Dissemination

 

Newsletter 4

Project Overview

VUK is a European Active and Assisted Living Programme project made up of a consortium of 9 partners located in Hungary, Austria, Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom. The project focuses on elderly blind and visually impaired individuals and their caregivers, with a basic (or above) ability to use technology, a population currently lacking a suitable navigational aid for everyday urban mobility.  Visionless sUpporting frameworK (VUK) is a new urban mobility solution enabling visually impaired individuals to be more independent and active, while decreasing caregivers' workloads and increasing comfort on both sides. It also aims to assist people in establishing relationships with others facing a similar situation and offers users the opportunity to be support their surrounding community. 

Project Objective 

The project goal is to support blind and visually impaired individuals in the challenging task of urban mobility through providing a simple, effective and affordable indoor navigation and mobility assistance solution. This system will guide the user on journeys through unfamiliar indoor environments such as subway systems and through complex buildings like shopping malls and business centers. The envisioned service would also be suitable for companies and public organizations in which blind and visually impaired individuals work or visit, assisting to integrate said individuals in an open community. 

Project Progress 

The VUK project is now at the end of its first year. Below you can find an overview of the partners’ progress.

TSB

Transdanubia’s tasks during the first quarter of 2017 included the co-ordination and compilation of the 2016 Dissemination Report, as well as providing accessibility requirements for the VUK app including, but not limited to, design, layout and contrast requirements. TSB’s team reviewed the first versions of Deliverable 3.7 Testing of Core Technologies and gave input to help insure the accessibility of the design. The examination of a test app was also carried out, parallel to that done by Infoalap, in order to ensure the viability of the design platform being used. Testing of the Android speech input and speech output is additionally being undergone TSB and Infoalap.

INFOALAP


With the leadership of the IT Foundation for the visually Impaired  a detailed user requirement analyses has been carried out in Austria and Hungary, the foundation also performed a gap analyses and a use cases report, that have been finalized in 2016.
In the first months of 2017 Infoalap was heavily involved in the finalization of Ethical and privacy report and contributed to the Technical specification document as well. The experts of the foundation have elaborated the Evaluation methodology report and also took part in the preparation of the Agiled evaluation report.

INOVA+

INOVA+ has concluded the first version of the Technical Specification deliverable. Changes were discussed after due date and an agreement of technical partners was achieved during London Meeting. The changes applied were targeting critical specifications (architecture, modules and functionalities) and the consortium decided that those must be included in the final version of the Technical Specification document. With the continuous progress of each partner on the development of the VUK application, technical specifications have become clearer.
INOVA+ also started to work on the development of the Privacy and Data Security module on VUK, consisting of a demonstration on how the auditing, authorization and authentication integrated in the VUK system by assuring technical aspects from the VUK’s Technical Specification, following the Ethics and Legal Constraints and put in practice the Privacy and Data Security processes defined in VUK Framework. The tests of communication are currently ongoing, and at the same time the functions related with authentication of the users on an initial platform are being finalised.

ESL

In November 2016 Erlang Solutions (ESL) hosted the VUK consortium face-to-face meeting in London which was a great opportunity to brainstorm and further refine our group thinking.  We reviewed end user use cases and functionalities in the scope of the project that enabled the technical partners to effectively conceive practical solutions and sketch an action plan.
Having reviewed the state of the art technologies ESL began developing a backend solution to demo with our technology partners. Based on this work it was agreed in January 2017 how the technology would be accessed by the various consortium partners in delivering final end user experiences. This included elements such as security, content access and editing as well as managing search requests across the VUK infrastructure.  This work is far from complete and is expected to take the remainder of 2017 to fully test and refine.

HI-Iberia

As a technical partner, HI-Iberia has started the development of the Social-based Assistance/Guidance Service by carrying out a first integration with the infostructure database, and by designing a first mock-up of the VUK Web User Interface. Furthermore, HI-Iberia has a relevant role in the business part and, thereby, it has continued identifying possibilities of exploitation for the project outputs and defining the best method to launch the VUK project to the market, what is giving as a result the exploitation plan and the first iteration of the business model plan.

