INFOBOT Grand Challenge
To create an Info-Bot that is capable of understanding and operating any interface or information that is understandable by the 50th percentile human. This means that if 50% of the population dan understand the page - then the Info-Bot would be able to understand the page. Implications to accessibility Such an Info-Bot would be the universal assistive technology back end (the half that interfaces with mainstream info/devices). It could handle any interface that half of the population can handle –except for exceptionally poorly designed interfaces (or very specialized interfaces that most people cannot handle) It could then re-present that interface in any form needed by individuals with a disability – or pass it on to special AT that can. Assistive technology vendors would then focus on providing the best interface to users with different special disabilities instead of spending time trying to keep interfacing with all the different mainstream technologies. Many (most) disabilities (that require fairly standard modifications) would be handled directly by the different Info-Bot output formats. captioning enlarging basic simplification methods screen reading alternative physical controls verbal (types or spoken) query or control Literacy and language barriers would be directly handled if it can understand - it can translate or present it in a form the person can understand Implications to Society Economically, it can greatly reduce (and for some things eliminate) the need for mainstream manufacturers to keep building alternate access into their products – especially for more severe disabilities. The cost to add accessibility may only be a percent or so - and a small price to pay for equal access. But if we can achieve equal access another way - and save 1% of the GNP or product development costs or any such number - will save much more than what it takes to do this if it costs a few hundred miliion to do. or if we can delay the time when older adults need to move into institutional care by even a few months... Industrially, the advances it would require would open up all sorts of new types of products and services and potentials. It can reduce the need to be compatible with many assistive technologies to the ability to be understood by the Info-Bot. And the Info-Bot can steadily improve as well Socially, it can provide a way to close the digital and other divides in a more affordable and potentially effective manner. by combining the capability with other mainstream desirable features (like information capture and storage - or getting additional or related information - or remote control) any stigma from using the device - or network service would be removed.
More info:INFOBOT Grand Challenge page at raisingthefloor.org