Compassionate Assistive Technology

 

Focus: Achieving Equality in Education: Human Resource Development
Topic: Access and Information Technologies and Adaptive or Assistive Technology

Dr.R.Jayachandran,
Reader,
Department of Tamil,
Presidency College,
Chennai,
Tamil Nadu,
South India.

044 24617841,
9444337980.
drj3363@yahoo.co.in

ABSTRACT.

Compassion is an overall approach of the article. In developing countries, the assistive technology has not yet reached the native language speaking visually impaired. This paper will briefly describe the problems of this technology and its implementation. Compression, research development and policy making are the three approaches to the solution of this problem. The outline of the paper is as follows:

Screen reading, scan reading, and Braille character recognition software can be combined into one integrated programming software.Multimodal and multi-lingual interpretation engine should be designed. It could interpret among Braille, speech, text, handwriting, image, and sign language.
Five in one PC: The laptop and four-in-one laser printer to be attached with Braille embosser. Information technology and telecommunication service in their multiple tools should be provided in one package. Testing and quality management of clarity of voice and Braille dots are foremost. The government should declare the national policy on Assistive Technology.

E-governance will reduce discrimination of the visually impaired. Time bound assurance, financial assistance, and legal acceptance should be the guidelines of the policy. A virtual university for

the visually impaired is an essential requirement. It should provide science education also. Research on natural language process and assistive technology will lead to the creation of artificial
eyesight.

Full Paper

I. Introduction

Compassion is the overall approach of this article. It is a key to open the door of the new opportunities of the technological world. To provide computerized equipment to persons with disabilities is called Assistive technology. To create one computer, one global network and artificial vision for the visually impaired is what this article aims at.

II. Problem

This paper will briefly describe the problems of this technology and its implementation.

  1. In the developing and the underdeveloped countries, the assistive technology
  2. has not yet reached the native language speaking visually impaired.
  3. Some available products have lack of accessible computer applications.
  4. Partial adoption of assistive technology requires human assistance for verifying, editing and alignment.
  5. The Visually Impaired in the developing countries cannot offer dollar based price structured assistive products.
  6. High price of the assistive products due to the variation in the value of money & exchange rates.

III. Solutions

  1. Compression/Integration
  2. Policymaking.
  3. Research and development

are the three approaches to the solution of this problem . Each one of the above has been approached through three methods namely, necessity, suggestion and usability.

A. Compression or Integration

1.Integrated Programming software

It means to merge two or more softwares into a software package like MS-office; the assistive technology related software is not available in one package. Usually new technology-based software is coming one by one. But later these can be merged into one package. If available in one software, the purchase, installation and maintenance are very easy to the consumer. The task can be completed either by using the programming techniques or by making a package. Following this, screen reading, scan reading, and Braille character recognition software can be combined into one integrated application and programming software. The same method can be applied into the hardware also.

2. All-in-one Computer

A laptop and four-in-one laser printer can be combined into one system. A Braille embosser can also be attached to it.

Illustration
Portion A- Monitor Segment of Laptop
Portion B- Key Board
Portion C- Bottom of the Laptop should be converted into a top portion of the four-in-one Laser Printer.
Portion D – Scanner or glass segment of the Printer.

Following features also should be inbuilt into the Equipment:
Simplified techniques, radiation free, low weight, minimum space requirement, high speed, accuracy and real time technology.

3. All-in-one Telecommunication Service

Information technology and telecommunication service in their multiple tools should be provided in one package. It should cover the Home phone, Mobile phone, Broadband Internet and Satellite Technology. Mass media, academics, enterprises and telecommunication service all together in one platform is called Converging Technology. Cross platform technology can help work with various types of windows, microprocessors, and servers. Now the wireless mobility with braille display is available in the market. This is a milestone in assistive technology. It could make for easy accessibility of telecommunication service.

4. Testing and Quality Management

Testing and quality management of clarity of voice and Braille dots are foremost. Inadequate clarity of voice in the speech recognition software and poor quality of braille dots in braille displays and braille production documents are being identified in the available products. Noise, echo, and vibration of speakers and inaudible voice are to be rectified.

Voice options and modification, thickness, smoothness and durability of the braille dots on the braille displays and the paper documents, can be the guidelines to prepare a software for testing and quality management. That software can be used in the product evaluation lab. Finally an authority of assistive technology could certify to each product. The certificate may be called International Standard Certificate of Assistive Technology (ISCAT). A visually impaired person and a person with hearing impairment should be appointed as the authority concerned, through which all the visually impaired can afford the qualitative and standardized products.

