£1 million research project launched by the Universities of Dundee and Cambridge

ACE-LP LogoA £1 million research project that aims to change dramatically the way people with no speech and complex disabilities can have a conversation with others has been launched by the Universities of Dundee and Cambridge.

Computer-based systems – called Voice Output Communication Aids (VOCAs) – use word prediction to speed up typing, a feature similar to that commonly found on mobile phones or tablets for texting and emailing.

However, for those with complex disabilities, including for example Professor Stephen Hawking, using typing to communicate can still be extremely slow, as little as 2 words per minute, which makes face-to-face conversation very difficult. Even with an average computer-aided communication rate of about 15 words per minute, conversations do not compare to the 150 words per minute speaking rate of people without a communication impairment.

Participants of the ACE-LP project
The researchers are looking for people with complex disabilities to take part in the project. Please find out more at http://ACE-LP.ac.uk.

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Party in London: Prof Waller OBE

It’s official: We have our very own Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE). Annalu was down south on Friday to meet The Prince of Wales at Buckingham Palace for a wee chat and her well deserved badge of honour! Congratulations again from the whole team here in Dundee.

Prof Annalu Waller OBE at Buckingham Palace with her badge of honour.
Prof Annalu Waller OBE

OBE for Annalu Waller

Professor Annalu Waller, Chair of Human Communication Technologies at the University of Dundee, has been awarded an OBE for her services to people with complex communication needs. Professor Waller has been based in Computing at the University since 1989 and has helped established Dundee’s reputation as one of the world’s leading centres for research into augmentative and alternative communication technologies for people with severe communication difficulties. She works closely with children and adults with disabilities, involving service users in the development of innovative technologies.

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DAAC Research Group at the UK Council of Clinical Communication Conference

Participants in discussion at the workshopStaff and volunteers from the School of Computing and the School of Medicine delivered a successful workshop at the fourth UK Council of Clinical Communication Conference held in Manchester on 11 March 2015.

The workshop showcased the work being done within the communication strand of the Dundee medical curriculum led by Drs Ching-Wa Chung and Jennifer Kennedy (GP clinical tutors) and members of the StraightTalking User Group led by Professor Annalu Waller and Mrs Kathleen Cummins from Computing.

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Workshop: Using iPads with people who have difficulty communicating

Logo Now Hear MeThis free hands on workshop is run by the Tayside Right to Speak Project and SCTCI (Scottish Centre for Technology for the Communication Impaired) who specialise in providing people who have communication impairments with the support they need.

Date: March 4th
Time: 1.30 -4.00pm

Registration now open, limited spaces, please download the flyer for more information on the Workshop.

Voice@Work, a Guide for employers for the inclusion of people without speech

Portrait Jan-Oliver WülfingPortrait Gregor RennerSeminar: Voice@Work with Jan-Oliver Wülfing und Prof Gregor Renner

This seminar will address employment issues faced by people who use AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication).
Jan will present his project Voice@Work which had the aim to develop a guide for employers for the inclusion of people with complex communication needs (CCN) in an ergonomically designed regular workplace.

Download the flyer with more information on the seminar and the speakers (PDF).

The Seminar takes place at the Dundee AAC Group in two weeks time for our weekly seminars:

Wednesday, 11 February 2015, 12pm
Wolfson Theatre
Queen Mother Building (download PDF map, building 26)
School of Computing, Univeristy of Dundee

All welcome!

You can download the guide for employers on inclusion of people with complex communication needs (CCN) in an ergonomically designed regular workplace from Jan’s academia website: Inklusion in den 1. Arbeitsmarkt – es geht! Leitfaden zur gesundheitsgerechten Gestaltung von Arbeit für unterstützt kommunizierende Personen (sorry, only in German).

New collaboration with Mascha Legel

Portrait Mascha LegelSeminar: Self-created Film as Assistive Tool in Storytelling for Children with Complex Communication Needs

A new exciting collaboration with Holland about using film to support storytelling for children with complex communication needs. Mascha Legel, who has started her PhD on the subject, will visit the Dundee AAC Group next week and present her work during our weekly seminars on Thursday, 15 Jan, 12pm. All welcome!

Abstract for download (pdf)

More info on our Facebook page:
https://www.facebook.com/events/394302974059291/