On the 8th of August 2006 the BCS Open Source Specialist Group and the BCS Disability Specialist Group welcomed Simon Judge to present the work of the Open Source Assistive Technology Software project (OATSOFT).
Simon discussed the aims of assistive technology in general and demonstrated the state of the art using illustrative videos demonstrating some of the assistive technology devices that he helps to deploy in his work. The OATS project was then introduced and the various facilities offered by the project including the Forge, the academic resources, discussion forums and most importantly the list of Open Source assistive technology systems.
Much of the floor discussion during the presentation revolved around the input problems experienced by users of assistive technology systems. Though innovative systems are available, they are often not widely adopted due to issues such as the initial learning curve, the availablity of support and the cost of any specialist hardware required.
The floor were also interested in the possibilities offered by using commodity hardware such as old mice and commodity computing devices in place of expensive dedicated devices. Coupled with the Open Source assistive technology components offered by OATS, this could provide a new route to better assistive technology.