Special Issue "Interactive Assistive Technology"

A special issue of Multimodal Technologies and Interaction (ISSN 2414-4088).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 January 2019).

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Abdullah Al Mahmud
Website
Guest Editor
Centre for Design Innovation, School of Design, Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn VIC 3122, Australia
Interests: Human-Computer Interaction; Assistive Technology; Augmentative and Alternative Communication
Prof. Jean-Bernard Martens
Website
Guest Editor
Eindhoven University of Technology, 5612 AZ Eindhoven, the Netherlands
Interests: Visual Interaction; Human-Computer Interaction; Augmented Reality
Assoc. Prof. Lau Bee Theng
Website
Guest Editor
Swinburne University of Technology, Hawthorn VIC 3122, Australia
Interests: Assistive Technology; Activity Monitoring; Computer Mediated Learning and Intervention

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Assistive technologies play a vital role in helping people with disabilities to regain confidence and accomplish tasks that might not otherwise be possible due to their disability. Current trends show that innovative assistive technologies and associated interactions have emerged where virtual reality/augmented reality, social robots, IoT and big data have been used. Due to the rapid development of assistive technologies, the human-computer interaction community has embraced this domain to design useful and usable systems. One of the key concerns in the prevalence of novel and interactive assistive technologies is the adoption of them by the end users. In order to mitigate the issue, researchers have adopted the co-design approach to design assistive technologies, though it is challenging to include the end users due to their limited capability in participating in the design process. Another challenge is the longitudinal field evaluation of assistive technologies and gathering solid evidence on their effectiveness for the target group. In this special issue, we aim to focus on the challenges of co-designing assistive technologies and longitudinal field trials of those technologies by end users. We wish to understand the extent end users can be involved and challenges in the development of interactive assistive technologies as well as their long-term use of those technologies. Therefore, we aim to advance our knowledge of co-designing and evaluating interactive assistive technologies and invite original contributions that address the above-mentioned challenges.

Dr. Abdullah Al Mahmud
Prof. Jean-Bernard Martens
Assoc. Prof. Lau Bee Theng
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Multimodal Technologies and Interaction is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Assistive Technology and Serious Games
  • Novel Therapies for Rehabilitation
  • Assistive Technology for Cope, Care and Cure
  • Design and Evaluation of Emerging Assistive Technologies
  • Persuasive Technology for Assistive Interaction
  • Augmentative and Alternative Communication
  • Co-designing Assistive Technology
  • Longitudinal Field Evaluation of Assistive Technology
  • Assistive Technology for People with Special Needs (i.e., older adults and children)

