Bournemouth University creates range of assistive technology solutions to promote inclusion – AT Today
An app that makes assistive technology recommendations for students; a framework that combines assistive technologies with the physical capabilities of users; and a project that enables people with disabilities to communicate their accessibility requirements to organizations are all part of Bournemouth University’s aim to create an inclusive society for people with disabilities.
Academics at Bournemouth University are researching solutions to help meet the needs of people with disabilities and create equitable access to society for all by harnessing the power of assistive technologies.
One of these projects is EduAbility. This smartphone application is intended for students with reduced physical and cognitive abilities, teachers, supervisory staff and parents. The app maps students’ abilities with appropriate assistive technologies to support their learning and provide recommendations.
The assistive technology recommendations will improve access to education and enable students to engage in educational activities, according to the university.
Led by Dr Huseyin Dogan and Dr Paul Whittington from Bournemouth University, the app also includes a training program for teachers and support staff in schools. This will increase their knowledge and awareness of available assistive technologies and how they can help their students.
The training kit includes interactive videos, quizzes and publications to engage teachers in understanding their students’ needs and understanding solutions to support their learning.
Dr Dogan said, “We would like to increase awareness of assistive technology among teachers, teaching assistants and support staff through the EduAbility recommendation tool and training program.
“We are currently evaluating EduAbility with schools in Dorset and Hampshire before considering an international release. Countries like Malta, Malaysia and South Africa are very interested in a localized version of our solution.
“We also aim to create an international practice hub for educators to share best practices. Equality, diversity, and inclusiveness through the provision of accessible assistive technology is a critical component of research. »
Dr. Whittington and Dr. Dogan are also developing a SmartAbility framework, which maps assistive technologies to users’ physical abilities, to provide recommendations to help support activities that allow individuals greater independence.
Dr Whittington has experienced the use of assistive technology and commented: “It is very important to promote awareness of assistive technology, to provide support to lead a more independent life, which has been invaluable throughout my studies and employment.
“One assistive technology solution is not right for everyone, and a variety of different technologies are needed to provide optimal support for individual needs. Assistive technology is an ever-changing market, with new innovations being developed to further improve the quality of life for people with disabilities.
Other research conducted by the team includes a cybersecurity project called Authentibility Pass. This Android app allows people with disabilities to communicate their authentication and accessibility requirements to organizations. The purpose of authentication is to improve customer satisfaction, as organizations would receive accessibility requirements before a customer visits.
Dr. Dogan and Dr. Whittington are also working on an initiative called HealthAbility to personalize authentication for the healthcare field and allow patients with disabilities to communicate their needs to clinicians and hospital staff via an app.
Bournemouth University’s Human-Computer Interaction (BUCHI) Research Group is also working on projects related to subtitles, voice playback, in-vehicle interfaces and web content accessibility.
Earlier this year Bournemouth University student Sam Gaze received a design award, the Joseph Stannah Prize, for creating a pioneering gaming headset for people who wear hearing aids that solves the problem of feedback. .
The Immersion Gamers headset was designed as part of Sam’s senior year product design course. Its design allows the user to independently change the volume in either ear and improve perception and surround sound experience. The technology used is inspired by the groynes at Bournemouth beach, which work on the same principle as sound waves.