This seminar will describe some of the research in Applied Computing at Dundee University into developing computer systems to support older and disabled people. Research Projects currently include:
- Innovative requirements gathering techniques with older and disabled people
- Accessibility and usability of IT systems for a wide range of users
- Reminiscence and conversational support for people with dementia
- Applications of digital television for older and disabled people.
- Communication systems for non-speaking people
- Gesture and fall recognition, and lifestyle modelling
In this seminar we will discuss two of these projects in depth:
The UTOPIA (Usable Technology for Older People Inclusive and Appropriate) and I-design projects are developing guidelines for industry for the effective and efficient involvement of older people in projects . We have developed a panel of older users and are investigating a number of techniques for requirements gathering, including the use of actors and dramatic techniques to provide a focus for discussion.
Our CIRCA project has established ways in which a multi-media reminiscence-based presentation can be used to provide a conversational scaffolding and communication support for people with dementia. This project team is now developing entertainment systems for people with dementia. We are also investigating the use of digital television to provide daily living reminders for this growing population.
The research follows the philosophy of “ordinary and extra-ordinary human machine interaction” which is based on the parallels between a non disabled (ordinary) person performing an extra-ordinary (high work load) task and a disabled (extra-ordinary) person performing an ordinary task, and other environments which “disable” ordinary people. This work has led to the new concepts of “User Sensitive Inclusive Design” and “Design for Dynamic Diversity”.
Alan Newell, a lecturer at Electronic Engineering Department of Southampton University, between 1970 and 1980 moved to Dundee in 1980 and is now academic leader of the “Queen Mother Research Centre for Information Technology to Support Older People” within Applied Computing at Dundee University. He has been researching into computer systems to assist people with disabilities for over thirty years. He has published widely in this field, and has given many invited keynote lectures in the UK, Europe, America and Japan. Applied Computing at Dundee University contains the major academic group in the world researching into computer and communication systems for older and disabled people. A number of software systems they have developed have been marketed in Europe and America, and their Digital Media Access Group provides an accessibility audit and consultancy service for designers for the web and other digital resources. Professor Newell, a former Deputy Principal of the University of Dundee, was a member of the Thematic Panel of the 1999 UK Foresight Exercise on the Ageing Population.
Norman Alm is a Senior Lecturer in Applied Computing at Dundee University. After a 20 year career in teaching and social work, he joined the Dundee team, and has been developing computer based support for people with disabilities for the past 20 years. This group has recently begun to explore ways in which computers and communications technology can be of benefit to older people. In this area of research Norman has worked in particular on teaching IT skills to the current generation of older people, devising ways to elicit the needs of older people which technology might be able to address, supporting communication for people with dementia, and providing interactive systems which people with dementia are able to use on their own.