Technical, social and policy

researchers1

Although the GPII is designed primarily for users, developers, and service providers, it also provides many new avenues for researchers. First, it provides an entirely new way for service delivery. This raises all sorts of new questions and potential new service delivery options to explore. For example, instead of users purchasing assistive technologies every X years and having to live with bad mistakes, the GPII also allows for a very easy “pay for use” model where individuals who only pay for assistive technologies as long as they use them. This would not work necessary for hardware-based assistive technologies but most of the ICT related assistive technologies are software nature and could be easily implemented using a pay-per-use model. Individuals could try different strategies as they came out, and if they found better strategies switch to them. This would require new funding models. It also changes some of the dynamics in evaluation and the entire assistive technology delivery model. For one immediate impact might be that companies would focus less on selling new products than they would on ensuring that existing customers needs are being met.

The GPII, particularly its DeveloperSpace can be the particular resource for researchers working on new assistive technologies. Currently, many researchers and students working on the development of new assistive technologies spend large amounts of time building the basic infrastructure for their research before they can work on the particular function or feature that is the subject of their work. The GPII’s Developer Space can provide a wealth of existing modules and functions and even complete AT frameworks that can be used to build new assistive technologies much more quickly. For example, someone wanting to create an aide for a person with cognitive or language disabilities could use an open source screen reading program for individuals who are blind and change the user interface on it to make it so that it is usable by individuals with cognitive disabilities who can see the screen but want to be able to selectively pick out text and have it read to them. In addition, once the students work is complete instead of ending with a paper and a thesis filed in the library it could be contributed back into the developer space so that the next researcher could build on their work rather than duplicating it, or they would be able to use the GPII’s unified listing and marketplace to make their product available other users. If they would like to put it out but do not want to do it themselves they can also use the market places team builder to find other individuals who may be interested in doing the marketing work for new ideas created by the students.

There are many other ways that GPII can help both technical and non-technical researchers who are interested in finding or creating better solutions for people facing barriers to ICT due to disability, literacy, digital literacy and aging.