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Can Skeuomorphic Design Provide a Better Online Banking User Experience for Older Adults?
Multimodal Technol. Interact. 2019, 3(3), 63; https://doi.org/10.3390/mti3030063 - 17 Sep 2019
Abstract
With the prevalence of digital technologies and internet connectivity, combined with the reduction in footfall on high streets, banks have taken steps to move most of their customer base online. This has left many older adults behind, trying to keep up with the [...] Read more.
With the prevalence of digital technologies and internet connectivity, combined with the reduction in footfall on high streets, banks have taken steps to move most of their customer base online. This has left many older adults behind, trying to keep up with the changes and having to learn to use sometimes complex online banking interfaces. In this work we investigate whether skeuomorphic design can create a more usable online banking system for older adults, compared to the more commonplace flat design. This work took a user-centered approach, beginning with interviews with older adults that were conducted to gather data to be used in the production of prototype user interfaces. Two prototypes were then created: a flat user interface and a skeuomorphic one. We evaluated these interfaces with 15 older adults, gathering a combination of data, including data from the System Usability Scale, observations, and interviews. Results of the experiments showed that our older users preferred the flat prototype to the skeuomorphic one, but raised some potentially useful guidelines for the design of future skeuomorphic user interfaces for older adults. A validation experiment with 17 younger adults (aged 20–25) also showed that the skeuomorphic interface was more usable for older adults than younger ones. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactive Assistive Technology)
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Open AccessArticle
Comparing Interaction Techniques to Help Blind People Explore Maps on Small Tactile Devices
Multimodal Technol. Interact. 2019, 3(2), 27; https://doi.org/10.3390/mti3020027 - 20 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
Exploring geographic maps on touchscreens is a difficult task in the absence of vision as those devices miss tactile cues. Prior research has therefore introduced non-visual interaction techniques designed to allow visually impaired people to explore spatial configurations on tactile devices. In this [...] Read more.
Exploring geographic maps on touchscreens is a difficult task in the absence of vision as those devices miss tactile cues. Prior research has therefore introduced non-visual interaction techniques designed to allow visually impaired people to explore spatial configurations on tactile devices. In this paper, we present a study in which six blind and six blindfolded sighted participants evaluated three of those interaction techniques compared to a screen reader condition. We observed that techniques providing guidance result in a higher user satisfaction and more efficient exploration. Adding a grid-like structure improved the estimation of distances. None of the interaction techniques improved the reconstruction of the spatial configurations. The results of this study allow improving the design of non-visual interaction techniques that support a better exploration and memorization of maps in the absence of vision. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactive Assistive Technology)
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Open AccessArticle
Tactile Cues for Improving Target Localization in Subjects with Tunnel Vision
Multimodal Technol. Interact. 2019, 3(2), 26; https://doi.org/10.3390/mti3020026 - 19 Apr 2019
Abstract
The loss of peripheral vision is experienced by millions of people with glaucoma or retinitis pigmentosa, and has a major impact in everyday life, specifically to locate visual targets in the environment. In this study, we designed a wearable interface to render the [...] Read more.
The loss of peripheral vision is experienced by millions of people with glaucoma or retinitis pigmentosa, and has a major impact in everyday life, specifically to locate visual targets in the environment. In this study, we designed a wearable interface to render the location of specific targets with private and non-intrusive tactile cues. Three experimental studies were completed to design and evaluate the tactile code and the device. In the first study, four different tactile codes (single stimuli or trains of pulses rendered either in a Cartesian or a Polar coordinate system) were evaluated with a head pointing task. In the following studies, the most efficient code, trains of pulses with Cartesian coordinates, was used on a bracelet located on the wrist, and evaluated during a visual search task in a complex virtual environment. The second study included ten subjects with a simulated restrictive field of view (10°). The last study consisted of proof of a concept with one visually impaired subject with restricted peripheral vision due to glaucoma. The results show that the device significantly improved the visual search efficiency with a factor of three. Including object recognition algorithm to smart glass, the device could help to detect targets of interest either on demand or suggested by the device itself (e.g., potential obstacles), facilitating visual search, and more generally spatial awareness of the environment. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactive Assistive Technology)
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Open AccessArticle
Using Sensory Wearable Devices to Navigate the City: Effectiveness and User Experience in Older Pedestrians
Multimodal Technol. Interact. 2019, 3(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/mti3010017 - 12 Mar 2019
Cited by 2
Abstract
Preserving older pedestrians’ navigation skills in urban environments is a challenge for maintaining their quality of life. However, the maps that are usually used by older pedestrians might be unsuitable to their specificities and the existing digital aids do not consider older people’s [...] Read more.
Preserving older pedestrians’ navigation skills in urban environments is a challenge for maintaining their quality of life. However, the maps that are usually used by older pedestrians might be unsuitable to their specificities and the existing digital aids do not consider older people’s perceptual and cognitive declines or user experience. This study presents a rich description of the navigation experience of older pedestrians either with a visual (augmented reality glasses), auditory (bone conduction headphones), or a visual and haptic (smartwatch) wearable device adapted to age-related declines. These wearable devices are compared to the navigation aid older people usually use when navigating the city (their own digital or paper map). The study, with 18 participants, measured the navigation performance and captured detailed descriptions of the users’ experience using interviews. We highlight three main phenomena which impact the quality of the user experience with the four aids: (1) the shifts in attention over time, (2) the understanding of the situation over time, and (3) the emergence of affective and aesthetic feelings over time. These findings add a new understanding of the specificities of navigation experience by older people and are discussed in terms of design recommendations for navigation devices. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactive Assistive Technology)
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Open AccessArticle
Hungry Cat—A Serious Game for Conveying Spatial Information to the Visually Impaired
Multimodal Technol. Interact. 2019, 3(1), 12; https://doi.org/10.3390/mti3010012 - 27 Feb 2019
Cited by 4
Abstract
Navigation is done through obtaining spatial information from the environment and forming a spatial map about it. The visually impaired rely mainly on orientation and mobility training by a certified specialist to acquire spatial navigation skills. However, it is manpower intensive and costly. [...] Read more.
Navigation is done through obtaining spatial information from the environment and forming a spatial map about it. The visually impaired rely mainly on orientation and mobility training by a certified specialist to acquire spatial navigation skills. However, it is manpower intensive and costly. This research designed and developed a serious game, Hungry Cat. This game can convey spatial information of virtual rooms to children with visual impairment through game playing. An evaluation with 30 visually impaired participants was conducted by allowing them to explore each virtual room in Hungry Cat. After exploration, the food finding test, which is a game mode available in Hungry Cat, was conducted, followed by the physical wire net test to evaluate their ability in forming the spatial mental maps of the virtual rooms. The positive results of the evaluation obtained demonstrate the ability of Hungry Cat, in conveying spatial information about virtual rooms and aiding the development of spatial mental maps of these rooms through game playing. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactive Assistive Technology)
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Open AccessArticle
A Survey of Assistive Technologies for Assessment and Rehabilitation of Motor Impairments in Multiple Sclerosis
Multimodal Technol. Interact. 2019, 3(1), 6; https://doi.org/10.3390/mti3010006 - 05 Feb 2019
Cited by 5
Abstract
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects the central nervous system, which consists of the brain and spinal cord. Although this condition cannot be cured, proper treatment of persons with MS (PwMS) can help control and manage the relapses of several symptoms. [...] Read more.
Multiple sclerosis (MS) is a disease that affects the central nervous system, which consists of the brain and spinal cord. Although this condition cannot be cured, proper treatment of persons with MS (PwMS) can help control and manage the relapses of several symptoms. In this survey article, we focus on the different technologies used for the assessment and rehabilitation of motor impairments for PwMS. We discuss sensor-based and robot-based solutions for monitoring, assessment and rehabilitation. Among MS symptoms, fatigue is one of the most disabling features, since PwMS may need to put significantly more intense effort toward achieving simple everyday tasks. While fatigue is a common symptom across several neurological chronic diseases, it remains poorly understood for various reasons, including subjectivity and variability among individuals. To this end, we also investigate recent methods for fatigue detection and monitoring. The result of this survey will provide both clinicians and researchers with valuable information on assessment and rehabilitation technologies for PwMS, as well as providing insights regarding fatigue and its effect on performance in daily activities for PwMS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Interactive Assistive Technology)
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