Ahmed Sabbir Arif

2020 Hellman Fellow


Asssistant Professor Computer Science and Engineering
UC Merced

Project title: Enabling Motor Impaired People to Input Text on Mobile and Wearable Devices

Project description: Mobile and wearable devices, such as smartphones and smartwatches, have become an integral part of our daily lives, used broadly for work, entertainment, and to keep in touch with our loved ones. A large part of these activities requires text input. However, individuals with motor impairments, especially those who are unable to perform fine motor skills, struggle to engage in these activities due to the absence of an efficient mobile input method aimed at this population. Existing solutions are time-consuming, error prone, compromises privacy and security, and have limited functionality and high learning curve. This project will address these issues by designing and developing new text input methods that does not require the use of fine motor skills to enable people with motor impairments to input text on mobile and wearable devices. This will be achieved by reducing the over-reliance on touch-based interactions for mobile text input—by exploiting the physical attributes of stock devices, combined with a range of visual and haptic feedback. The product(s) of this project will enable fast and accurate text input on mobile and wearable devices and increase privacy and security for users, increasing their capacity to lead independent lives.