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Open Marketplace Launched For Assistive Technology Ideas

An ‘ideas marketplace’ for new open source assistive technology projects has been launched by a group of academics and developers with funding from JISC, the technology agency for UK colleges and universities.

The REALISE project ( http://www.realisepotential.org ) is an open, three-stage tool for creating new software technologies to make it easier for people with disabilities to use the internet, computers and mobile devices.

The first stage is an ‘ideas’ area, where anyone can ask for help with a problem or offer a theoretical solution. If there is enough interest in an idea and someone wants to take the lead, it can be moved to the second stage: the ‘incubator’, where a team of developers is assembled. Finally, the best ideas will move to full ‘project’ status, the third stage which will involve funding by non-profits or private companies.

According to the project’s brief, “At any stage commercial companies or researchers can become involved and may lead at the incubator or project stages. In the end companies may make money out of a project but will need to keep to any agreements during the development stages.”

Realise team member E.A. Draffan, of the Learning Societies Lab at the University of Southampton, told E-Access Bulletin: “We want to encourage people to come and take part in the project as ideas folk, users of assistive technology, developers and even those who may be willing to fund or take ideas and turn them into projects.

“Anyone can add an idea for an app or program and you never know, a developer may take it up and we might have some new assistive technology projects developing.”

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