The Universität Bremen is the science center of North West Germany. The University employs 1.427 research scientists (full-time), has about 19.000 students as well as 910 employees (full-time). Two research institutes of the University of Bremen are involved in VICON
The head of BIK is Prof. Dr. K.-D. Thoben. One of the major research areas is the application of advanced information and communication technologies for the collection, provision, and handling of product and environment related information. The institute has vast experience in the virtual modeling of products, industrial environments and mobile user interfaces. Further areas of expertise lie in virtual prototyping and physical prototyping using a wide spectrum of CAD design tools.
The head of the TZI department involved in VICON is Prof. Dr. Lawo. TZI focuses on the application and transfer of new scientific results into industrial practice, the development of innovative application-oriented technologies, and application-oriented training. The TZI has long-term experiences on the field of Artificial Intelligence research, including knowledge-based systems, intelligent information integration, modeling, prediction, decision support and machine learning in application domains like logistics, embedded systems, engineering design, multimedia, and medical systems.
Both faculties have a long experience with more than 200 research projects either as a scientific lead partner or as project coordinator, which have been carried out with various partners all over the world.
In the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Information Technology (FIT), about 100 scientists from computer science, design, psychology, economy and sociology are creating in an interdisciplinary, human-centred way world-class scientific contributions in the areas of HCI (e.g. user modelling, context-awareness) for 20+ years now. To this end, FIT is carrying out empirical user-centred requirements analysis and inclusive participatory design processes. Accessibility and design for all have been specific objectives for FIT’s research and development efforts, avoiding barriers to usage and assist persons with disabilities and the elderly to fully participate in the Information Society. FIT has been a partner or coordinator in numerous national and European research projects for many years and has also successfully marketed a number of the development results through spin-off companies. Two of FIT’s laboratories will contribute to the VICON project:
1. The Situated Computing Lab (SCL) at Fraunhofer FIT
The Situated Computing Lab is targeted at studying how information technology can support activities of people that are set in particularly challenging situations. SCL focuses especially on prototyping and evaluation of possible design options in particular through experience-rich virtual and mixed-reality prototyping. This prototyping is done with a system called Experience Prototyping Platform (EX3P) that was developed at SCL during the last few years. EX3P has for instance been applied to delivering therapeutic experiences to patients with psychotic disorders. In VICON, EX3P will be adapted and extended to the specific domain of impaired users and in particular coupled with a module for Virtual User Modeling, to be developed by the WebCC Web Compliance Center.
2. The WebCC Web Compliance Center
The WebCC Web Compliance Center conducts research and innovation efforts in the area of Web Compliance Engineering, usability, accessibility and quality assurance of information and communication technologies, multimodal interfaces, user modeling, cognitive training, therapeutic intervention systems and biofeedback sensors. The staff is composed of an experienced multidisciplinary team that includes engineers, computer scientists, pedagogues
The National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI)
The National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) was established in 1931 and is the primary service provider to the blind and partially sighted population in the Republic of Ireland. It is a non-profit organisation and a registered charity. NCBI provides vision assessment, information, advice and support to people with sight loss. It has a nationwide network of community resource workers and trainers who provide rehabilitation, counselling, employment support and training in mobility, daily living skills, computer skills and the use of assistive technologies. NCBI sells, supports and maintains assistive hardware and software. NCBI has also significant experience working on EU funded projects.
RNID is the largest charity representing the 9 million deaf and hard of hearing people in the UK. A unique asset of RNID is its award winning Technology department, consisting of scientists, engineers, programmers and researchers in the field of Information and Communication Technology. RNID partners up with major stakeholders across all ICT domains in order to achieve real and lasting change through projects that focus on meeting user requirements, while being strongly based on technological and economic feasibility and sustainability. The Technology team has strong expertise in user requirements gathering and analysis, accessibility, IP and telecommunications.
Arçelik is the consumer durables, consumer electronics and information technologies equipments manufacturing company of Koç Holding. Arçelik was founded in 1955 and it is the sixth largest household appliances manufacturer in the world and the third largest one in Europe. Arçelik has 11 production plants in Romania, Russia, China and Turkey and has 12 sales and marketing companies worldwide. Arçelik is serving its customers in more than 100 countries with its 10 different brands and has realized a consolidated turnover of EUR 3.2 billion in 2008. Arçelik’s product range covers full range of household appliances and consumer electronics products including Standard and High Definition, Digital and Analogue TVs, Personal Video Recorders, Personal Media Players, Set-Top-Boxes, PCs, Laptops, Audio Sets, Home Theatre Systems, Refrigerators, Freezers, Cookers, Dishwashers, Wash machines, Dryers, Heaters, Air conditioners, Electronic Cash and Cash Pump Registers. Arçelik R&D centres have expertise on its own products as well as on the engineering disciplines that are related to product functions.
Doro is a Swedish company listed in Stockholm stock exchange, which is dedicating its activity to make electronic devices simpler mainly for elderly or impaired people. Doro has developed an extensive range of fixed line telephony, mobile telephony, remote commands for TV, adapted to this target group. Doro’s sales activity are covering all Europe, USA and expanding progressively. Doro has spent a lot of investment in research and design to adapt products to the target group needs and is willing to develop these concepts even further.