About this Research Topic
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), over 1 billion people are affected by some form of disability and this number is expected to double by 2050. Disabilities cause several impairments including cognitive, mental, physical, sensory, developmental or a combination of the above. Many assistive technologies exist to help disabled people be more independent and healthy, as well as improve their participation in education, working and social life. Assistive technologies can also reduce the need of care services, alleviate the burden on families and reduce the risk of poverty. On the other hand, Assistive Technologies are sometimes expensive, even in high-income countries, and complex for the users; with inadequate functional design or cosmetic acceptability. This is often due to the little attention given by researchers and industrial corporations, which are often more attracted by popular mass-market segments.
In this topic, we focus on sensory-disabled people (visually impaired, hearing impaired, etc.), investigating how assistive technologies can support their special needs. Indeed, different Assistive devices can support people with disabilities in a range of tasks or might be focused on a specific task. For example, many applications exploit the variety of sensors included in most smartphones and tablets, such as cameras, accelerometers and GPS; to provide navigation, object recognition and social interaction services. Moreover, recent advancements in data analysis, machine learning, Human-Computer Interaction, and the development of new actuators (haptic, vibrational, audio, braille, etc.) resulted in an explosion of assistive technologies, including Artificial Intelligence for communication and translation, eLearning and Education, computer vision, virtual and augmented environments (VR/AR), mobile and touch technology, tactile and wearable interfaces, and image and web accessibility. These advancements are complemented by improvements in the Usability, Ergonomics and User-Centered Design of the above research fields. Finally, several assistive technologies are based on the pervasive diffusion of sensors and the Internet of Things (IoT) to help sensory-disabled people in their everyday life, such as in Ambient and Assisted Living (AAL), while other Assistive Technologies focus more on providing mechanisms to support caregivers.
This Research Topic aims to address assistive technology designed for sensory-disabled people. The results will pave the way to new, reliable and low-cost assistive technology devices, providing help for general or specific needs. For example, living a more independent life, better communication in working and social environments, move autonomously and safely, retrieve information about places nearby, recognize people they are interacting with and understand their feelings etc.
Both theoretical and experimental research is welcomed, including but not limited to the following topics:
• Assistive technologies and assistive robotics for sensory disabilities
• AAL, smart environments and IoT for sensory-disabled people
• Assistive technologies and artificial intelligence for sensory disabilities
• Virtual and augmented reality for sensory disabilities
• Computer vision applications for sensory-disabled people
• Bioengineering for sensory disabilities
• Auditory and spatial perception of sensory-disabled people
• Alternative and Augmentative Communication for sensory-disabled people
• Wearables and haptics for sensory-disabled people
• Navigation and guidance for sensory-disabled people
• Assisted mobility for sensory-disabled people
• Accessibility of images, software, Web and Social Media
• Safety and security of assistive technologies for sensory-disabled people
• Inclusive R&D, usability, ergonomics and user-centered design of assistive technologies for sensory-disabled people
• Assistive technologies in education for sensory-disabled people
• Assistive technologies for sensory-disabled people in low- and middle-income countries
Topic Editors Dr. Laura Giarré and Dr. Daniele Croce are affiliated with In.sight srl. All other Topic Editors declare no competing interests with regard to the Research Topic subject.
Keywords: Disability, Assistive Technologies, Visual Impairment, Hearing Impairment, Sensory
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.