Chapter

Handbook of Ambient Intelligence and Smart Environments

pp 409-432

Intelligent Interfaces to Empower People with Disabilities

  • Margrit BetkeAffiliated withDepartment of Computer Science, Boston University Email author 

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Abstract

Severe motion impairments can result from non-progressive disorders, such as cerebral palsy, or degenerative neurological diseases, such as Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS), Multiple Sclerosis (MS), or muscular dystrophy (MD). They can be due to traumatic brain injuries, for example, due to a traffic accident, or to brainstem strokes [9, 84]. Worldwide, these disorders affect millions of individuals of all races and ethnic backgrounds [4, 75, 52]. Because disease onset of MS and ALS typically occurs in adulthood, afflicted people are usually computer literate. Intelligent interfaces can immensely improve their daily lives by allowing them to communicate and participate in the information society, for example, by browsing the web, posting messages, or emailing friends. However, people with advanced ALS, MS, or MD may reach a point when they cannot control the keyboard and mouse anymore and also cannot rely on automated voice recognition because their speech has become slurred.