||Brodersen, Søsser (Innovation and Sustainability, Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, DTU, DK-2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark)
Conrad, Finn (Engineering Design and Product Development, Department of Management Engineering, Technical University of Denmark, DTU, DK-2800 Kgs. Lyngby, Denmark)
||This Bachelor project has for aim, to set clear guidelines for the design and construction of IT
interfaces intended to be used by disabled with limited movement capabilities in their hands. The
analysis is based on empirical data collected from relevant populations, and written material from
journals and articles describing research done in relevant fields of science and medicine.
The initial step towards this project was taken when Bjarke Rasmussen, a private person suffering
from tetraplegia, requested DTU’s Science Shop, lead by Søsser Brodersen, to help developing a
computer interface that meets his needs as a disabled person. The conclusions presented in this
project are the first step in developing, a financially viable product, that answers the needs of a
wider population of people disabled in their hands. Other steps, to come after this project, lie in the
hands of other engineering students to come.
IT interfaces, which the product in question derives from, are linking bricks between humans and
the high tech machines that, ever growingly, take a leading part in our modern life. Computer
interfaces, mainly joysticks and controllers used in relation to gaming consoles are a very popular
and widely known example of these IT interfaces, still disabled with limited functionality in their
hands find these interfaces not suitable for their needs. Surprisingly, most disabled cannot find a
suitable alternative to ordinary IT interfaces in the market of specially designed interfaces, simply
because there are no interfaces that look and operate in a conventional way, which take in account
the special needs of those disabled. That is just what disabled, like Bjarke Rasmussen want: an
ordinary looking interface, that is operated with the hands and fingers but still takes into account
that their movement capabilities in the hands and fingers is limited.
The gaming industry is enormous, with a total global annual revenue of about 40 billion $ and a
very healthy growth rate. IT interfaces are a part of the gaming market and thus account for a
proportionally large market. Analysis of the IT interfaces market, done in this project, shows that
the related market of computer interfaces for disabled has a moderate-good potential. This
recognition has large implications on the development of the interfaces, primarily because it
emphasises the importance of designing products that cover a large part, if not all of the disabled
needs. An analysis of the disabled users needs and limitations is consequently done as to clarify and
reduce them to their lowest common factor. The process of finding the market forces and analysing
the users needs points to a flexible design as a possible solution, and a closer look at existing
products and related technologies leads me to suggest guidelines to the design & construction of IT
interfaces for disabled. Amongst these guidelines, are the following major ones:
• The product must be mass customized.
• Partnership, with a major player in the gaming industry should be sought, from start.
• The hardware design should be flexible in its array.
• “Intelligent” Software should follow with the product as to allow optimal adaptation to the