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Intelligent physiological navigation and control of web-based applications

Deliverables

This result will allow us to develop further our expertise in the area of Ambient Intelligence scenarios and software applications. Standard software evaluation methodologies needed to be extended to be able to cope with the needs of people with disabilities. Furthermore, we will be able to implement many of these results in actual consultancy projects in the private and public sector related to software technology evaluation.
IBV acts as a technology delivery centre and as an RTD and advisor centre linked to the industry at national (Spain) and regional level (Valencia, Spain). Besides, IBV is one of the main actors in the field of disability in Spain and member of AAATE (Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe). During the IPCA project, IBV has reinforced its insight in new methodologies for the assessment of Human Computer Interaction for people with disabilities. These offer new possibilities of application in the field of user adaptation and ergonomics in IST and in the workplace. Among these possibilities, accessibility to users with disabilities to IST in general as well as Internet in particular can be remarked. The way users interact with the system can also be exploited in new fields such as mobile telecommunications, Ambient Intelligence and Smart Homes. It can be a feasible input for SmartDust products placed over Wearable systems. IBV is able to measure and analyse ergonomics and usability aspects in the above-mentioned fields, and therefore provide advisory services to the industry for new applications and product development initiatives, as well as act as developer or promoter of intermediate applications.
IPCA consists of mainly two subsystems: a Multi-channel Monitoring System (MMS) to emulate mouse and keyboard input to the computer through a set of sensors; and an Ambient Navigation Toolkit (ANT) to facilitate the use of standard Internet and OS applications.The MMS system has been built using surface EMG sensor and dual axis accelometer technology that acquire minimal muscle and movement from the user that is translated into human-computer interface commands. The device has been optimized to deal with potential artifacts and in the EMG signal. MMS adapts to the physiological signals in order to minimize required actions from the user. MMS uses a standard digital interface to the computer (PS2). To our knowledge the MMS device is the first device on the market that combines EMG with micro-movement for remote computer control using a standard computer interface. We regard this as one of its innovative qualities. The current status of the MMS device is that several demonstrators have been built, but the final product will be redesigned in terms of housing, colours and design. We expect that the IPCA product (MMS in combination with the ANT) will provide the target group (of disabled people) more and better access to Internet and computer technology. Further potential spin-off applications for other users and hand free computing will be investigated.
ISdAC has been involved since its beginnings in several EU projects. In the early beginnings, it was difficult to provide a systematic support to the evaluation needs of the given project. For the continuous challenges of IPCA, ISdAC established a sound infrastructure that will help us to efficiently participate in forthcoming research projects. It also facilitates monitoring of results, and interaction with the technical partners.
The ANT is an interface between the MMS (system sensors) and: a standard Operating System (MS Windows XP) and its applications, by providing keyboard (including an on-screen keyboard) and/or mouse emulation functions; and a Smart Web Browser that will facilitate user interaction with Internet services. The project has built a new browser relying on Open Source components and rendering engines of different Operating Systems. The Browser has created different interfaces and views of Web pages to facilitate navigation to the target user group. The ANT includes several applications. A training system where the user, together with the advice of a specialist, can: test and select different combination of sensors, tailor sensitivity, and train his/her skills in the manipulation of the ANT system (by means of simple computer tasks and games). A personal profile manager and control system, where the user can customize different ANT parameters: mouse speed and acceleration, IPCA system positioning, word-prediction system, on-screen keyboard scanning speed and layout, shortcuts, additional input systems interaction (non-MMS). The system will allow the activation and deactivation of different IPCA components. An on-screen keyboard with scanning and word prediction capabilities. The keyboard can be customized to fire OS/application-related events. The keyboard is a development of the project. Smart Web Browser, where the user have the following functionalities: browsing preferences and personal information tailoring, bookmarks management, page information filtering, site navigation assistance, link management and classification, smart form-mode and email processing mode and management (via complementary Open Source application). Finally, the ANT includes an Emotional Response Monitoring System (ERMS), as an exploratory action to demonstrate alternative Human-Computer Interaction paradigms, not only to evaluate user-satisfaction, but also to enhance the system's response.