InterAAC: Low cost interaction and alternative communication system based on ocular and facial tracking.
People with neurodegenerative diseases, spinal cord injury (SCI) or cerebral palsy (CP) generally do not have the minimum effective control of the movements of their upper limbs, trunk or head required to control standard computer peripherals (mouse, keyboard, joystick…) and require alternative communication systems in order to interact with their social environment and ambiance. The existence of such tools is vital, for instance, for the development of children with neurological disorders. Very often, these people can only control eye movement and consequently, Video-Oculography (VOG) is one of the few solutions available. Despite their proven usefulness, these are highly sophisticated systems that present some disadvantages in terms of cost and usability as the calibration process may be too complex for some of the users.
The main objective of InterAAC is to develop a (1) low-cost and (2) multi-platform communication tool adapted to three profiles of motor disability: neurodegenerative diseases (such as multiple sclerosis, lateral amyotrophic sclerosis or Parkinson's), SCI or CP. InterAAC will focus in children during their development and learning period. The system will be executable in Windows, Linux, Android and iOS. As opposed to other VOG systems that are based in IR cameras, the developed system will be based in web cameras and eye and facial detection algorithms. A set of metrics will be measured in order to quantify the quality of the interaction for each user and profile of motor disorder. This work will result in a simple calibration technique based on the statistical analysis of expert databases and a control algorithm adapted for each motor profile will be implemented. The developed system will be validated in an iterative process that will include users from three Reference Centers in Spain: ADEMGI (Basque Country) ASPACE (Cantabria) and Hospital de Parapléjicos de Toledo (Castile-La Mancha).