Opening up the forward-looking research field of Computer Aided Communication for people with disabilities

Photo: LIFEtool counsellor with a girl who speaks with the help of an iPad

Human beings are social creatures and interpersonal communication is an elementary, highly individual basic need. Using the tools and methods of Computer Aided Communication, people with congenital or acquired impairments of spoken language can improve their ability to communicate and their quality of life. This also enables a high degree of self-determination and inclusive participation.
In 2008 Austria ratified the UN Convention for Persons with Disabilities. Article 4 provides, among other things, for the promotion of research and development of information and communication technologies as well as their availability and use.
Individual needs and requirements to be considered so that people without or with limited spoken language can participate in their family and social environment (education, training, work or leisure) through computer AAC. To achieve this, LIFEtool stakeholders agree that there is a need to develop new as well as review existing survey methods on the use of communication aids such as eye control or tablet computers. There is also a gap in research on the use of Computer Aided Communication in secondary/tertiary education as well as in vocational education and training and in the transition between these domains. In this regard, the IMPAKT project can provide a first basis for further research projects.
In order to promote the use of Computer Aided Communication and to enable the participation of people without or with limited spoken language, an intensive research effort is therefore required with regard to:

  • inter-professional collaboration of all stakeholders such as affected persons and their formal and informal care environment.
  • studies evaluating the effectiveness of interventions
  • studies that focus on education and occupation
  • and surveys dealing with standardized assessments.


Project objective
The aim of the IMPAKT project is to gain scientific evidence on the impact of Computer Aided Communication with a focus on tablet PCs and eye control devices. Furthermore, the services offered are to be improved by new developments in the LIFEtool Living Lab on the basis of the identified problems and potentials.
The chosen approach to answer the research questions and problems is composed of a portfolio of state-of-the-art impact analysis methods, which essentially aim at impact planning, analysis and improvement.

The integration of the users of Computer AAC in the research and solution process - "user-centred development" - leads to a higher acceptance and ensures that Computer AAC can be used efficiently and effectively for the benefit of people with disabilities and our society.

  • Contact

    Isabel Karlhuber
    Head of Research
    Phone +43 664 620 76 15

    01.01.2022 - 31.12.2023

  • Project Type

    Cooperation project
  • Support Program


    Call for proposals within the framework of the economic and research strategy #upperVISION2030 of the State of Upper Austria