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Local College Helps Break Down Computer Barriers for Disabled, Others

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Dallas, Luzerne County — Revolutionary assistive technology under development allows a blind person to use the information superhighway. “This is the ultimate on-ramp that allows them to be there with everybody else,” said Misericordia University’s Assistive Technology Research Institute Director Denis Anson. On Tuesday, he demonstrated Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure or GPII. Mr. Anson and other global researchers developed the system which interfaces with a screen reader and an access card of sorts. The end result unlocks personal needs and preferences chosen by the computer user. “Wherever you go and you run into a screen that you can’t see or you can’t manage, you just do this and it becomes what you need.”

The user’s digital data, which could contain hundreds of personal preferences, is stored in the cloud. “Any computer can be adapted to do this,” he said. It could also be something as simple as screen magnification which is the preference of one of the fictional profiles created. “So he touches his card and the screen wakes up the magnifier and becomes larger,” said Mr. Anson.

The challenges overcome are not limited to physical ability. It could help computer users easily confused by technology. The mock-up for one fictional character struggles with receiving and sending email. “She can bring her card out and it goes to the nice simple interface for her.”

Once GPII is used by the individual, another swipe of the card reverts the computer to its default state. For Mr. Anson, a crowning achievement in a long career. “I don’t think without a long career in the field anybody could have dreamed this large. But those of us who have got the dream, yes, this is magical.”  

Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure will be showcased in June at the annual Rehabilitation Engineering and Assistive Technology Society of North America Conference in Washington, D.C. It could be available for public use by the end of 2016.

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