The VERITAS project aims to develop, validate and assess tools for built-in accessibility support at all stages of ICT and non-ICT product development, including specification, design, development and testing.
The goal is to introduce simulationbased and virtual reality testing at all stages of assistive technologies product design and development into the automotive, smart living spaces (buildings & construction, domotics), workplace, ehealth and infotainment applications areas. The goal is to ensure that future products and services are being systematically designed for all people including those with disabilities and functional limitations as well as older people.
- Furthermore, VERITAS plans to promote its results to the appropriate standards organisations for consideration and potential adoption and also to make them available through an open framework.
- VERITAS being a very technical project, AGE’s role is to bring the point of view of users to the attention of industries and research centers involved in it, thus orienting their activities to include the real needs of users and strengthening a dialogue between the different stakeholders: the User Fora AGE is in charge of serving directly this purpose.
Please register to the VERITAS User Forum database for getting involved and take action in the project!
The VERITAS project terminates
After four years of extensive and intensive research the VERITAS project terminates. The consortium designed innovative tools for product development in many industrial areas from construction to computer games.
Researching tools for inclusive product development, VERITAS addressed five different product domains including automotive, smart living, offices, infotainment/games, and personal health care. The technical core of the VERITAS outcome is an Open Simulation Platform. This platform allows for studying the interaction of a virtual impaired user with virtual product models and to verify their accessibility early in the development process.
VERITAS user models are based on literature data but also on VERITAS’ own tests. The models take into account motor, perceptual and cognitive impairments. Even multiple conditions can be simulated. VERITAS user models were harmonized with those of other inclusion projects of the 7th Framework Programme, the VUMS project cluster. The result of the cluster work was a standardization proposal which was provided to standardization bodies and groups form implementations in standards on user models.
Besides numerical simulation with graphical representation of the results VERITAS supports virtual product experience by using virtual reality technology including haptic devices. Designers can thus experience their designs through the eyes of a user with cataracts or feel the problems of operating a gas hob with the tremor of a Parkinson patient.
VERITAS did not only propose and implement such tools. They were tested with designers from the various product domains. And they were also verified by comparing the simulation results with the experience of impaired users. This approach led to confirmed knowledge and confidence in VERITAS results.
But the project did not stop at that point. Thorough cost-benefit analyses were carried out and exploitation plans were elaborated. VERITAS has identified 15 assets for exploitations originating from the projects’ work. Among them are methods, i.e. for assessing the comfort of powered two-wheeler riders and systems like the multi-sensorial measurement platform for impairment data acquisition. Most of them are however software systems around accessibility engineering by user simulation and design experience.
Two examples illustrate how the consortium will proceed. User models for accessibility evaluation by VERITAS were integrated in the 3D CAD manikin RAMSIS. This simulation software by VERITAS partner Human Solutions is widely applied in ergonomic engineering in the automotive industry around the globe. The application showcases how VERITAS contributes to the evolution of existing design and engineering tools.
The second example stems from the construction industry. In their so-called “Bauherrenkino” VERITAS partner Bauunion 1905 uses virtual technology to facilitate the interior planning process of family homes involving their clients in the customization process. With VERITAS Bauunion 1905 succeeds in offering an added value for their customers. In a first step towards the clients Bauherrenkino+ they are now able to experience their future family home interiors with the eyes of an aging person. This service is highly appreciated because prospective decisions related to ageing and accessibility have become essential for Bauunion clients in recent years.
These are good achievements. There is, however, still a way to go to implement an inclusive design culture in European industry. Further projects and endeavours are needed to convince stakeholders and to implement the tools in industrial processes. The consortium will carry on to exploit VERITAS results in future research activities but also in industrial application and implementation.
Final VERITAS forum
The 3rd VERITAS Beneficiaries’ Forum “Accessibility design at the service of age-friendly environments” took place on 16 May 2013 in Brussels, Belgium. The meeting targeted older people and people with disabilities, the beneficiaries of the VERITAS-designed tools and applications, and gathered about 30 participants to discuss the project approach to Design-for-All from the end-users’ perspectives. Hosted as a workshop within AGE Platform Europe’s General Assembly and annual Conference “Towards an age-friendly EU by 2020”, the event focused in particular on senior citizens, with AGE members ensuring the representation of older people in the meeting.