B. Policy Making

Technology can give the products. Distribution, adaptation, and accessibility of products are possible only by adopting a perfect policy. The UNO should declare the United Nationís policy on assistive technology.
Member countries also should declare a national policy on assistive technology. Time bound assurance, financial assistance, and legal acceptance should be the guidelines of the policy.

Time bound Assurance

All the national governments should assure provision of a pocket PC with Telecommunication service to all the visually impaired before the year 2010. Computer related projects in all the Universities should adopt the assistive technology up to 2010. If it is done surely several research findings could be received free of cost. Before the year 2020 the artificial eye must be implanted to all the visually impaired.

Financial Assistance

An International Currency for the Visually Impaired, to purchase the computer equipments should be introduced. An International funding agency for this purpose is needed. Such an agency will assist the Visually Impaired of the poor countries to purchase the equipments. The Commercialization of the assistive products should be kept under the tax free trade policy. All countries must give interest free loans to the visually impaired to afford the equipment, education, and training. The Producers of Assistive Products also may allot 10% of the net profit to reduce the price every year. Talking products in the cheapest price from China, Robots from Japan, Human resources from India, research and financial resources from the western countries are opening the door in to the compassionate global trade.

Legal acceptance

Each country should make necessary amendments in the acts relating to persons with disabilities and the telecommunication Act regarding assistive technology. Governments should allocate a reasonable percentage of the amount in their annual budget every year for providing assistive products. Those who are involved in the IT field regarding research, designing and production must adopt the assistive technology. The rule shall apply to the both the Private and the Government bodies. Monthly Telecommunication charges should not exceed $20.

International Research Association of Assistive Technology should consist of the following branches

  1. Board of Architecture.
  2. Product evaluation Lab and consulting service.
  3. A global network for the visually impaired should be established. It could provide web-hosting service and telecommunication service adopting the converging technology.
  4. All the world famous universities should establish the Department of assistive technology related to their native languages.

E-governance

  1. E-governance, if carried out, will eliminate discrimination of the visually impaired.
  2. E-governance must adopt the assistive technology.
  3. Electronic attendance register and electronic door operation by the Finger print interpretation technology is more convenient to the visually impaired, who can perfectly manage both the educational and administrative bodies.
  4. Hand writing recognition and speech Interpretation technology could resolve the problems in reading the hand written documents. They could evaluate examination papers also.
  5. Implementation of computer based examination system will be more convenient both to the students and the teachers of the visually impaired.
  6. A visually impaired could sign the documents with the help of finger print activated digital signature system. These themes should be adopted in the policy.

C. Research and development

Man can create the new technology and techniques by the research and development activities.
Virtual university for visually impaired
A virtual university for the visually impaired should be established. It is an immediate need, because it can protect them from road accidents and human discrimination related problems. Already Hadley School has been conducting some online courses related to the braille system and computer technology. Certain Universities like the University of Phoenix, and the American Intercontinental Online University are providing online education including science subjects to the visually impaired also with the help of assistive technology.

The emerging concept and technology of virtual education can remove the several educational blockages of both learners and teachers. It gives admission to all. A learner can chose his own pattern of syllabus, Textbooks, evaluation procedures, and the type of certificate. Computer conferencing and Tele-education techniques can strengthen and promote the virtual education.

The University should provide science education and advanced research technology. Courses on project management, assistive technology and artificial eyesight creation should be taught purely in the virtual medium. Learners can get laboratorial experience from the virtual lab by the animation techniques.

All the member countries of the UNO should begin the virtual university for the visually impaired. The global network for the visually impaired should be the basement of the virtual university. It can collaborate with the world famous traditional universities. The virtual learners can learn practical and traditional laboratorial experience from the collaborating universities. The virtual education means that all the learners can learn any subject, any time and anywhere in the world. Then the people will feel the total freedom from all the intellectual blockages.

Research on natural language process and assistive technology will lead to the creation of artificial eyesight.

Natural Language Process

Audio medium of the multimedia is the gateway of the speech technology. Speech technology is the key area of the natural language process. Multimedia canít transform the information from one medium to another medium. But multimodal can do that. So multimodal and multi-lingual interpretation engine should be designed. It could interpret among the braille, speech, text, handwriting, image, and sign language in vice versa mode. Two way multi-lingual translation process also should be included into the engine. The tool is very important to create the natural language processing computer.

