- The Digital Divide Issue and the Next Generation Barrier-Free System -
If people with disabilities need special adjustment tools to use PCs and the proper tools are not available, access to electronic information by using PCs becomes difficult. This is the problem of the digital divide. The physically disabled people should be able to easily configure the input and output environment of their personal computers.
The best solution would be to ask for experts' advice, but we don't have enough experts who can provide these services. Consequently, we have to do it ourselves without any prior knowledge about assistive technology. Even for experts it is not easy to quickly assess what settings and solutions will be needed for each person with disabilities.
Even when people with disabilities know what methods and tools are useful for them and use those tools with their home PCs, when they have to use other PCs without that assistive technology at a different location, it hampers their activities.
The IBM Accessibility Center conducted tests and developed an assessment system that assesses keyboard and mouse parameters and screen design parameters to adjust for users' preferences. It works by evaluating the results of tests in using a PC and interactive queries. The assessment results can be stored in IC cards and other storage media.
Then IBM Accessibility Center developed an adaptation system that automatically adjusts PCs after reading the personal data from the assessment system.
Please see more about the Barrier-Free System Project on our site.
This project was sponsored by the Telecommunications Advancement Organization of Japan.