BZN

During the last few months VUK consortium was working actively on some important end-user and development related tasks. First the evaluation methodology was carried out, while the main ethics and privacy issues related to our target groups were gathered. Informed consent form was also finalized, which will be used during the agile evaluation and field trials. In the first agile evaluation report we gathered the results of the first tests, which were involved end-user partners or the project: evaluation of the website and the mock-up design. Partners, with high involvement of end-users again, with the leadership of BME were also designing the user interface of the VUK mobile and web platform with a main focus on visually impaired or blind people needs regarding design.
Development has also continued: based on the ethics and privacy issues document INOVA+ created a document, which ensures the privacy and security issues from the development side of the project as well. The VUK Framework and general development such as development of the infostructure, localization, navigation, social-based module and TTS, STT solution continued. The first version of the module will be presented in the 1st midterm review, which will take place in Brussels on the 21st of June in the AAL CMU premises. Before the review the consortium will be having its 3rd physical meeting.

 

VUK has also been shown in several events like in the CeBIT in Hannover and in a conference in China.

   Conference in China

Laszlo Arvai presenting the VUK Project at the China-Hungary Green Innovation Technology Matchmaking Forum

Beside reading this Newsletter we encourage everyone to visit our website or follow us our VUK Facebook to see the latest news about VUK.

 

 

Newsletter 3

Project Overview 

VUK is a European Active and Assisted Living Programme project made up of a consortium of 9 partners located in Hungary, Austria, Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom. The project focuses on elderly blind and visually impaired individuals and their caregivers, with a basic (or above) ability to use technology, a population currently lacking a suitable navigational aid for everyday urban mobility.  Visionless sUpporting frameworK (VUK) is a new urban mobility solution enabling visually impaired individuals to be more independent and active, while decreasing caregivers' workloads and increasing comfort on both sides. It also aims to assist people in establishing relationships with others facing a similar situation and offers users the opportunity to be support their surrounding community.  

 

Project Objective  

The project goal is to support blind and visually impaired individuals in the challenging task of urban mobility through providing a simple, effective and affordable indoor navigation and mobility assistance solution. This system will guide the user on journeys through unfamiliar indoor environments such as subway systems and through complex buildings like shopping malls and business centers. The envisioned service would also be suitable for companies and public organizations in which blind and visually impaired individuals work or visit, assisting to integrate said individuals in an open community.  

 

Project Progress  

The VUK project is now at the end of its first year. Below you can find an overview of the partners’ Progress.

TSB

Transdanubia’s tasks during the first quarter of 2017 included the co-ordination and compilation of the 2016 Dissemination Report, as well as providing accessibility requirements for the VUK app including, but not limited to, design, layout and contrast requirements. TSB’s team reviewed the first versions of Deliverable 3.7 Testing of Core Technologies and gave input to help insure the accessibility of the design. The examination of a test app was also carried out, parallel to that done by Infoalap, in order to ensure the viability of the design platform being used. Testing of the Android speech input and speech output is additionally being undergone TSB and Infoalap.

INFOALAP

With the leadership of the IT Foundation for the visually Impaired a detailed user requirement analyses has been carried out in Austria and Hungary, the foundation also performed a gap analyses and a use cases report, that have been finalized in 2016.

In the first months of 2017 Infoalap was heavily involved in the finalization of Ethical and privacy report and contributed to the Technical specification document as well. The experts of the foundation have elaborated the Evaluation methodology report and also took part in the preparation of the Agiled evaluation Report.

INOVA+

INOVA+ has concluded the first version of the Technical Specification deliverable. Changes were discussed after due date and an agreement of technical partners was achieved during London Meeting. The changes applied were targeting critical specifications (architecture, modules and functionalities) and the consortium decided that those must be included in the final version of the Technical Specification document. With the continuous progress of each partner on the development of the VUK application, technical specifications have become clearer.

INOVA+ also started to work on the development of the Privacy and Data Security module on VUK, consisting of a demonstration on how the auditing, authorization and authentication integrated in the VUK system by assuring technical aspects from the VUK’s Technical Specification, following the Ethics and Legal Constraints and put in practice the Privacy and Data Security processes defined in VUK Framework. The tests of communication are currently ongoing, and at the same time the functions related with authentication of the users on an initial platform are being finalised.

