Blind people's use of AI technology (BlindTech)

The technological and digital development have led to a number of new AI products on the market. These have great potential for people with disabilities, because they rely more on (technological) aids than the general population. Especially the development of computer vision and natural language processing (NLP) are two areas of AI that are very promising for people with visual impairment or blindness. Therefore, BlindTech examines how people with visual impairment or blindness actually use AI in everyday practice such as smartphones with AI-based apps and smart speaker systems such as Google Home Assistant. This research is based on detailed video ethnographic methods closely following and studying blind and visually impaired people (BVIP) in their everyday lives using these technologies. 

There are about 65,000 BVIP in Denmark. Their disability makes it more difficult for them to participate in social activities because they have difficulties coming from A to B and have a harder time engaging in social interaction, partly because they cannot see all the nonverbal communication signals. Based on the empirical studies of technological lead users, the aim is to build a model for how the technologies can best be used. The model will include training materials to be used by vision professionals in their counseling of the BVIP.

Blindtech is the first in the world to investigate BVIP’s use of AI in spatial and social environments by studying their naturally occurring everyday practices for achieving inclusion in society.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Funding

The project is funded with 5.1 mio kr. by the Velux Foundations.

Project number: 27805

Project period: 2020-2023.

PI: Associate professor Brian Due

Partner

The research is conducted in close collaboration with the Institute for the Blind and Partially Sighted (IBOS)

Researchers

Name Title Phone E-mail
Due, Brian Lystgaard Associate professor +45 353-35929 E-mail
Lüchow, Louise PhD Fellow +45 353-35814 E-mail

Other staff

Special consultant Lea Sarfelt will work in the project in for 18 months, primarily with responsibility for development of training material.

ICT consultant Birgit Christensen is employed in the project for 2 months. She has expertise in new technologies.