Technology for Disabilities

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Arun will lead a discussion about how to deal with disabilities in technology and discuss his project SKID (


Disabilities and Accessibility with Arun

Interests of People

  • Alternate interfaces. Musical.
  • Web Development

Arun's Work

  • Stephen Hawking came to India. The software that he uses, the hardware is not being made. X company decided to create software for Stephen Hawking (open source).
  • Why would Stephen Hawking need software from India?
    • They did go to Microsoft and M$ werent interested.
  • Stepen can only press one button.
    • Cna hold down buton
  • Go to his website:
    • What do you think about your disabilitit?
  • His computer is just like anyone elses.
  • Book: Beautiful Code (chapter about Stephen Hawking)

Special Kids

  • very simple modules (ruby on rails)
    • very simple task
    • Very easy to write modules
      • script to set up skeleton of modules
    • combine modules
      • Typing and Email modules combined
    • Had kids write modules in one summer
      • high school kids, college kids
  • Ruby on Rails was used because of its modular natures
    • easy for novices to program like experts
  • Can navigate with just an x-y joystick
  • 4 button design
  • FireWater (ruby) module controls firefox
  • speech enable (can speak for)
    • Find matching sentences with regular expression to easily find things to say
    • Can change via text files
    • Parent can put in words and pictures based on what is being learned
    • Festival
  • Hardware
    • Cheap solid state laptop
  • YouTube
    • ??
  • Images
    • select 3 modules in order to pick pictures and crop
    • Works really well with autistic
  • Site Administration
    • There are modules for parents/teachers/admins to clean up data and manage site
  • Bulletin Board
  • Promotion
    • Mailing list
    • Arun works at schools

Disability Issues

  • Kinds of disabilities
  • Many degrees (like blindness)
  • Disabled from Birth
    • Size of person will dictate technoogy for disabled
  • In many area in the world, education is not available to the disabled
  • Speaking is really hard to learn
  • Communication problems mean that it is difficult to communicate the disbality to technology

Define Disablity

  • Absences of an abiltiy
  • It's a dynamic thing. Like not knowing about computers

Challenges in Designing

  • Like connecting pipes as a plumber
  • how to have authentication? (accounts for email)
    • maybe image based

Questions (What can we do?)

  • If you see any things that are sensory exciting?
    • Send to Arun
  • Do you know kids that could use this software?
    • takes patience on both sides
    • in India, it is foreign to buy a computer for a disabled
  • Anyone with experience with installing software on SD card?
  • Ruby on Rails training?
  • Students who are seeking meaningful small projects (create some modules)?
    • Easy for resume.
  • Conversion of Joystick client to JS?
    • ATM: Festival needs to be installed. Driver only on Linux.
    • USB joystick

Other Solutions

  • Wireless cards can determine resistance, so waving a hand in front of card can snese action.
  • WiiMote
  • Sense Blue/Red blocks
  • cameras are in all (cheap) laptops

Ruby on Rails

  • good for this application
  • makes writing good code really easy
  • Framkwork, not language or CMS (but allows making a CMS easy)

Other Points

  • creating opportunities for kids to program modules along side disabled kids
  • second life
  • communities
  • each feature adds complexity
  • waycom tables, pressure sensitivity
  • bulb aand liquid tube to have different levels to determine state
  • create credit opportuninties for college students to volunteer at elementary

Future of Skid

  • two-button design