Survey of AT for Deafblind People: State of the Art and New Developments

Hersh, M.A. , Worrall, K. and Johnson, M.A. (2003) Survey of AT for Deafblind People: State of the Art and New Developments. In: 7th Conference of the Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe: AAATE 2003, Dublin, Ireland, pp. 495-499.

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Paper discusses design issues in developing assistive technology (AT) for people who are deaf-blind, and focuses on the areas of communication and information access. Two approaches to developing AT for this purpose are discussed: (1) finger-spelling hands, such as the Handtapper in the United Kingdom (UK) and Dexter and Ralph in the United States, which support communication from a person who is deaf-blind to a hearing and sighted person, and (2) sensory gloves, such as the Cyberglove and the Talking Glove. Both are equipped with the GesturePlus finger-spelling package, which supports communication from a hearing and sighted person to a person who is deaf-blind. Despite positive reactions, the Handtapper and Dexter and Ralph have not gone beyond the prototype phase, while GesturePlus and Cyberglove have been successfully commercialized. The Glasgow Glove is a more recent development that allows people who are deaf-blind to communicate with hearing and sighted people. Like the Talking Glove, the device detects the position of the user’s hand and translates it to text via software. The design is based on the actual glove and a portable display. The user wears the glove on the left hand, and signs the UK deaf blind language onto the glove with the right hand. The glove contains an array of tactile sensors, which are used to detect the position of the user’s hand. On on-glove processor detects the activated sensors, encodes the information for transmission, and transmits it to the display unit. The authors contend that this device, and many of the other finger-spelling gloves and hands have the potential to function as an interface to give access to information and communication technology, print media, and devices for controlling the home and work environments. Barriers to accessing this technology are discussed, such as financing and access to proper training.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Worrall, Dr Kevin and Hersh, Dr Marion
Authors: Hersh, M.A., Worrall, K., and Johnson, M.A.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Biomedical Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Electronics and Nanoscale Engineering
College of Science and Engineering > School of Engineering > Autonomous Systems and Connectivity

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