Natural Language Processing for Accessibiilty

The NIL research group is working on applying natural language processing technologies to improve access to information for people with disabilities of various kinds. This includes text simplification for people with reading difficulties, pictogram to text conversion for user of augmented and adaptative communication systems, and generating of specific verbal instructions for blind people. Over the last years we have worked in several projects and applications such as :

A complete list of functioning applications can be found in the Applications for Accessibility page (in Spanish).

In addition in our research we are working on Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC). Augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) includes all forms of communication (other than oral speech) that are used to express thoughts, needs, wants, and ideas. We all use AAC when we make facial expressions or gestures, use symbols or pictures, or write.

People with severe speech or language problems rely on AAC to supplement existing speech or replace speech that is not functional. Special augmentative aids, such as picture and symbol communication boards and electronic devices, are available to help people express themselves. This may increase social interaction, school performance, and feelings of self-worth.

AAC users should not stop using speech if they are able to do so. The AAC aids and devices are used to enhance their communication.

In this research area the the following applications have been developed :

  • Traductor de Texto a Pictogramas
  • Editor predictivo de mensajes en pictogramas
  • Chat usando pictogramas

The following funded projects have been related to this line of research:

Members of the NIL research group engaged in this line of research include:

Susana Bautista has finished her PhD Thesis tittled "A Computational Model for Automatic Simplification of Numerical Expressions". During the process she did a colaboration with Universitat Pompeu Fabra in an experiment with dyslexic people. Information here