After the success of natural computing, a person can interact with a computer and itís operations and applications through his finger sense, voice, speech, gesture, and facial expressions. Image recognition and speech interpretation is the major advancement in the multimodal interpretation technology.

The following features are the parts of image recognition:

  1. Shape
  2. Color
  3. Motion
  4. Surface
  5. Object

Shape: Length, Breadth, Height, Smoothness and Hardness.
Color: Light, Dark, Green, Blue, Red and their combinations.
Motion: Speed, Force, movement and non-movement, Sharpness, Rotation
Surface: Depth, steps, Broadness, Narrowness, Water, Fire and Land.
Object: Cylinder, Line, Curve, Circle, Square, Rectangle, and Triangle and others.

All these should be kept under the image to speech interpretation technology.

Artificial eyesight creation

Computer vision, machine vision, artificial eye and electronic eye refer to the artificial eyesight creation, which may be divided into three generations:

  1. First generation information eye or information vision.
  2. Second generation machine vision.
  3. Third generation Bionic eye or real vision.

First Generation Information vision

To provide all information through 24 hour care line and global network should be established to complete the purpose.

Second Generation machine vision

A visually impaired can access visual information directly through the image to speech interface. Image to speech interface should be inbuilt into the digitized micro video camera computer. The camera directly interprets the visual information into speech form. The batten size camera should be fixed on the top of the visually impaired head. The camera can be cover surroundings of the visually impaired. The computerized camera delivers the same information in to the two ears through two wireless earphones. It could provide the information from the network also. It can deliver the audio signals instead of long sentences. So this machine vision can act much faster than the first generation and information vision. In addition to that microwave hearing power technology can increase the normal hearing power of the visually impaired that can benefit through multi channel programmable digital hearing aid. Essential features of the aid are noise filtration, select channel for hearing the particular sound.

Example:

Human voice, sound of the vehicles, sound coming from the electric and electronic items, moving objects in and around the room and movement of creatures like mosquitoes and snail.So this equipment will be more helpful to the visually impaired. Visually impaired persons can manage their lives in and around home and workstation. Especially the visually impaired couples can avoid the fear caused by moving insects at home.

If a person wears a vibration-sensing microphone, it could send his sub vocal speech through the cell phone into another personís earphone in a normal speech form. The capability of the earphone is multi channel programming digital hearing aid. So the two visually impaired can secretly communicate without any noise interruption. So this can be called “Secret Way Communication”.

Third Generation Bionic eye or real vision

Bionic eye, artificial optic nerve and artificial tissues by the therapeutic Cloning, Nano technology all should come together on one platform for creating the third generation real vision. Previous two generations have been called indirect artificial eyesight; this is the direct artificial eyesight. Now the cornea transplantation has been implanted. A healthy cornea can be transplanted into the blind personís eye instead of the damaged cornea only. Totally blind persons canít be benefited by this technology. Ophthalmologist also should experiment the possibility of the natural optic nerve transplantation. Healthy optic nerve can be used for the purpose. It may be expected from the relatives or donors who are on the verge of death.

Regarding the artificial eyesight several web sites are available in the Internet.

(Reference:http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/sci/tech/606938.stm Tuesday, 18 January 2000, 11:30 GMT. Visited on 07-03-2006, 10pm)

An electronic eye was discovered by Richard Norman. Jerry felt the nature of the vision. He read large letters on the board from a distance of 5 feet. He walked safely, and he identified the roadways of the newyork city. The vision was induced by the computerized video camera.

Research on bionic eye is an ongoing trend. To create the real vision by using space technology, scientists have developed extraordinary ceramic photocells that could repair malfunctioning human eye.

[Reference:http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2002/03jan_bioniceyes.htm, visited on 07-03-2006, 10pm]

The scientific world would rapidly create the artificial eye by the combination of Therapeutic cloning, Bionic and miniature and faster Nanotechnology. An international research institute of the artificial eyesight creation should be quickly established.

Then the entire world of visually impaired can see the marvelous light of the world. War, disaster, ignorance of the scientific advancements and opportunities, radiation of the IT equipments and accidents are the major causes of the blindness and other disabilities. So the tyrannical human attitude must be ended in the world.

Sacrificing Technology

Future Role of Visually Impaired in sacrificing technology with Artificial Vision The world of visually impaired would be benefited by the artificial vision and its related technologies. The society of the visually impaired should embrace sacrificing technology. That means they must sacrifice their life for creating the new technological solutions to solve all the ecological problems. A man of grace can create anything in the world like water and air.

PreviousBack to Home