Research group nominated in Loughborough CALIBRE awards

Research group nominated in Loughborough CALIBRE awards

Professor Donald Hislop of the Business School has been nominated for the Loughborough CALIBRE awards for the project "Adept at Adaptation".

The Calibre Awards is set up to highlight the tremendous work of researchers. The theme for this round of the Awards is Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI). All of the finalists are exploring specific EDI issues, evaluating interventions, broadening impact, or promoting inclusivity.

The British Academy funded Adept at Adaptation project studies how disabled people adapt consumer technology – including voice-controlled lights, power sockets, entertainment systems, and other smart devices – as accessible home automation systems.

The research team nominated for the awards includes Dr Saul Albert, Professor Elizabeth Stokoe, Professor Thorsten Gruber, Dr Crispin Coombs, Professor Donald Hislop and Mark Harrison.

Professor Donald Hislop commented "I am really excited to be involved in the project, for a number of reasons. Firstly it is about how AI technologies impact on people’s lives, and the work of carers, a topic that I find interesting. Given the social care crisis in the UK at the moment, anything that has the potential to help improve social care is very useful.

Secondly, it is an inter-disciplinary project that allows me to collaborate with a diverse range of interesting people, including other business school academics, who specialise in IT systems, marketing and service work, as well as social scientists outside the business school. The project is a genuine inter-disciplinary collaboration, and it is very enjoyable to collaborate in this way, as it stimulates creativity and reflection.

Thirdly, it is a project which aims to have direct, positive impacts for disabled users of Alexa-type technologies. The action research philosophy of the project is really important, as it involves disabled people actively in designing and undertaking the research. To achieve this we have been working closely with a range of disability support organizations, charities, and campaign groups, in designing and developing the project.

We hope to achieve a number of outputs from the project. We plan to publish academic papers, and present the findings at relevant conferences. However, equally important is the potential, practical benefit, to disabled people, of our findings. In the project we assume that for anyone to optimise the use of the technologies they have, they need to customise, and adapt them to their own personal circumstances, capabilities and needs. So, for disabled people to get the greatest benefit from Alexa-type voice activated technologies, they will require to adapt them to their particular situation.

We hope that one output from our project will be user guides that can help disabled people, and their carers, to effectively use these technologies, and improve their quality of life."

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