ESL

In November 2016 Erlang Solutions (ESL) hosted the VUK consortium face-to-face meeting in London which was a great opportunity to brainstorm and further refine our group thinking.  We reviewed end user use cases and functionalities in the scope of the project that enabled the technical partners to effectively conceive practical solutions and sketch an action plan.

Having reviewed the state of the art technologies ESL began developing a backend solution to demo with our technology partners. Based on this work it was agreed in January 2017 how the technology would be accessed by the various consortium partners in delivering final end user experiences. This included elements such as security, content access and editing as well as managing search requests across the VUK infrastructure.  This work is far from complete and is expected to take the remainder of 2017 to fully test and refine.

HI-Iberia

 

As a technical partner, HI-Iberia has started the development of the Social-based Assistance/Guidance Service by carrying out a first integration with the infostructure database, and by designing a first mock-up of the VUK Web User Interface. Furthermore, HI-Iberia has a relevant role in the business part and, thereby, it has continued identifying possibilities of exploitation for the project outputs and defining the best method to launch the VUK project to the market, what is giving as a result the exploitation plan and the first iteration of the business model plan.

BZN

During the last few months VUK consortium was working actively on some important end-user and development related tasks. First the evaluation methodology was carried out, while the main ethics and privacy issues related to our target groups were gathered. Informed consent form was also finalized, which will be used during the agile evaluation and field trials. In the first agile evaluation report we gathered the results of the first tests, which were involved end-user partners or the project: evaluation of the website and the mock-up design. Partners, with high involvement of end-users again, with the leadership of BME were also designing the user interface of the VUK mobile and web platform with a main focus on visually impaired or blind people needs regarding design.

Development has also continued: based on the ethics and privacy issues document INOVA+ created a document, which ensures the privacy and security issues from the development side of the project as well. The VUK Framework and general development such as development of the infostructure, localization, navigation, social-based module and TTS, STT solution continued. The first version of the module will be presented in the 1st midterm review, which will take place in Brussels on the 21st of June in the AAL CMU premises. Before the review the consortium will be having its 3rd physical meeting.

VUK has also been shown in several events like in the CeBIT in Hannover and in a conference in China.

Further information 

In order to be informed regarding the VUK community and its activities, please visit our site (http://www.vuk-project.com) or join us on Facebook (VUK - Visionless Supporting Framework). 

 

Newsletter 2

Project Overview

 VUK is a European Active and Assisted Living Programme project made up of a consortium of 9 partners located in Hungary, Austria, Spain, Portugal and the United Kingdom. The project focuses on elderly blind and visually impaired individuals and their caregivers, with a basic (or above) ability to use technology, a population currently lacking a suitable navigational aid for everyday urban mobility.¿ Visionless sUpporting frameworK (VUK) is a new urban mobility solution¿enabling visually impaired individuals to be more independent and active, while decreasing caregivers' workloads and increasing comfort on both sides. It also aims to assist people in establishing relationships with others facing a similar situation and offers users the opportunity to be support their surrounding community.

Project Objective

The project goal is to support blind and visually impaired individuals in the challenging task of urban mobility through providing a simple, effective and affordable indoor navigation and mobility assistance solution. This system will guide the user on journeys through unfamiliar indoor environments such as subway systems and through complex buildings like shopping malls and business centers. The envisioned service would also be suitable for companies and public organizations in which blind and visually impaired individuals work or visit, assisting to integrate said individuals in an open community.

Project Progress

The VUK project is now in its sixth month – below you can find an overview of the partners’ progress.

End User Organizations and Results of the User Requirement Analysis

The first task completed by INFOALAP, the Hilfsgemeinschaft and TSB Transdanubia was to assess real user requirements from end-users in two countries (Hungary and Austria), through quantitative and qualitative analyses, to define the main characteristics of the services, usability requirements, and main functionalities. Based on the qualitative and quantitative analyses, 5 types of indoor areas were identified where elderly and/or visually impaired people have difficulties and would use the VUK software.