The agenda of the Forum was intentionally designed to target beneficiaries and to allow time for explanations and interaction. The forum allowed the VERITAS Consortium to cross-check its methodology and its findings through exchange on real life experiences by end users.
First, the project coordinator, Manfred Dangelmaier, introduced VERITAS highlighting its contributions to age-friendly environment and accessibility engineering and explaining how the user models have been built in order to fit into the VERITAS simulation platform. Next, Thanos Tsakiris from CERTH-ITI showed a number of demos informing the audience on how the VERITAS tools work in practice. The issue of user involvement has been taken on board in the project and the implication of real users in VERITAS has been consequently presented by Simon Edwards, presenting the first preliminary results of the pilot sites.
Then Rood Bond from the Netwell Center in Dublin explained the links between design, accessibility and age-friendly environments and how it is possible to improve the trial and error process in this context, moving from designing principles to the changing processes. He also stressed the lack of end-user involvement. The last presentation by Cesar Mediavilla Martinez from ATOS approached the business case for VERITAS, calling for a holistic approach able to integrate the economic and market dimension in the age-friendly debate. Moreover, during the discussion issues of standardization, affordability, usability and aesthetics came into the discussion, all of which will feed into the project’s final phases and will be communicated to the European Commission as concrete conclusions and recommendations.
Save the Date for the Final VERITAS User Forum!
The VERITAS project which develops simulation-based and virtual reality tools to test the accessibility of assistive technologies and product design in order to ensure that future products and services are being systematically designed for all, will hold its Final User Forum in Brussels on the 16th May 2013 in parallel with AGE Platform Europe’s annual Conference on “Towards an age-friendly EU by 2020”. The event “Accessibility design at the service of age-friendly environments – The VERITAS approach to Design-for-all”, will focus on how the VERITAS tools can levy obstacles to independent living of older people and people with disabilities and be at the service of age-friendly environments. It will share the project outcomes, evaluate the usability and impact of the VERITAS technology, discuss exploitation plans and business opportunities, as well as make the necessary links with relevant EU policies and initiatives. The VERITAS vision of design-for-all and accessibility engineering will also be presented.
The agenda is available here.
Registration is open through the following link:
For more information you may contact Nena Georgantzi.
Upcoming VUMS workshop
A VUMS workshop will take place in the frame of the 13th International Conference on Computers Helping People with Special Needs (ICCHP 2012), organised on July 11-13, 2012 (Pre-Conference July 09-10, 2012) at the University of Linz, Austria.
This workshop will present prototypes and discusses concepts of generic interoperable user models that describe the relevant characteristics of users, who will interact with products and user interfaces. These include physical cognitive, and sensory attributes, habits, preferences and accessibility capabilities. With such a model designers can define as many user interaction profiles as needed to address the whole range of requirements from a target population. It will also help designers and developers to maximize the level of accessibility of products and services by providing a comprehensive set of Human Factors design guidelines, which could be used in virtual spaces to visualize accessibility and usability issues.
For more information see the VERITAS website.
2nd VERITAS User Forum, Nottingham, UK, 20th September 2011
The 2nd VERITAS User Forum was successfully organised on 20th September 2011 in Nottingham, UK, in the afternoon. The User forum entitled “Virtual and Augmented Environments and Realistic User Interactions To achieve Embedded Accessibility DesignS” brought together developers, designers and beneficiaries from around Europe. The presentations made during the event as well as interviews with some of the participants can be found on the VERITAS website.
29-30 November, Prague, Czech Republic
The VERITAS events which took place at the Technical University of Prague in the end of November gathered experts, researchers, designers and developers interested in inclusive and accessible design of ICT and non-ICT products.
The participants discussed the use cases and scenarios of VERITAS and were introduced to the methodology of the project.
AGE was in charge of the organisation of the User Forum. The agenda of this event can be found here.
The Workshop’s presentations are available in the VERITAS website.
The VERITAS newsletter is available in accessible format on the VERITAS website. To read the latest issue click on the links below
- Press Release: VERITAS project, the Consortium and the Kick-off meeting
- VERITAS introductory video
Project number: 247765
Project acronym: VERITAS
Project full title: Virtual and Augmented Environments and Realistic User Interactions To achieve Embedded Accessibility DesignS
Starting date: 1 January 2010
Duration: 48 Months
VERITAS is an Integrated Project (IP) within the 7th Framework Programme, Theme FP7-ICT-2009.7.2, Accessible and Assistive ICT