Communication and information exchange is a vital factor in human society. Communication disorders can severely influence the quality of persons' lives. Whereas experienced typists produce some 300 keystrokes per minute, persons with motor impairments achieve only much lower rates. Predictive typing systems for English-speaking areas have proven usefulness and efficiency, but for all other European languages there exist no predictive typing programs that are powerful enough to improve substantially the communication rate and the access to information technology for disabled persons. FASTY offers a communication support system that will significantly increase typing speed, and is adaptable to users with different languages and with strongly varying needs. In this way, a large group of non-English-speaking disabled citizens will be supported in living a more independent and self-determined life.
DESCRIPTION OF WORK
FASTY will follow a generic approach in order to be multilingual by design. The feasibility and portability of this approach will be demonstrated by implementing algorithms for four European languages: German, Dutch, French, and Swedish. A user panel will ensure the close involvement of end-users in the project. The user needs will be analysed subjectively by intensive interaction with the user panel. Additionally, an objective assessment tool will be developed for user needs investigation. The user panel also plays an important role during verification and validation of the prototype systems.
A language-independent prediction software
- which will clearly separate the predictor, the dictionary, the grammar description and the user interface
- will be specified and implemented.
This will ensure a product which can be ported into most European languages without sacrificing performance. The user interface design, and the features of the predictor program, aim at a wide coverage of users. A user simulation and user ability assessment tool will be built which can be used later as configuration assistance. Self-adapting parameters and flexible configuring ensure a high degree of usability, user-friendliness and accessibility. Innovative and ergonomic user interfaces for various existing input methods (standard keyboard, on-screen-keyboard, scanning) will be developed, together with the predictor, so as to minimise time and effort in the selection process. In addition, a special pressure sensitive switch/keyboard will be developed and used to improve the user interface. Strategies for optimal exploitation of residual functions will be implemented. Dissemination and exploitation play a central role throughout the project. A Technology Implementation Plan will be developed as preparation for the exploitation plan. After successfully finishing the project, the consortium will co-operate to develop a commercial product.
- Dissemination and Use Plan (DUP) and Technology Implementation Plan (TIP)
- A prototype system for accelerating communication speed which can be customised to different European languages.(Dutch, French, German, and Swedish versions will be implemented.) It will be configurable to a wide spectrum of disabilities and communication settings (written output, spoken output, input for personal computer-based office equipment, and for information technology systems)
- User simulator software for laboratory tests of system performance
- Tools for user assessment
- Advanced prototype system improved by the results of a redesign phase
Funding SchemeCSC - Cost-sharing contracts
751 05 Uppsala