Development of a Face Tracking Switch Access Solution for Clients with Severe and Multiple Disabilities

Author: Leonie Rich-Perrett

Rich-Perrett, Leonie, 2018 Development of a Face Tracking Switch Access Solution for Clients with Severe and Multiple Disabilities, Flinders University, College of Science and Engineering

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The aim of this research project is to design, develop and trial a new computer access switching method consisting of an application which creates an interface between an Intel RealSense SR300 3D camera and switch scanning software such as Sensory Software’s Grid 3. The system will allow for a purposeful facial expression movement (e.g. mouth open) produced by the user to be detected as a switch press. The reason for undertaking this project is to provide a potential alternative for clients with severe and multiple disabilities who have limitations in their abilities to use other access technologies for communication, computer access and/or environmental control. In particular, it was designed to meet the needs of a client who has severe dystonic movement of his head and neck and therefore has been unsuccessful in finding an effective access method. This thesis will continue work from a proof-of-concept application developed during the author’s work-integrated learning (WIL) placement with industry partner Novita Children’s Services (Novita) in 2016. Improvements will be made by addressing issues such as lagging/freezing of the application and accidental switch activations caused by talking, smiling and laughing. The application will also be further developed to be more user friendly and additional expression choices will be added to make the system more inclusive to a wider range of people. Trials will be undertaken by six access technology experts and four Novita clients who represent potential end users. Observations and feedback from the pilot trial will be used to make further adjustments to the system and to make recommendations for future work on the system.

Keywords: assistive technology, access solution, access technology, computer access, disability, rehabilitation, severe, 3D camera, expression, switch

Subject: Engineering thesis

Thesis type: Masters
Completed: 2018
School: College of Science and Engineering
Supervisor: David Hobbs