Enabling Technology

Disabilities: Auditory

Project ideas


Categories | Disabilities: Auditory | Interfaces: Visual | Communication: Telephone | Communication: Face-to-face |

Description - Develop a communication system that visually shows speech in some form to people who are deaf without relying on a full-blown and often faulty speech recognition system. One idea would be to break the speech into phonemes which could the be watched and assembled into words by the user.

Universally Accessible Video Games

Categories | Social impact: Education | Disabilities: Medical | Disabilities: Cognitive | Disabilities: Physical | Disabilities: Auditory | Disabilities: Visual |

Description - Some forms of entertainment, video games for instance, cannot be accessed by persons with disabilities. Build a video game that can be enjoyed by anyone. A game that can be used in an educational setting for young children would be excellent. Multiplayer games would be interesting, especially ones that involve cooperation among kids with different abilities.

Sign Language to Speech

Categories | Disabilities: Auditory | Interfaces: Auditory | Interfaces: Devices | Communication: Face-to-face | Social impact: Acceptance |

Description - How far are we from using a laptop to interpret ASL to speech? There are papers on recognizing ASL by processing video. Is a camera-equipped laptop powerful enough? Possibly as important, what *could* we do with a camera-equipped laptop? There are "gloves" designed for gamers, could that be used to help interpret ASL?

One-Handed Keyboards

Categories | Disabilities: Physical | Disabilities: Cognitive | Disabilities: Medical | Disabilities: Auditory | Interfaces: Devices |

Description - Survey what one-handed keyboards are available and how they are used as computer input devices for people with disabilities. How would typing-to-speech compare to ASL to speech as a communication device? In a world where everyone uses "text messaging" on their cell phones and is really good (and fast) at typing on the little keyboards, will people with disabilities benefit?

Temporal User Interfaces

Categories | Disabilities: Visual | Disabilities: Auditory | Disabilities: Physical | Disabilities: Cognitive | Disabilities: Medical | Interfaces: Auditory | Interfaces: Visual | Interfaces: Tactile |

Description - Computer interfaces are mostly sequential. Consider telephone menu systems: enter 1 for parts, enter 2 for service, etc. As another example, when you kill an unresponsive program, Windows XP pops up a dialog asking me if you want to send an error report to MS. You must respond to it before proceeding. An alternative user interface strategy (for both sighted and blind) depends on asynchronous alerts and user responses. Think of the underlining of misspelled words in many editors; it occurs sometime after typing and can be corrected (or not) anytime. Emacspeak has some nice features like this. The presence of a footnote associated with a word is indicated by a audible signal played along with the speech for the word without stopping. The listener can respond to the signal by requesting the footnote be followed or ignore it. A project investigating what is known about asynchronous user interfaces and perhaps a prototype implementation would be really interesting and likely result in a paper.

Sound Awareness

Categories | Disabilities: Auditory | Interfaces: Visual |

Description - A system to help people who are deaf become aware of sounds around them while they are using a computer could be interesting. Perhaps a prototype could "decorates" the frame of the active window with a display giving information about environmental sounds. Or, perhaps the display is attached to the edge of the screen. Using a pair of microphones (stereo sound in) you could likely even indicate the direction to the sound.

Augmented Communication on a PDA

Categories | Disabilities: Physical | Disabilities: Auditory |

Description - People who have cognitive or physical impairments that prevent them from speaking can sometimes be helped with an augmented communication device. For example see this news story about a local student: http://rdu.news14.com/content/health_report/?SecID=247&ArID=35605. We could emulate most of the functions of these expensive devices (~$7000) with a program running on an inexpensive PDA (~$300) such as the Sharp Zaurus.

External links

Directory of Service Oriented Assistive Technology Companies

Categories | Disabilities: Visual | Disabilities: Auditory | Disabilities: Physical | Disabilities: Cognitive | Disabilities: Medical |

Description - This website is a list of assistive technology companies. Each listing includes the main products of the company and contact information. I think this website may be helpful for students researching present technology regarding their project interests.

Submitted by Christa Wheeler

Adaptive Technology for the Internet: Making Electronic Resources Accessible to All

Categories | Disabilities: Visual | Disabilities: Auditory | Disabilities: Physical | Disabilities: Cognitive | Disabilities: Medical | Social impact: Acceptance | Social impact: Legal issues |

Description - Online book about accessibility.

Submitted by Fred Brooks

Study: Adult hearing loss underdiagnosed

Categories | Disabilities: Auditory |

Description - This article is about how hearing loss in the elderly can be treated but often is undiagnosed. This is possibly because doctors assume that hearing loss is a natural part of aging. People who are beginning to lose their hearing often become withdrawn and depressed, so it would be in their best interest to be treated.

Submitted by Kelly Van Busum

Universal Usability In Practice

Categories | Disabilities: Visual | Disabilities: Auditory | Disabilities: Physical | Disabilities: Cognitive | Interfaces: Visual |

Description - Provides suggestions and descriptions of various ailments. Organized by disability, user group, and technology.

Submitted by Sean Hanlon