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Development of Assistive Technologies for Persons with Disabilities

Hong Kong is a well-developed and mature digital economy. Use of the Internet for accessing information and online services has become a part of many people’s daily lives. People who are out of touch with the digital world will find it difficult to integrate into the mainstream community. Advancement in information and communications technology (ICT) has improved the quality of life of the underprivileged groups.

Owing to physical limitations, persons with disabilities (PWD) often encounter many obstacles in using ICT. As such, they need a variety of assistive tools in order to operate and use computer smoothly. However, some of these assistive tools are so expensive that some of the PWD can hardly afford. In addition, as the type and severity of disabilities vary among PWD, different PWD need different assistive tools. Some of them may not be able to find a suitable tool in the market and therefore need a tailor-made one which greatly increases the cost and time required.

In view of the above, the Office of the Government Chief Information Officer allocated a one-off funding of HK$3.6 million in 2010/11 to support the development of ICT-based assistive tools and applications for persons with disabilities. The nine selected projects, ranging from software development, input and control auxiliary device, online services and rehabilitation tools, etc, cater for persons with different types of disabilities such as the physically disabled and visually impaired persons.

The funded projects commenced development works in April 2011. All of them were completed in April 2012. The products are now available for free download, distribution to needy groups or use as a basis for further development.

Detailed information of the nine funded projects is given below:

Facilitating Mobility

     
1 On-line Navigation System for disabled persons on web-based and smartphone platforms

On-line Navigation System for disabled persons on web-based and smartphone platforms by the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Sha Tin)

This system provides useful information on accessibility facilities for persons with disabilities so that they can use smartphones to obtain such information at any time, and visit public places more conveniently. Currently, this system supports one shopping mall only.

The iPhone App and Android App can be downloaded from the Apple App Store and Google Play respectively. The user guide (English version) can be downloaded from the project webpage.

Go to Website

iPhone version
Download

Android version
Download
 
2 Transense – Text4U

Transense - Text4U by the Hong Kong Society for the Blind

This project developed an iPhone application, providing simple mode of operations for the visually impaired persons. It can capture an image of Chinese or English texts using the built-in camera and then recognise and read out the text message via the built-in Voiceover function.

The iPhone App can be downloaded from the Apple App Store.

iPhone version
Download

Providing Rehabilitation Exercise

     
3 KineLabs for Elderly and Stroke Rehabilitation

KineLabs for Elderly and Stroke Rehabilitation by the Hong Kong Polytechnic University

Integrating with the Kinect technology, this project developed three interesting rehabilitation games together with an evaluation platform for persons beset with stroke and brain injury. Based on the data collected in the evaluation platform, it can assess a patient’s recovery progress.

The application (Traditional Chinese/Simplified Chinese/English/Japanese/German/French/Spanish versions) and user guide (Traditional Chinese/English version) can be downloaded from the project webpage. Information about the evaluation platform can be acquired through the project owner.

Go to Website

Facilitating Daily Living

     
4 Intelligent home for people with physical disabilities

Intelligent home for people with physical disabilities by the Hong Kong Institute of Vocational Education (Tsing Yi)

This console system is tailor-made for physically disabled persons to control various home appliances using smartphones.

The software, installation manual and operation manual (English version with Chinese terminology) can be downloaded from the project webpage.

Go to Website
 
5 A Mobile, Multi-Modal Human Interface Device for People with Disabilities and Its Application on Home Automation System

A Mobile, Multi-Modal Human Interface Device for People with Disabilities and Its Application on Home Automation System by the Hong Kong PHAB Association and the University of Hong Kong

This control device, developed under the Android platform, can run on both smartphones and tablet computers. It features with control functions such as eye-ball tracking, touch screen and voice recognition which can suit the needs of people with different level of disabilities.

The user manual (English version) and the research report (English version) can be downloaded from the project webpage.

PDF file format User Manual
PDF file format Research Report

Facilitating Texts Input

     
6 A Novel Chinese Text Input Brain–Computer Interface for Persons with Neuromuscular Disability

A Novel Chinese Text Input Brain-Computer Interface for Persons with Neuromuscular Disability by the Chinese University of Hong Kong

This portable brain-computer interface prototype enables persons with neuromuscular disability to use electroencephalogram to interact with a computer and input Chinese text to communicate with others more effectively.

The software and user guide can be downloaded from the project webpage.

Go to Website
 
7 Easy-Dots2.0

Easy-Dots2.0 by Hong Kong Blind Union

This project upgraded the Braille input software “Easy-Dots” adopted by the blind people and made it compatible with Microsoft Windows 7 with enhanced functionalities.

The software can be downloaded from project webpage.

Go to Website
 
8 QuicKey 'Barrier-free input device'

QuicKey"Barrier-free input device" by the Keysquare Communication Limited

This is a special-designed small keyboard device with a single-button control mode that can replace traditional keyboard and mouse, facilitating the physically disabled persons in using computer.

The application, user guide (English version) and installation guide (English version) can be downloaded from the project webpage.

Go to Website
 
9 Touchscreen text input application for visually impaired

Touchscreen text input application for visually impaired by the Freedom Communications Limited and the Hong Kong Blind Union

This is a Chinese input mobile application running on Apple’s iOS devices. Based on the Braille input software “Easy-Dots”, four Chinese input methods are provided by this mobile application.

The iPhone App can be downloaded from the Apple App Store. The user guide (English version) can be downloaded from the project webpage.

iPhone version
Download

PDF file format User Manual

Details of the funded projects can be found in "PDF file format Development of Assistive Technology for Persons with Disabilities Fund" booklet.



The Permanent Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development (Communications and Technology), Ms Elizabeth Tse (centre), and the Government Chief Information Officer, Mr. Daniel Lai (third right), together with other guests, officiated at the opening ceremony of an exhibition on projects of the Development of Assistive Technology for Persons with Disabilities Fund on 11 May 2012.


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