Carnegie Mellon University
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Head: M Bernardine Dias
Contact: Ermine A. Teves
Associated center(s) / consortia:
 Field Robotics Center (FRC)
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This page last updated - August 2014.
Current Projects [Past Projects]
Assistive Robots for Blind Travelers
As robotics technology evolves to a stage where co-robots, or robots that can work with humans, become a reality, we need to ensure that these co-robots are equally capable of interacting with humans with disabilities. This project addresses this challenge by exploring meaningful human-robot interaction (HRI) in the context of assistive robots for blind travelers.
Braille Tutor
Literacy has been shown to be a key factor in global development. For many visually impaired communities around the world, learning braille is the only means of literacy. Despite its significance and the accessibility it brings, learning to write braille still has a number of barriers. According to the World Health Organization, approximately 90% of visually impaired people worldwide live in developing communities. Despite the importance of literacy to employment, social well-being, and health, the literacy rate of this population is estimated to be very low. There are many different factors that contribute to illiteracy among people with vision impairments such as: difficulties using the traditional tool for writing braille (the slate and stylus) and the high cost of alternative braille writing tools.
Safe and independent navigation of urban environments is a key feature of accessible cities. People who have physical challenges need practical, customizable, low-cost and easily-deployable mobility aids to help them safely navigate urban environments. Technology tools provide opportunities to empower people with disabilities to overcome some day-to-day challenges.
TechCaFE provides educators with simple and customizable tools to make learning fun for students. Through TechCaFE we are creating a suite of culturally and socially relevant computer and mobile phone based tools for enhancing English literacy skills among children and adults. This includes CaFE Teach, a web-accessible tool that teachers use to create and modify customized content for their students. Students can access and learn from the content added by teachers via CaFE Web, a web-based practice tool, or CaFE Phone, a mobile phone game. Current work on this project involves developing CaFE Play, which would serve as a platform for developers to create applications that incorporate teacher content within the context of games designed with the specific user population in mind.
iSTEP (innovative Student Technology ExPerience) is a unique internship program that provides Carnegie Mellon University students with the opportunity to conduct technology research projects in developing communities. Started in 2009 by the TechBridgeWorld research group, iSTEP is a rigorous and competitive 10-week internship program that requires the involvement of students with high levels of dedication, team work, cross-cultural adaptability, initiative and academic achievement.