Our laboratory is part of the “G.Peano” Department of Mathematics of the University of Turin. It originates from the need to develop and disseminate new technologies to enable the access to university studies, in particular within STEM fields, to students with motor and sensory disabilities. The goal of our work is twofold. On the one hand, we research and develop assistive technologies for the access and the authoring of digital scientific documents. On the other hand we conduct experimentations and distribute existing assistive technologies on the territory.
The research group has developed an add-on package for “LaTeX”, the most widespread markup language for the authoring of scientific documents, which enables the creation of PDF documents containing accessible mathematical formulae for people with visual impairments. Our research also involves the use of artificial intelligence for developing assistive technologies. In particular, we develop an OCR (Optical Character Recognition) software for detecting mathematical formulae, which is useful for transcribing teaching material into an accessible format. Another research topic focuses on Human-Computer Interaction methodologies to drive the interaction with mathematical content, involving people with visual impairments through the user centered design paradigm. Our research produced numerous research papers, presented in prestigious national and international scientific conferences and journals.
We experiment accessibility instruments developed by academia and industry to identify the most useful solutions among the existing ones to enable the access to scientific content for people with disabilities. The activities of our laboratory involve courses for the dissemination of such instruments in schools and university. Additionally we conduct didactic activities that aim to support people with disabilities, in particular people with visual impairments, during the transition between education and employment.
Our work is possible thanks to numerous supporters and projects to which we participate.