There is an effort to create a new global computer ecosystem that is easily accessible to people with disabilities, senior citizens and others with special needs. This ecosystem is set to become reality thanks to a $20 million federal grant to the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
The Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) five year project will develop and deploy the first large scale pilot test. The system will be accessed via the internet, allowing people who have difficulty using today’s technology to select and configure the assistive features and settings needed to enable their use of the information.
This system will allow people to use a ring or a card or a USB flash drive with a special key on it to cue digital devices to instantly access the users’ needs and preferences –such as simplified interfaces, large type, audio aids, captions, high-contrast screens and other features.
Gregg Vanderheiden, an engineering professor and director at UW-Madison says, “Society is creating a world where you cannot get an education or job, travel, or increasingly communicate socially, unless you can use technology and digital interfaces. Yet many people who, because of disability, literacy, digital literacy or aging, can’t use the technologies they encounter. As a society we are designing the world out from under these people.”
Over the last 4 years, an international consortium has worked on prototypes in Europe, with Vanderheiden as technical director. This latest grant, from the US Department of Education’s Disability Innovation Fund, will allow the team to build out the GPII’s automatic personalization features for the pilot project involving 15,000 users.
US Education Secretary Arne Duncan said, “As we build tomorrow’s workforce, this project allows everyone to participate – no matter their disability.”
Ultimately, the plan is to make custom digital devices –from thermostats, to public ticket kiosks, to future home appliances –part of the effort.
Read Article (Renee Meiller | wisc.edu | 10/22/2015)
The professor is right in the fact that as a society we are designing the world out from under these people. But for those that only have the limitation of digital literacy, why not just provide instruction in new technology usage?
It would be far less expensive while respecting the individual & their private info. Info undoubtedly required to obtain a ring or a card or a USB flash drive with the special key.
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