IBM, the National Institute of Design of India, and the University of Tokyo have announced a collaborative research initiative to explore an open, common UI platform for mobile devices, to make them easier to use for disadvantaged populations around the world.
Software developed by IBM Research and the universities will be made available as open source, and other materials developed will be made publicly available, in order to allow governments and businesses around the world to take advantage of the technology. As the world's infrastructure becomes increasingly digital and governments around the world provide information and services via Web sites, it's critical that the Internet be accessible to all people, including those who are illiterate, blind, deaf, or elderly. The aim of the collaborative research is to help make this possible.
The research partnership is part of the IBM's Open Collaborative Research program, an initiative to foster innovation through university/industry research collaboration.
"By bringing IBM's deep knowledge in mobile web and NID's interface design and ethnological expertise, this initiative is aimed to develop inclusive technologies and help the underprivileged improve their lives," said Jignesh Khakhar of the National Institute of Design of India.
IBM researchers in Tokyo and the human information engineering research team, led by Professor Tohru Ifukube will focus on Japan's elderly population, where the aging rate is growing at a rapid pace, making Japan the world's most elderly population.