Discover our projects driving inclusion and accessibility
Our team is globally renowned for its innovative, participative and community-driven research.
3D Printed Maps to Support Orientation and Mobility
Researchers: Leona Holloway, Kim Marriott, Matthew Butler, Ruth Nagassa, Kate Stephens
Partners: Guide Dogs Victoria; Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities, Inc.; Royal Society for the Blind
Tactile representations of the environment are critical to assist people who are blind or have severe low vision to build up an understanding of their surroundings to support safe and independent travel. However, traditional raised line drawings use a high level of abstraction and rely on understanding of the visual concept of a “birds eye view”. Our research has shown that 3D printed maps can be more intuitive and easier to understand by touch. Working with our community collaborators, we are producing 3D printed tactile maps for real-world use, exploring their advantages and developing guidelines for their design.
Funding: ARC Linkage LP170100026
Selected papers:Accessible Maps for the Blind: Comparing 3D Printed Models with Tactile Graphics, CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2018.
3D Printed Street Crossings: Supporting Orientation and Mobility Training with People who are Blind or have Low Vision, CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2022.
Output:3D printable street crossing components, available for free download with accompanying documentation.
Creating Accessible Gallery Experiences
Researchers: Matthew Butler, Vince Dziekan, Erica Tandori, Leona Holloway, Kim Marriott, Ruth Nagassa, Sam Trolland, Jenna Hall
Partners: Bendigo Art Gallery, Vision Australia
Funding: Helen Macpherson-Smith Trust
As part of an initiative to improve the accessibility of art galleries for people who are blind or have low vision, we are working with the Bendigo Art Gallery to create a multimodal experience combining description, music, touch and interactive activities. Using a ‘Value Sensitive Design’ approach, a collection of accessible works has been developed to supplement pieces from their general collection. A range of technologies is being explored, including 3D printing, 3D modelling and scanning, laser cutting, interactive labelling and refreshable tactile displays. Visitors who are blind or have low vision are being invited to experience the Gallery's permanent and special exhibitions to evaluate whether these accessible versions of visual art are meaningful and valuable.
Selected paper:Making Sense of Art: Access for Gallery Visitors with Vision Impairments - CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2019.
Interactive 3D Prints for Access by Touch and Sound
Researchers: Sam Reinders, Matthew Butler, Kim Marriott, Ruth Nagassa
The research explores how 3D printing may be combined with low-cost electronics to make interactive models, such as those used in Orientation and Mobility (O&M) training and classroom learning, that are more accessible to people who are blind or low vision. In particular, the strategies being explored enable access to audio labels, associated online media, and naturalistic interactions with conversational agents. Our goal is to provide users with materials that facilitate more interactive and engaging experiences compared to standard tactile diagrams.
Selected paper:"Hey Model!" – Natural User Interactions and Agency in Accessible Interactive 3D Models, CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2021
ICT Options, Needs and Capacities for Persons with Hearing Impairment in Rural Bangladesh: A Scoping Study from Resilience-Building Perspective
Researchers: Khalid Hossain, M Tasdik Hasan, Jahirul Islam (Team Inclusion Bangladesh
Partners: Team Inclusion Bangladesh Foundation, Oxfam in Bangladesh
Hearing impairment is the second most common form of disability in Bangladesh (16.5%) and around 3 million people have a severe hearing loss. With its development visions, Vision 2021 – Digital Bangladesh and Vision 2041 – Innovative Bangladesh, Bangladesh aims to achieve high-income status by 2041 by ensuring resilient and inclusive development through the use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and other means. To pursue the Visions, it is important to include the persons with hearing impairment in the transformative development process through ICT-based resilience-building initiatives from economic, social, and environmental perspectives.
Based on qualitative research with persons with hearing impairment, their caregivers, and other stakeholders, this research aims to identify the ICT options, needs, and capacities of persons with
hearing impairment for their resilience-building in rural areas of Bangladesh. This will lead to follow-up participatory action research with the persons with hearing impairment with the support of the project partner Team Inclusion Bangladesh Foundation.
