Developing a Prototype Using Web Services and Wireless Assistive Technologies for Visually Impaired People to Resolve their Immobility Issues

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The SWANS (Semantic Web Accessibility Network Services) is a research project which addresses immobility issues of people with visual impairment (VI), exploring ways of transforming their lives using Semantic Web Services (SWS). This paper explores the development process of an innovative prototype: SWANS-W (SWANS-Wireless). SWANS-W uses Web Services (WS) and contemporary wireless assistive technologies to assist VI's with their immobility issues. The prototype was designed and developed using pocket PC 2003 second edition Emulator available in the Microsoft Visual Studio 2005. The prototype was examined in order to assess how confident and independent VI’s are in their daily lives. Our prototype can help them to explore new opportunities for education, employment and leisure, not only through independent, but also productive living. This research was conducted in collaboration with the Cambridge Online Pathways Project and Cam-sight United Kingdom.

A qualitative approach was used to evaluate this new prototype with our focus group. This study was carried out through direct observations and informal interviews conducted over a year. The sample size consisted of fifteen people. In this sample one participant was color blind, three were blind and the remaining eleven had low vision. All participants were over 18 years old. The study found that more than 75 % of the participants felt confident in dealing with their immobility issues using this new prototype.

Keywords: Web Services, Assistive Wireless Technology, Immobility Issues and Visual Impairment
Stream: Knowledge and Technology
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
Paper: Developing a Prototype Using Web Services and Contemporary Wireless Assistive Technologies to Resolve Physical Immobility Issues of Visually Impaired People

Dr. Mukhtar M. Rana

PhD Student, Department of Design and Technology
Faculty of Science and Technology, Anglia Ruskin University

Cambridge, UK

Mukhtar Masood Rana, a Ph.D student from Department of Design and Technology, Faculty of Science and Technology, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge, UK. In 2003, started to work as a volunteer Tutor in Cambridge Online Pathways Project and became interested to explore assistive technology in depth for the people who have visual impairment to resolve their difficulties to use Internet and computers. In 2005, he has submitted a research project with the name of SWANS(Semantic Web Accessibility Network Services) to the University in collaboration with Cambridge Online Pathways and Cam-sight. Along with these organizations he has been involved to raise awareness of how the use of computers could enhance the confidence and independence of disabled or disadvantaged people and help them to explore new opportunities for education, employment and leisure using assistive technologies. His research interests are Web Servives, Semantic Web and Semantic Grid Framework for visually impaired people to transform their lives. He has published eight research papers.

Ref: T08P0152