SUITCEYES aims to reach a variety of different audiences, each with different needs and aspirations.
People with Deafblindness
The project’s main goal is to support individuals with deafblindness in dealing with everyday challenges. To this end, the project has carried out a vast number of interviews of people with deafblindness in five (5) EU countries and has also held participatory co-design sessions with potential end users. A number of user needs have thus been studied and prioritized. Specifically, the project aims to build a smart garment (HIPI) which will be able to detect objects and faces in the surrounding environment, inform users accordingly and also assist with near-field orientation. The HIPI interacts with users via haptic feedback (e.g. vibrations) on the back of the body, or other body parts. A semantically rich social haptic communication language will be used to convey information to a single, or many users.
Interest Group Community
In addition to supporting people with deafblindness, the project aspires to also support their families, friends and professionals in the field (e.g., educators, caregivers or interpreters) in their daily lives and the challenges they regularly face. More specifically, this means creating improved, interactive ways of communication and providing the opportunity to actively engage in social interactions. SUITCEYES is developing a Haptic Intelligent Personalized Interface (HIPI). Its design is heavily informed by the opinions of the interest-group community, as well as the special expertise of all project partners.
SUITCEYES does not, and could not, aim to substitute the valuable support offered to people with deafblindness by individuals closest to them: their families, interpreters, caretakers, educators, and others. This was clear already from the start of the project, and was further emphasised, in the context of the interviews that took place where participants highlighted the importance of the bond with people in their support groups. SUITCEYES aspires at being a first step toward using textiles to provide an alternative mode of communication from distance. This enables support groups to provide useful information or re-assurances even when close hand to hand touch is not present or possible. SUITCEYES also provides the opportunity for one-to-many communication, which would be useful in terms of classroom or educational settings or when there is a need to provide the same information to multiple recipients, for example at meetings.
SUITCEYES’ novelty lies in integrating in-house electronics, visual analysis algorithms, semantics and social haptic communication into a textile housing medium. By using a number of sequential prototypes and carrying out user studies, we aim to learn more about the potential of using textiles as a medium for technology in the general area of accessibility. SUITCEYES disseminates results through publications in peer-reviewed journals and conferences [link]. By actively engaging in these activities, the project aspires to help further advance scientific fields relevant for the project, such as smart textiles, psychophysics, engineering, Information science, computer-human interaction (HCI), disability studies among others. To further increase the visibility of the project, academic partners are also using platformsspecifically tailored to the scientific community, for example ResearchGate [link] and GitHub.
Progress in SUITCEYES touches upon a number of industries: textiles, electronics, human-computer interaction and assistive technologies. Specifically, all these sectors are brought together to support and meet the demands of individuals with deafblindness in their daily lives. Our consortium includes industrial partners with years of market experience, assisting the project mostly through market insights and dissemination. Through these partnerships our consortium envisages the continued advancement of SUITCEYES beyond the lifespan of the project. In line with our aspiration to keep advancing the project forward after 2020, our consortium is always interested in engaging with communities of developers that are active in relevant areas.