Universal Access in the Information Society

, Volume 15, Issue 4, pp 589–607 | Cite as

Hefestos: an intelligent system applied to ubiquitous accessibility

  • João Tavares
  • Jorge Barbosa
  • Ismael Cardoso
  • Cristiano Costa
  • Adenauer Yamin
  • Rodrigo Real
Long paper


This article proposes Hefestos, an intelligent system applied to ubiquitous accessibility. This model uses ubiquitous computing concepts to manage accessibility resources for people with disabilities. Among the concepts employed, context awareness, user profiles and trails management can be highlighted. The paper proposes an ontology for accessibility and delineates scenarios of its application in everyday life of people with disabilities. Moreover, the implementation of a smart wheelchair prototype and its application in a practical experiment is described. Ten users with a range of disability degrees tried the system and filled out a survey based on the technology acceptance model. This experiment demonstrated the main functionalities and the acceptance of the system. The results showed 96 % of acceptance regarding perceived easy of use and 98 % in perceived usefulness. These results were encouraging and show the potential for implementing Hefestos in real life situations.


User profiles Context awareness Ubiquitous computing Accessibility Ubiquitous accessibility 



This work was financed by Fapergs/Brazil (Foundation for the Supporting of Research in the State of Rio Grande do Sul -, CNPq / Brazil (National Council for Scientific and Technological Development - and Capes / Brazil (Coordination for the Improvement of Higher Education Personnel - We had also a close interaction with Freedom Company (, which offered the motorized wheelchair used in this research and also participated in the development of the software. We would like to acknowledge the company for its support and highlight the close collaboration achieved during the work. We also thank all volunteers who collaborated in the evaluation of the system and the Research Ethics Committee (REC) of Unisinos that approved the human aspects of the experiment. We are grateful to Unisinos (, the Applied Computing Graduate Program (PIPCA) and UCPel ( for embracing this research. Finally, we would like to express our sincere thanks to the reviewers for their valuable contributions to the final quality of this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • João Tavares
    • 1
  • Jorge Barbosa
    • 1
  • Ismael Cardoso
    • 1
  • Cristiano Costa
    • 1
  • Adenauer Yamin
    • 2
  • Rodrigo Real
    • 3
  1. 1.Applied Computing Graduate Program (PIPCA)University of Vale do Rio dos Sinos (Unisinos)São LeopoldoBrazil
  2. 2.Catholic University of Pelotas (UCPel)PelotasBrazil
  3. 3.Freedom CompanyPelotasBrazil

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