CARDIAC - Advancing Research & Development in the area of accessible & Assistive ICT

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CARDIAC project

To create a platform that can bring together the various stakeholders in the area of accessible and assistive ICT with a view to identifying research & development gaps and emerging trends, and generating a research agenda roadmap.

Formal Project Description
CARDIAC - Advancing Research & Development in the area of accessible & Assistive ICT
Contract Title CARDIAC - Advancing Research & Development in the area of accessible & Assistive ICT
Project Acronym CARDIAC
Donor European Commission
Lead Partner Ecole Polytechnique Federale De Lausanne
Call/Action Seventh Framework Programme
Link to the Call
Agreement n° 248582
Partners Central Remedial Clinic
Cyprus Neuroscience and Technology Institute
Universidad del País Vasco
Consiglio Nazionale Delle Ricerche
Evangelische Stiftung Volmarstein
John Gill Technology Ltd.
Smart Homes
University of Oslo
Technion - Israel Institute of Technology
Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas
Univesdidad De Sevilla
Universidade Technica De Lisboa
Countries of the action Switzerland, Cyprus, Spain, Italy, England, Norway, Israel, Greece, Portugal
Cost of Action €499,991.00
Grant €499,991.00
Cost for FWC €57,790.00
Grant for FWC €57,790.00
Dates 01/03/2010 - 28/02/2013

Short Description Use of Structured Dialogue to develop roadmaps regarding inclusive human-machine interactions, network-based applications and the transfer process.
Overall objective(s)
To develop a series of roadmaps for future research and development in the area of accessible and assistive information and communication technology systems.
Specific objective(s)

In particular it will concentrate on:

  • inclusive human-machine interactions
  • network-based applications
  • systems and services supporting accessibility
  • the transfer process itself, which includes the transfer of technology and the making of the business case
Various techniques are being used including Structured Democratic Dialogue and Wiki discussion groups as well as direct contact with key players.
General Description

A roadmap is being developed to produce:

  • Clear proposals on what technologies need to be supported. E.g. Eye tracking, Voice/gesture reckoning, Wearable devices, Smart displays, etc.
  • Clear inputs on what methodologies have to be investigated. E.g.. Adaptive UI design, Accessibility evaluation guidelines (for devices, services and applications)
  • Clear contributions on what kind of tools should be developed. E.g.. Automatic accessibility verification/design tools, Accessible User Interface Description Languages, etc.

In recent years, a large number of international projects had to address the need for guaranteeing accessibility and usability in user-system interaction. To this end, a number of diverse approaches, methodologies and technologies have been proposed. Many research and development activities have been carried out on different aspects of accessibility of ICT equipment and services with an Assistive Technology approach, and more recently, the Design for All approach has been explored.

Positive results have been achieved following both approaches. In particular, accessibility problems of specific groups of users have been addressed through Assistive Technology (AT) based adaptations, and systematic Design for All approaches have been elaborated and applied in various domains at a research level. Still, the field is currently in need of a breakthrough towards the adoption in practice of design approaches, based on the accumulated knowledge, leading to accessible and usable inclusive interfaces.

Several research activities in the field of Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) focus on more user involvement in the design process. The ISO standard 13407 Human-centred design process for interactive systems provides guidance on human-centred design activities throughout the life cycle of interactive computer-based systems. However also other research methods are available, for instance participatory and co-design. These approaches have in common that they all express the belief that all people have something to offer to the design process. These approaches will also be part of our study.

Moreover, adaptivity/intelligence on the one hand, and the analysis of the implications, from an e-accessibility perspective, of the emerging Ambient Intelligence (AmI) paradigm (with a clear orientation to creating "natural" interfaces) on the other, are becoming increasingly important aspects. The main difficulty lies in understanding and utilizing the whole range of possibilities for Inclusive Human-Computer Interaction (HCI).

Therefore, it seems necessary to propose a road-map towards achieving inclusive HCI based on the accumulated experience by diverse European actors. This could be addressed through a network of multidisciplinary experts, who can bring in their expertise in the different aspects of the issues involved, as well as propose solutions, in order to elaborate a balanced model incorporating different approaches.

Systems and Services Supporting Accessibility

The market for Accessible and Assistive ICT products and services is complex and presents many challenges for successful technology transfer. It includes an array of supply and sale mechanisms, from direct sales to consumers to indirect supply in specialized fields such as Assistive Technology. The ultimate determinant of successful research in the area of Accessible and Assistive ICT must be whether or not a product reaches the market place and is available to consumers throughout the EU. It is clear however, that much, good, research fails to result in new innovations transferring successfully to the market place. Consequently in such instances, it may be argued that consumers do not benefit directly from investment in research.

There are a variety of reasons why this is so, some of these are specific to the area in question, such as the complex supply chain in many countries, others however are more applicable to the transfer of ICT products in general, such as affordability, availability etc. On the other hand, a number of approaches and solutions are available that support the ICT industry in implementing accessibility into their products and services in various stages of products development, maintenance and service provision. These “solutions” comprise e.g. methodologies, guidelines, knowledge bases, hardware and software components, tools for modelling, simulation or verification, as well as interfaces to external assistive technology.

Besides the application of such “solutions”, some industrial companies have established structures and procedures in their organisation that take care of accessibility aspects, be it a part of their product philosophy or just a matter of quality assurance. These can also include cooperation with other organisations from the same technological area, e.g. in associations like DIGITAL EUROPE, with research organisations, with user oriented organisations or with assistive technology companies.

External Links