Action Audio: Making Sports Broadcasting Accessible through Spatial Audio
Researchers: Cagatay Goncu
Partners: Tennis Australia, AKQA, Blind Sports & Recreation Victoria
Action Audio turns spatial data from live sports into sound, allowing blind and low vision audiences to “see” the action in real time. It uses real time ball monitoring technology and augments the Radio broadcast with 3D sounds. The system emphasises ball speed and trajectory, proximity to line and shot type, and augments critical moments to allow blind and low vision audiences to follow the game without seeing the ball.
Action Audio launched at the Australian Open 2021 quad wheelchair singles, men’s and women’s finals, and extended its coverage to all Rod Laver Arena matches in 2022.
Selected paper: 'Did You See That!?' Enhancing the Experience of Sports Media Broadcast for Blind People, INTERACT IFIP Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, 2021.
Outputs:Action Audio website.
Researchers: Cagatay Goncu, Kim Marriott
The GraVVITAS (Graphics Viewer using Vibration Interactive Touch and Speech) project is developing new computer technologies that are designed to work on an iPad and will (at last) provide people who are blind or have severe vision impairment with fast, inexpensive access to a wide variety of information graphics at home, at school and at work.
GraVVITAS is currently under the commercialization scheme at Monash University as RaisedPixels Pty. Ltd.
Selected papers:GraVVITAS 2.0: A Framework For Digital Accessible Content Provision - ASSETS International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, 2019.
GraViewer iOS app is now available at Apple AppStore as RaisedPixels Reader.
Braille Learning Keyboard
Researchers: Kirsten Ellis, Leona Holloway
This research investigates the importance of the layout of a keyboard to using and learning braille, which is highly dependent on its spatial arrangement. Our research explores how changing the design and layout of a keyboard for entering braille changes the mental effort required to transform the dots prior to inputting the braille cells.
Selected paper:Turn It Over: A Demonstration That Spatial Keyboards are Logical for Braille - ASSETS International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, 2018.
Awards: Finalist, Victorian State iAwards 2019.
Tronic Boards: An Accessible Electronics Toolkit for People with Disabilities
Researchers: Hashini Seneratne, Kirsten Ellis, Swamy Ananthanarayan
Engagement with electronic toolkits enhances people's creative abilities, self-esteem, problem-solving skills and enables the creation of personally meaningful artefacts. A variety of simplified electronics toolkits are increasingly available to help different user groups engage with technology. However, they are often inaccessible for people with intellectual disabilities, who experience a range of cognitive and physical impairments. We designed and developed TronicBoards, a curated set of accessible electronic modules, to address this gap. Using TronicBoards, people with a range of disabilities are able to create simple sensor-based interactive circuits with varying levels of assistance.
Selected papers:TronicBoards: An Accessible Electronics Toolkit for People with Intellectual Disabilities - CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2022
Making for All: Including People with Disabilities
Researchers: Kirsten Ellis, Hashini Seneratne
Funding: National Science Week Grants
Every Australian deserves the opportunity to participate in science and technology. That’s why we’ve designed STEM engagement activities to meet the unique needs of people with physical and intellectual disabilities as part of National Science Week activities in 2019 (in person) and 2020 (distributed remotely). We sent out hundreds of kits for activities including circuit making with TapeBlocks, Weaving with Electronics, Light up boxes and threaded electronics textiles. The kits contained easy-to-use components so that everyone, regardless of skill level or dexterity, can learn to make their own technology.
Outputs: Maker kits with disability-friendly activity instructions on the Making for All event page.
Single Handed Braille Keyboard
Researchers: Kirsten Ellis, Ross de Vent, Reuben Kirkham, Patrick Olivier
Blind people with the use of one hand are rare and therefore nothing in the world is designed to meet their unique needs. The new maker philosophy takes these real-world problems and works to find and build custom solutions. Working in a collaborative team, the person with the need proposed the problem and works with a maker to build and refine the bespoke solution, the research team then reflected on the process.
