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Ugo Vallauri


Publications by Ugo Vallauri (bibliography)

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Pal, Joyojeet, Vallauri, Ugo and Tsaran, Victor (2011): Low-cost assistive technology in the developing world: a research agenda for information schools. In: Proceedings of the 2011 iConference 2011. pp. 459-465. http://dx.doi.org/10.1145/1940761.1940824

The opening of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) has brought mainstream attention to and expanded the scope of disability rights in many countries throughout the world. In addition to the rights that are guaranteed for citizens in signatory nations by the UNCRPD, the convention also requires nation-states to further the access to Assistive Technology (AT) among their populations. For this promise to turn into reality, there is an urgent need for expanded research into AT and Accessibility issues, to lower the cost of these technologies throughout the world. The prevalent market scenario for AT products, specifically in regard to vision impairments, which we look into here, has ensured that most computing and communications technologies for persons with disabilities remain affordable only for people in the industrialized world. We argue that information schools are uniquely positioned to take the lead in furthering a culture of research into low-cost AT and accessibility. Information schools have a fundamentally inter-disciplinary mandate and are uniquely positioned to both inform the technical issues around the development of new AT, the design and HCI factors inherent, and also the sociological issues around technology adoption. While such AT research should ideally come from the developing world, there are significant challenges in capacity-building, especially given that a majority of current AT research centers are located in North America, Western Europe, Japan, or South Korea. We argue that the need for collaborations with AT producers and on-site primary research with AT users can be best fulfilled by institutions with proximity to producers, and the ability to create networks for research with users around the world. Information schools are uniquely positioned to play the leading role now, and create pathways for capacity building in institutions around the world in the future.

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