The human beeing capability to communicate and interact with the environment that surrounds them represents one of the most basic needs of their existence. By losing the capability used to express their wishes and evolution for building their structure of personal identity or the possibility of expression makes the existence of a person a torture due to the imprisonment of the mind in a body that becomes a truth arrest in a prison. Nevertheless, the computers versatility and capacity as communication channels makes them a powerful working tool that brought enormous new oportunities to handicapped people. In order to ensure that these oportunities become effective products it is very important to developed them along with the participation of Governments, Hospitals and of Handicapped Associations and also the handicapped themselves, so these products can fully fit their real needs. With this main idea, the Amazon Living Lab of the Des. Paulo Feitoza Foundation (FPF) makes research and development of products for a broad variance of people who have special needs, in what they have a central role of contribution with its co-creation, what helps to improve not only the quality of these products but they also brings benefits to their lives improving their capabilities and their quality of life.
The main mission of the Amazon Living Lab - ALL is to develop products that give accessibility to handicapped people of all different types using special means of research based in electronics, digital signal and image processing, video compression, information technology and communication with the participation of the future users and the rehabilitation institutions involved in all phases of the product development, since its concept idea to its finalization. Beyond this, as the impairments (talk, hear, vision and physics) which are related to the products developed by this Living Lab are not restricted to a region or country specific, they can be available for handicapped people in Brazil as also in the European Community.
With 10 years of services provided to the Brazilian community, the Des.Paulo Feitoza Foundation has a laboratory using the Living Lab concept that already made several developments. The first one, named Ocular Mouse, is an computer user interface system to be used by people who have no movements in the superior members, allowing computer facilities be acessed through eyes movements which command the mouse cursor in the screen, and eyes blinks that triggers mouse clicks. In order to identify these ocular movements, electric contacts are plugged in the face and very advanced processing techniques of bioelectric signs are integrated in a small fixture plugged to the computer through a USB port.
As a derivative system from the Ocular Mouse the Tracking of Objects for Cursor Control (ROCC) was developed. The ROCC is a software that, based in images captured by a simple webcam, perform the commands of a conventional mouse. The cursor is controlled and oriented by head movements and the clicks are done with a blink of the eyes or by a soft opening of the mouth. Other relevant project is “Voice for Speechless People”, a embedded hardware product to help Speechless people to comunicate using sign language translation to voice.