The AAAI Fall Symposium Series

The AAAI Fall Symposium Series
1996 Call for Participation

November 9-11, 1996
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Developing Assistive Technology for People with Disabilities

There is a growing interest in applying the theory and techniques 
developed by AI research to the domain of assistive technology for 
people with disabilities and in developing new research within the
assistive technology domain. Some areas of current work include the 
development of new user interfaces for computers to accommodate people 
with varying motor, hearing or sight disabilities, robotic wheelchairs, 
speech recognition systems for people with hearing disabilities, text 
to speech systems for blind people, and automation of the process of 
converting textbooks and other written materials into recordings for 
the blind.

This application domain is particularly interesting because the interaction 
between the person and the system allows researchers to overcome some of 
the common stumbling blocks for AI applications.  Normally, AI applications 
attempt to solve all possible situations in a domain. Assistive applications 
are intended to work in conjunction with a person with limited vision, 
hearing or motor capabilities. Therefore, assistive applications need only ]
solve a portion of the problem, while leaving unsolved aspects to the user.

While the addition of a person into the cognitive loop allows researchers 
to avoid some of the usual difficulties, it adds a new dimension that must 
be considered: the user interface. Researchers must consider the needs of 
people with disabilities, often including interviews in the research process.
Assistive applications with ineffective user interfaces are useless. 
Research in this area needs to integrate AI technology with UI technology 
to come up with new solutions. Our goals are to:

      Initiate a dialogue between the AI community and other research 
      communities that will facilitate an exchange of ideas to further 
      research progress. 

      Identify areas of AI research that can be used to solve problems in 
      this domain. 

      Discuss how research in this domain can further general research in AI. 

      Present successfully implemented systems. 

      Discuss how to address user interface issues when designing systems.

Zunaid Kazi                                        kazi@asel.udel.edu
AI & Robotics                         http://www.asel.udel.edu/~kazi/