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Welcome to the SUITCEYES website.

The SUITCEYES project has concluded but related work, and members’ voluntary collaborations, will continue on.

 

A deafblind man communicating with a deaf man by tactile Sign Language
Haptic conversation through Tactile Sign Language – Courtesy of LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired, see  http://lighthouse-sf.org

SUITCEYES was an EU-funded, HORIZON 2020 project with the aim to develop haptic communication technologies for people with deafblindness. The project started on January 1, 2018 and concluded on June, 30 2021. 

Although the project has officially reached its conclusion, this website will be kept active for the foreseeable future to enable further networking and continuation of the work that started in the project.

The members of the project welcome continued collaborations where possible and engagement in new activities when possibilities present themselves.

The project Idea–The main idea of the project stemmed from the lack of equal opportunities for all. According to a report by the World Federation of the Deafblind (WFDB) between 0.2% to 2% of the world population live with deafblindness, deafblindness becomes more common as people age and deafblindness is higher in women than men in most countries. International directives such as United Nations’ Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UN-UDHR), Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) or the Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union (CoFR-EU) are put in place to ensure equal rights and opportunities for all people. However, there remain many barriers for equal opportunities for people with deafblindness. In SUITCEYES, disability was viewed as a social construct that emerges due to social barriers and societal structures. By technologies specifically developed based on real needs of people with deafblindness SUITCEYES was therefore a step towards promoting a shift in attitudes, design of technologies, and communication modalities to overcome existing related physical, attitudinal, and social barriers.

About–You can read more about the project on the different pages of this website. Below you will find the mission of the project as defined in the project proposal. More detail can be found on the page About the project. As you see there are different tabs above, each of which lead to further information about e.g., the project work packages, project boards, project partners, the events that were organized or attended, project’s scholarly publications, and public deliverables that provide in-depth information about most  aspects  of  the  project,  as well asthe  open-source  material  produced  in  the  project. Please feel free to explore.

The mission as initially set:   The SUITCEYES project aims to create improved and interactive communication possibilities for people with deafblindness. To achieve this the project will develop a smart, haptic interface prototype that will:

  • Extend the environmental perception and the spatial orientation of the user,
  • Enlarge the communication space and facilitate exchange of semantic content,
  • Enhance learning and the user ́s engagement by integrating gamification and mediated social interaction.

The needs and wishes of the users are evaluated in a user-centered and regularly re-iterated process, to ensure that the development of the interface prototype is always adapted to the users’ expectations. Smart textiles will be used as a basis for the interface. The technological development of the interface involves machine learning, sensor technologies, image and signal processing, psychophysics and affective computing.

Achievements–Through its life-time the project achieved a number of positive outcomes on different fronts. A quick summary is listed below andthe different pages of this website provide further information on all these achievements.

  • User studies–An extensive user study involving 81 interviews with 79 participants was conducted in five European countries (UK, SE, DE, NL, GR). The participants consisted mainly of people with acquired deafblindness but family members and professionals working with issues of deafblindness were also included. Through these current practices, aspirations and unmet needs in social engagement, mobility and barriers and enablers to technology-use were identified and mapped. These findings were used to inform (and set the priorities of) technological developments within the project.
  • Technological Developments–The project had set out to develop a haptic intelligent, personalised, interface (HIPI). This was achieved by:

    – utilising sensor technologies and computer vision algorithms to capture environmental cues,
    – creation of haptograms as meaning-bearing haptic patterns to transfer semantic contents,
    – development of SUITCEYES semantic knowledge representation and reasoning (including the SUITCEYES Ontology and Knowledge Base Service),
    – design and production of textile-based haptic interfaces,
    – gamified solutions for learning and recreation,
    – and psychophysical experiments to examine and verify usability of the proposed solutions.

Accordingly, the project produced a large set of prototypes and proofs of concepts, a summary of which is provided here *. It should be noted that based on these achievements, the project innovations were among thetop 24 among all the EU funded projects competing for the 2021 Innovation Radar Prize.

  • Policy studies–As part of the project an extensive policy study that involved a comparative analysis of legal and policy frameworks was conducted across five European countries (UK, SE, DE, NL, GR). As part of this, legal facilitators and barriers to accessibility of the technology and measures to facilitate uptake were identified, as will. The findings were presented in the project’s final public event and shared with a number of politicians and policy makers who were invited to participate in a panel to discuss these findings.
  • Networking–During the project, a large and vibrant network of contactswas established. These included, firstly a large group with diverse interests and areas of expertise,very active as the project’s advisory board, and then many others who somehow related to and are interested the issues of deafblindness and related research. The project has received valuable input and support from all these contacts.
  • Events–As well as participating in,or co-organising external events (such as various conferences and scholarly workshops), three main events were organised purely by the project. These three symposia were:

From Touch to Cognition–a half a day symposium held on January 17th, 2018, in conjunction with the project kick-off event. The symposium was attended by around 50 people. For more information see here.

Haptic Communication–Breaking the Barriers –A full day event held half way through the project on August 22nd, 2019. The event was attended by around 90 people. For more information see here.

Living Through Touch: Smart, Haptic Communication for Inclusion, Accessibility, and Participation–this was a three-day event held towards the end of the project on May 17-19, 2021 as a final public event in the project. More than 400 people from 39 countries were registered for this symposium and each session was attended by around 80-130 people. The jammed packed program included presentation of the final results of the project as well as engagements with many interest groups including other researchers in the related fields, organisations developing assistive technologies, communities and organisations related to deafblindness, policy and decision makers and more. For more information see here, where you will also find links to the presentations and discussions that took place at this event.

  • Publications–A large number of scholarly publications were produced during the project, a current list can be found here, but there are other publications at various stages of readiness or in peer-review process. Therefore, the interested parties are invited to revisit this page from time to time.

Continued contact–Although the project has concluded, you can still seek to reach or communicate with the members; this can be done by filling in the fields provided under the tab for Contact

Thank you all for all the support that we have received–We take this opportunity to thank all the many people who have supported the project throughout including the project collaborators, participants and speakers at the different SUITCEYES events, the Project’s Advisory Board members, the different EU-appointed Project Officers, and the Project Reviewers who have all provided the project with valuable feedback. We especially like to thank all the anonymous study participants who have generously shared their experiences and insights with us, without whom this project would not have been possible.

* Due to ongoing constructions this site is temporarily inavailable