Roland Ossmann, Gerhard Nussbaum, Stefan Parker, Franz Pühretmair
521 - 526
The open-source AsTeRICS system brings rapid prototyping together with Assistive Technologies (AT) and therefore revolutionizes the development process of AT systems. In several publications the technical baseline of the hardware and software components and the possibilities of the AsTeRICS system have been presented and discussed. Over the last 6 months prototype 2.0 has been tested by users in Austria, Poland and Spain and two setups for long-term users were installed to get quantitative measures about the systems quality. In the user trials different scenarios were tested like mouse-replacement, gaming and environmental control. 75 % of the users stated that they liked the models that were adapted and tailored to their individual needs and that these AT systems work better for them than any system they are using at the moment.
Joseph P. Lane, Jennifer A. Flagg, Michelle M. Lockett, James Condron
527 - 530
The Need to Knowledge Model is a static representation of the dynamic processes underlying the generation of technological innovations, involving three methodologies of scientific research, engineering development and industrial production. It is a framework through which government agencies and university faculty can plan, implement, manage and evaluation progress. Ensuring rigor and relevance requires much technical, marketing and consumer analyses, much of which falls outside the training and experience of academics and entrepreneurs. The paper describes the addition of nearly eighty analytic tools, chosen to represent the type of analyses required to optimize the probability of successfully reaching the marketplace and generating beneficial socioeconomic impacts.
Evert-Jan Hoogerwerf, Lorenzo Desideri, Massimiliano Malavasi, Matteo Rimondini, Andrea Kübler
531 - 536
Many research and development projects in the field of assistive technology involve the participation of people with disabilities as potential end users. Within the context of a recent brain-computer interface (BCI) project, the AT team of AIAS Bologna has tried to identify the core components of a framework that would endow end users with an enhanced role in the design of innovative solutions based on emergent technologies. The components identified are described in this paper.
Stefan Ortlieb, Gaby Streffing, Claus-Christian Carbon
537 - 542
In this paper we report the results of two multi-cultural user requirement surveys which have been conducted within the European AAL-JP-project fearless prior to technical specification of an ambient event detector for solitarily living elderly. Needs and expectations of older adults (N=259), relatives and trusted persons (N=215) as well as healthcare professionals (N=22) from Austria, Germany, Spain (Catalonia), and Italy were surveyed. Subsequently, a set of system requirements was derived from the empirical data. These requirements were integrated into a Technological Impact Assessment Model (TIAMo) which describes the interplay of technical performance, psychological well-being and business indicators related to the projected ambient event detector. In the forthcoming stages of the user-centered design process the TIAMo will serve as a “balanced scorecard” for project evaluation.
This article deals with the Italian localisation of the FABS/M  questionnaire, a new instrument measuring the effectiveness of mobility assistive technology devices. The FABS/M was developed in the United States within the framework of the ICF model. The questionnaire was translated into Italian and the resulting text was submitted to a panel of 6 experts including physiotherapists and biomedical engineers. After revision the questionnaire was field-tested by administering it to a cohort of 22 users of three types of assistive devices. The resulting questionnaire proved to be understandable and usable in the Italian context. The instrument showed to be suitable to assess environmental facilitators and barriers, helping to understand which items obstacle participation of individuals with lower limb mobility impairments and limitations in each one's real life situations. Information about obstacles and facilitators to participation can be used to improve measures and regulations concerning buildings, public places, transportation and personal attitude toward individuals with disability. While these improvements are made, adaptations of the assistive technologies service delivery system can be carried out to compensate for the gap.