 

These surveys acted as a basis for a number of use cases, defined by INFOALAP, to help with the technical specification, as well as for the validation process. Each use case contains a minimal and an optimal version, since it cannot yet be anticipated who the test subjects will be, and exactly how much time and patience they will have for the test. Furthermore, the test sites have not yet been selected and it is unforeseen what activities will be allowed there for the tests by the owners/management of the sites.

 

Each use case description contains the tasks (preparation, outdoor and indoor navigation), the start and end points of the journey, and – if and when they can be defined in advance – the most difficult situation/task for the end-user while completing the journey, preferences during the journey and additional information.

 

INFOALAP has also carried out a gap analysis to have a clear picture of the current developments and availability of existing solutions. The brief summary of the survey is that indoor navigation is still in its infancy, competing technologies and solutions come and go, availability of such services is still fragmented, sporadic and/or limited in some aspects. This dynamically changing landscape makes it hard to find the technology best suited to the special needs of VUK's target audience. In the light of the findings of this analysis, there is a gap in the indoor navigation market that VUK can successfully fill with its planned service and application.

 

TSB Transdanubia also focused its energy on the potential market for the VUK system in creating the first version of the market analysis. TSB has also created the first round of marketing materials for the system: the brochure, poster, Facebook group and continues updating the website.

Technical Partners

 

The most important contribution from INOVA+ for the second half of 2016 was the production of the project’s Technical Specification document, Delivery 2.3. This important deliverable is a transversal documentation of the technical specificities that should be followed by all technical partners in order to cater to the end-user requirements gathered beforehand; although this document has an evolving nature which will accompany the activities brought forth by each of the technological tasks (some of the chapters require further details in their more relatable deliverables), the first version is a base of reference which should steer all development. 

 

Although all partners contributed to the production of this document, there was an essential and particular help provided by INFOALAP (as the leaders of the user-requirement stage that precedes these specifications), ESL (who will undergo the most lower-level framework of the project) and BZN (always supervising the structure and methodology behind the construction of this rather long deliverable). This document is now the main input for the planning and execution of the technical activities that will become the main focus of the project in the coming months.

 

INOVA+ has also participated with great passion and initiative in all project matters (steering many of the technical meetings in this period) and underwent one of the first dissemination activities of VUK in the scope of the European Researchers Night 2016.

 

As a technical partner of the consortium, the first task of Erlang Solutions (ESL) in the VUK project has been taking vision of the use cases, followed by reviewing and contributing to the technical specification. ESL also prepared for the phase of integration with the technical partners, by planning for the integration environment and prototyping software deployment.

 

HI-Iberia, as a technical partner with an important role in the business part of the project, has analyzed how the user requirements impact the social-based assistance/guidance service and has reviewed the technical specification related to such service. HI-Iberia has also started to identifying possibilities of further use for the project outputs and analyzing the best method to launch the VUK project to the market. These two activities will result in the exploitation plan and the first iteration of the business model plan in the next six months.

 

London Meeting

 

We're just back from our meeting in London on the 20th and 21st of November, an important step in the VUK project. These meetings offer us the close proximity necessary for important technical decisions, updating the team on the individual progresses and setting the goals for the next six months.

 

At this meeting, the VUK partners have focused on the technical specifications and development of its own indoor navigation system. Amongst with lively group discussions regarding the online versus offline requirements, the technical partners made progress on the key components which are to be designed next.

 

End-user partners have begun discussions of the legal and practical requirements of system testing, and have swapped ideas for the testing locations. It has been decided that 40 end-users testers will assess the system: 20 in Budapest and 20 in Vienna.

 

London Meeting Team Foto

The VUK Team

Next Steps

The next six months will be very influential in forming the end product which the VUK project creates. Of main importance will be the technical progress which is made in this period and the initial rounds of testing. In order to ensure the best possible product, the focus has been put on having a 100% accessible navigation solution. Each round of testing will be done by visually impaired and blind individuals to ensure that the solution is compatible with screen readers and speech out functions.