Selected paper:Bespoke Reflections: Creating a One-Handed Braille Keyboard - The 22nd ASSETS: The International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, 2020.
TapeBlocks: Accessible Maker Tech for All
Researchers: Kirsten Ellis, Emily Dao, Stephen Lindsay (University of Glasgow), Osian Smith (University of Swansea), Patrick Olivier, Hashini Senaratne, Gillian Kidman, Hazel Tan, Donna Rady, Sarika Kewalramani
Tape Blocks are EVA foam blocks wrapped in conductive tape with electronic components. They are an affordable, versatile and engaging way for anyone to make circuits, providing an accessible introduction to technology and the maker movement for people with disabilities. After coming up with the original concept for Tape Blocks, our researchers have been conducting participatory workshops and evaluating the impact of using Tape Blocks with a range of user groups.
Selected paper:Tapeblocks: A making toolkit for people living with intellectual disabilities - CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2020.
Honourable Mention, Product Innovation Award, Aus Mumpreneur Awards 2021.
Finalist, Digital Innovation Award, Aus Mumpreneur Awards 2021.
Shortlisted, Cultivating Curiosity Awards.
Modelling for Better Accessible Navigation Tools
Researchers: Reuben Kirkham
Funding: This work is supported by a National Computational Merit Allocation Scheme (NCMAS) award (2021-2022).
Keywords: Assistive Technology, Mobile Technologies, Navigation, Motor Impairments
Currently, there are no effective navigation tools to enable people with mobility impairments to avoid barriers and hazards in the built environment. Part of the issue is documentation of accessibility barriers, which will inevitably include a degree of inaccuracy (i.e. some barriers will be missing, whilst there will also be false positives). This project aims to provide the foundations for providing tools that are sufficient to reduce encounters with accessibility barriers or other hazards in the built environment. It is hoped that this project will ultimately increase the number of pedestrian journeys taken by people with mobility impairments.
Selected papers:Using computer simulations to investigate the potential performance of ‘A to B’ routing systems for people with mobility impairments - Proceedings of the 23rd International Conference on Mobile Human-Computer Interaction, 2021.
Strategically using Applied Machine Learning for Accessibility Documentation in the Built Environment - IFIP Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, 2021.
Sonifying Data for Non-visual Access to Information
Researchers: Leona Holloway, Kim Marriott, Matthew Butler, Cagatay Goncu, Alon Ilsar
Partners: Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities, South Pacific Educators in Vision Impairment, Sonokids
Sonification is an audio representation of data or visuals. It offers a quick, online option for people who are blind or have low vision to access graphics, however our Inclusive Technology researchers investigating access to COVID-19 infographics found that sonification is currently under-used. We are working to support the use of sonification through educational strategies, creating sonification and software that are easier for novices to use and understand, and working towards automated production tools.
Selected papers:Infosonics: Accessible Infographics for People who are Blind using Sonification and Voice - CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 2022
Non-visual access to graphical information on COVID-19 - ASSETS International ACM SIGACCESS Conference on Computers and Accessibility, 2020
Outputs:Sample infosonicsStatus: We are currently seeking additional partners for this project. Please contact us if you are interested in working with us to develop and test sonification production tools or sonifications of your data.
Researchers: Rebecca Fleming, Kirsten Ellis, Louisa Willoughby
This research project investigates how an interactive digital narrative can help hearing adult learners to acquire basic Auslan vocabulary. Rather than repeating signs in a drill-and-practice manner, which some learners can find dull and repetitive, the Kinect Narrative presents the signs as part of an interactive story, which not only gives the signs a relevant context, it also motivates the user to keep playing so they can discover what happens in the story depending on their choice. It is hoped that developing a sign language learning system that is accessible and affordable will increase the number of people who learn sign language, and therefore provide a more inclusive society for deaf people.
