European society has a vision of extending equal opportunities to all citizens, including those with learning difficulties and/or physical impairments. This is becoming increasingly important due to a growth in the proportion of the population with age related disabilities as a result of increased longevity, in particular hearing and vision loss and concomitant reduced mobility. In younger people hearing loss is occurring more frequently due to exposure to high volume noise. There are two different categories of barriers to equal opportunities: physiological ones resulting from the nature of the disability and attitudinal ones resulting in prejudice and discrimination. Technological aids and assistive devices are vital in overcoming the physiological barriers and giving people with disabilities the physical capacity and psychological confidence to live and work independently. Other measures will be required to change attitudes and overcome prejudice and discrimination.
This Conference Series focuses on the research needed to develop and extend technological aids and assistive devices to facilitate independent living and working, and participation in all aspects of society and community life by the hearing and vision impaired.
The objectives of the Conference Series are:
- To explore and describe the societal inaccessibility problems caused by hearing and sight loss;
- To focus on how the technological engineering disciplines can and are being used to provide assistance to those with hearing and sight impairment or loss;
- To determine and initiate the new engineering and technological research and development needed to resolve outstanding problems in assistive technologies;
- To provide training for young researchers in assistive technologies;
- To help researchers to keep up-to-date with new developments in assistive technologies for people with hearing and/or sight impairments;
- To provide a workshop interface between social science, medicine, human factors, design and technological areas such as communications, mechanical and electronics engineering.