The Jess & Mildred Fisher College of Science & Mathematics

School of Emerging Technologies

Context Aware Assistive Solution for People with Cognitive Disabilities

Subrata Acharya (Computer & Information Science), Claire Holmes (Library) & Jinjuan Feng (Computer & Information Science)

A large number of people have cognitive disabilities that affect a variety of abilities and skills, most importantly memory. People affected by such a limitation experience challenges in both daily routine and job-related tasks such as daily chores, travel and transportation, library/office management; etc. Assistive technologies can be designed to aid users to effectively deal with such memory-related activities and greatly improve the individual’s independence as well as provide them with more self-reliant career opportunities.

The goal of the proposed project is to develop a framework and application that takes advantage of contextual information (e.g., location, time) to aid people with cognitive limitations to lead a self-reliant professional/personal lifestyle. Based on the contextual information collected by the real-time monitoring application, the users will be provided with task-related cues and checklists to assist them to complete the task. For example, if a user is right in front of a microwave, he may want to use the microwave and the proposed application can automatically provide information on microwave instructions. If a person forgets to return back to his office desk, the application could help in reminding and directing the user to the desired destination.

The proposed solution can be used for a variety of task environments, such as library-related clerical activity (library environment); Transportation activity (home/office environment), and Medicine intake (home/office environment). In the current project, the framework will be developed and evaluated in the context of the typical library work setting, which offers a variety of tasks that fit the capabilities of people with cognitive disabilities. We will conduct interviews with both people with disabilities and expert librarians to understand the tasks in the specific environment; identify tasks that are appropriate for people with cognitive disabilities; and collect information needed to design the system. Based on the finding of the interview, we will develop the framework, design and implement a prototype, and conduct a user evaluation study in a real library setting.

Impact on Students

Two graduate students are working as research assistants on this project. Lakshmidevi Sreeramareddy is contributing to user studies, data collection, and analysis, while Pranayasri Kothagattu is implementing the design on an android platform and developing the distributed implementation.

Related Work
  • Ruimin Hu, Jinjuan Feng, Jonathan Lazar, and Libby Kumin (2011). Investigating Input Technologies for Children and Young Adults with Down Syndrome. Universal Access in the Information Society. November 2011. DOI: 10.1007/s10209-011-0267-3
  • Jinjuan Feng, Jonathan Lazar, Libby Kumin, and Ant Ozok, A. (2010) Computer Usage by Children with Down Syndrome: Challenges and Future Research. ACM Transactions on Accessible Computing, 2(3), pp. 13-56. DOI: 10.1145/1714458.1714460.
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