Kinect with Signs: An Interactive Sign Language Learning System
Researchers: Han Duy Phan, Kirsten Ellis, Alan Dorin
This research investigates how to enhance the experience of people who are learning Australian sign language (Ausaln) with the assistance of technology. We designed, developed, and evaluated a system for learning sign language vocabulary. Our system presents signs from different angles, tracks the learner’s attempts at signs using the Kinect, and provides feedback to the learner on their errors. This research compared five different types of visual feedback: Arrows, Color, Paths, Phantom and Recasts. This research aims to increase access to Auslan learning resources especially for parents of deaf children, including those living in remote places.
Selected papers:Feedback Strategies for Embodied Agents to Enhance Sign Language Vocabulary Learning - IVA ACM International Conference on Intelligent Virtual Agents, 2020.
MIC, an Interactive Sign Language Teaching System - OzCHI Australian Conference on Computer-Human Interaction, 2018.
Multimodal-multisensor Analytics for Detecting Anxiety Phases in Individuals Experiencing High Anxiety
Researchers: Hashini Senaratne, Kirsten Ellis, Sharon Oviatt, Glenn Melvin, Levin Kuhlmann
This research aims to advance objective assessments of anxiety to address the drawbacks of current clinical assessments, aiming to advance more efficaciously individualised and timed digital interventions in the future. It uses multiple methods, including semi-structured interviews, lab-based data collection, signal analysis techniques, and multimodal-multisensor analytics with a total of 147 participants. This led to the conceptualisation of four anxiety phases that can be best detected using a multimodal-multisensor combination of skin conductance rate, mean rigidity of wrists, and mean posture features. The contributions of this research are expected to advance more objective digital diaries in support of clinicians, assessment of progress due to different anxiety treatments, and basic knowledge and theory about impairing anxiety disorders, supporting the long-term aims of minimising the burden of anxiety disorders.
Selected papers:A Multimodal Dataset and Evaluation for Feature Estimators of Temporal Phases of Anxiety - ICMI International Conference on Multimodal Interaction, 2021, Honourable Mention.
Detecting Temporal Phases of Anxiety in The Wild: Toward Continuously Adaptive Self-Regulation Technologies - ICMI International Conference on Multimodal Interaction, 2019.
3D Printing for Students who are Blind or have Low Vision
Leona Holloway, Kim Marriott, Matthew Butler, Ruth Nagassa, Samuel Reinders
Round Table on Information Access for People with Print Disabilities, Department of Education and Training Victoria, NextSense, Australia and New Zealand Accessible Graphics Group
This work is part of an ARC
Linkage Project LP170100026
3D Printing maker technology for prototyping and small-scale production offers the opportunity to create durable, fun and inclusive materials for students who are blind or have low vision to use in the classroom. This may include graphics or manipulatives to help teach the curriculum, literacy and numeracy toys to encourage young students to use their sense of touch and familiarise them with braille, and customised classroom tools such as tactile rulers. Our researchers have been working with accessible formats producers and vision specialist teachers to support the adoption of 3D printing for students who are blind or have low vision and evaluate its value.
Outputs:Guidelines on 3D printing for people who are blind or have low vision.
3D printing designs by Leona Holloway on Thingiverse.
Access to Graphics in Higher Education for Students who are Blind or have Low Vision
Using Technology to Support First Responder Interactions with People who have Prader-Willi Syndrome
Researchers: Kirsten Ellis, Reuben Kirkham, Lisa Kruesi, Kate de Josselin (Prader Willi Syndrome Association Victoria)
Partners: Prader Willi Syndrome Association Victoria
People with Prader-Willi syndrome have a variety of complicated interactions with public services, carers, family members and health care workers. The impact of the condition on those around them can be considerable. One major concern is the unplanned interactions with emergency services. This leads to a challenging information management problem, with the provision of inappropriate advice and communication exasperating often delicate interactions and limited information at the point of need. Based on a qualitative investigation with stakeholders, we have identified the key challenges in providing a trusted and effective information management system and developed key principles for the design and implementation of a more inclusive information management system. This research has wider benefits as it provides an exemplar for supporting vulnerable people in their interactions with first responders.