 

Dissemination events are also being planned for late spring/early summer 2017, in order to increase awareness of the VUK system. Amongst the appointments is the IKT Forum for Handicapped Individuals in Linz in July 2017. Check our website for more information!

Newsletter 1

Project Objective 

 The project goal is to support blind and visually impaired individuals in the challenging task of urban mobility through providing a simple, effective and affordable indoor navigation and mobility assistance solution. This system will guide the user on journeys through unfamiliar indoor environments such as subway systems and through complex buildings like shopping malls and business centers. The envisioned service would also be suitable for companies and public organizations in which blind and visually impaired individuals work or visit, assisting to integrate said individuals in an open community. 

 

Project Start: BZN 

 The VUK project started on the 1st of March, 2016 and will last for 30 months. Partner collaboration, however, began in the winter months to finalize the consortium agreement , which has been signed by all partners. As a first step BZN brought the partners together, created a platform for their collaborative online work. Every second week the consortium is having a skype meeting to discuss the actual status of the project and the ongoing tasks. The first tasks are the creation of the basic dissemination materials such as website, logo and project templates as well as the examination of the user-requirement analysis, which helps us to identify the real needs of the project`s the target group. TSB designed the VUK logo and created the project website, which is available in five languages. In both of the designs TSB – as an expert working with visually impaired people – they considered our target group so it is accessible for them in different ways. The user requirement analysis was carried out by the end-user partner (Infoalap and HGB). The first results can be found below. 

 

Kick-off Meeting: Miskolc, Hungary

 The official kick-off of the VUK collaborative project took place on the 28th and 29th of April 2016 at Bay Zoltán Nonprofit Ltd. For Applied Research in Miskolc, Hungary and was attended by all VUK project partners. In the meeting the initial ideas for the VUK project were discussed, the project logo and website was released and a plan for the first months of the project was created. On the second day technical partners gave demonstrations of previously created inventions. End user partners expressed their expectations and needs as visually impaired and blind individuals . The meeting united the partners for the first time and a great time was had by all. The team is really looking forward to working together!

 

First Results: User Requirement Analysis

The objective of the user requirements analysis was to assess real user requirements from end users in two countries (Hungary and Austria) through a quantitative and a qualitative analysis to define the main characteristics of the services, usability requirements, and main functionalities to be offered.

 

Results appear to generally remain in line with the project objectives and underpin that the VUK initiative addresses genuine expectations of potential future users who are visually impaired and elderly. The two analyses are based on surveys conducted in the two countries. Feedback for the quantitative survey was obtained from more than a total of 100 volunteers in the two countries. Peer-to-peer style interviews yielded qualitative results from 12 individuals from both countries. 

 

Participants appear to be very optimistic about the software’s potential to increase their level of autonomy, their future reduced mobility costs and its contribution to their integration into society. The overall opinion of VUK's cost benefits is much more positive than that of existing outdoor navigation solutions currently used by the study participants.

 

Locations at which Study Participants would Use Indoor Navigation Software

Locations at which Study Participants would Use Indoor Navigation Software

 

Frequency of Navigational Difficulties Experienced due to Visual Impairment

Frequency of Navigational Difficulties Experienced due to Visual Impairment

Country-specific Contact Information

United Kingdom

John Samuel

 john.samuel@erlang-solutions.com

 +36 309 642 534

Spain

Diego Fuentes

 dfuentes@hi-iberia.es

 +34 91 458 51 19

Hungary

Katalin Sebestény

sebesteny.katalin@infoalap.hu

+36 1 273 3182

Austria

Daniele Marano

 marano@hilfsgemeinschaft.at

 +43 1 330 35 45 41

Portugal

Miguel Dias

 +351 962 093 324

Dissemination Activities

2017 

Emanuel Zündel erklärt das Vuk Projekt

Odilien Institut Graz

Emanuel Zündel explains the VUK Projekt, March 2017

Blindenverband Tirol

BSVB Tirol

A TSB customer reads the VUK poster with help of the OrCam, April 2017

Linz Messe

BSVB Upper Austria

A TSB customer reads the VUK poster with the help of magnifying glasses, April 2017