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[Workshop] I CAN: Overview of Mobile and Sensor Technology for People with Special Needs
An Interactive Paper-Writing Workshop (chaired by Dr. Eiman Kanjo)
There is nothing more frustrating than being unable to effectively communicate or to mobilize, to react, to hear various noises, to see the sunlight, to express one’s thoughts, wants or needs to other human. Our ability to do so is the very base of our civilization and knowledge, one of the keystones of what it means to be human.
The use of machines to assist in communications is not a novel idea. For more than 50 years, people with disabilities have been using technology to communicate. Early devices were neither portable nor affordable. An original lightspot-operated typewriter, which used a head-mounted light to type, cost upwards of SAR 200,000 and required a typewriter and a board of light sensors. Most of the initial technology was repurposed from the military, developed to aid in navigation or bombing.
Over the years, dedicated devices have become smaller, more portable and somewhat cheaper, although they remain costly. Economically, the audience for such devices is limited, meaning a small consumer base must share the costs for research and development. Even today, specially designed devices can cost SAR 10,000 to SAR 50,000 and weigh upwards of 2 kg. Mobile phones and portable tablets , by comparison, costs around or less $500 and weighs about a pound. Similarly sensing technology has become cheaper, smaller and more accurate. This advancement in technology has led the development in many projects aimed at people with special needs.
For example, Real-GPS Shoes by GTX Corp and Aetrex help track people suffering with dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Using affective and emotion sensors for autistic children is another example, so does noise sensing technology for visually impaired people and light sensor for people with hearing difficulties.Eye tracking and gaze interaction by Tobii Technology has also revolutionized computer interaction and research by helping people with special needs to communicate.
This interactive workshop is aimed at identifying various mobile and sensor technologies used to help people with special needs in order to achieve complete “social inclusion” ensuring Education, Employment, Independence, Communication and Entertainment.
A key focus of the workshop is the four small group sessions where participants divided into groups depending on type of sensor technology to aid people with special needs. Expert facilitators "Provocateurs" for each group provide analysis of various research carried out using a particular sensors. In a second session researchers move from analysis to recommendation for future development using the same sensing technology.
The output of each group will identify salient points from each group discussions.
We would like to invite early, mid and late stage postgraduate researchers, and interested academics in the College of computer and Information Science CCIS to participate in the workshop. Once the participants have sent their expression of interest, they will be assigned to a particular discussion group (prior to the workshop), they will be asked to send 1000 words essay which includes review and future recommendation for a particular portable sensor technology to aid people with special needs.
Call for Participation
Workshop on Oct 8; Expressions of interest due by Oct 6
Registration is open to all interested faculty and students
Based on contributions to the workshop and quality of the essays, we will select four participants to contribute to a real paper that will be submitted in December to a selected IEEE conference related to the subject. To participate please send an expression of interest to Dr. Eiman Kanjo eKanjo.c @ ksu [dot] edu [dot] sa on or before Oct 6, 2012.
Date: October 8th

Time: 12:00-2:30pm
Location: Scientific Forum, Building 4, Malaz Campus
Tentative Agenda:
12:00 Introduction to the workshop and “Setting the Scene”
12:15 Group session1: Mobile and Sensor Technology Review (4 groups)
13:00 Break
13:15 Group session2: Mobile and Sensor Technology Recommendations (4 groups)
13:45 Report back from each group, chaired by Dr Eiman
14:15 Event Closes