Santa Clara, California – (The Hosting News) – Jauary 6, 2009 – Technology firm and web hosting provider, Sun Microsystems, Inc., is leading a research consortium of global efforts to solve accessibility challenges for devices from cell phones to desktops and web applications.
The group of over 20 other companies and organizations, aims to help define new approaches and solutions for building accessibility support into future information and communication technologies. Funded by a grant awarded by the European Commission,the AEGIS Project is based on the Sun-led proposal and technical architecture. A key component of the AEGIS Project is that it will leverage open source technologies wherever possible.
Dr. Evangelos Bekiaris, AEGIS Project Coordinator and Research Director at the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas explained, ”The accessibility challenges of the new generations of desktop, web, and mobile technologies require new approaches – ones in which accessibility is designed in from the start, rather than bolted on as an afterthought. The AEGIS project, with its holistic approach starting with developer tools on through to the platforms the accessible applications run on – and with the end-user validation provided by the disability organization members of the AEGIS consortium – is the most promising and thorough approach to accessibility we have seen in decades.”
The AEGIS (open Accessibility Everywhere: Groundwork, Infrastructure, Standards) Project participants include: Centre for Research and Technology Hellas (project coordinator), the ACE Centre Advisory Trust, Adaptive Technology Resource Centre of the University of Toronto, AOL, Blue Point IT Solutions S.R.L., Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, the University of Cambridge, Conncept Swiss, Czech Technical University in Prague, European Platform for Rehabilitation, Femtio Procent Data AB, Vodafone Spain Foundation, Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering, ONCE Foundation, P50, Polytechnic University of Madrid, Research In Motion Limited (RIM), Royal National Institute of Blind People, SingularLogic S.A., Sahlgrenska University Hospital – DART and Sun Microsystems. Advising the AEGIS project is a distinguished scientific advisory board comprised of worldwide leaders in the field of accessibility.
Jeet Kaul, senior vice president of the Client Software Group at Sun offered, ”Every second of every day that passes, the number of new mobile devices and web sites grows at an astounding rate – with much of that growth bringing accessibility problems for people with disabilities. By building support for accessibility into the next generation of rich internet application frameworks and mobile devices, we can help ensure that people with disabilities can participate in the digital age. Sun is pleased to be leading the AEGIS Project and bringing our expertise in open source and accessibility technology to this important initiative.”
Richard Orme, Head of Accessibility, RNIB noted, ”E-inclusion in the Information Society is of paramount importance. It is imperative that we close the digital divide in this ever evolving world. RNIB is committed to participating in projects that will bring about positive change in the lives of blind and partially sighted people. We’re excited to be part of the AEGIS project, working with developers, companies and organizations to bring about wholesale improvements in accessibility to ICT solutions. RNIB fully supports the endeavour of improving accessibility from the ground up, building accessibly features into developer tools and ratifying the outcomes through end user testing.”
Tom Wlodkowski, Director of Accessibility at AOL commented, ”AOL is excited to participate in such a dynamic consortium by contributing solutions that advance accessibility of rich Internet applications. As a pioneer in the web accessibility space, AOL has recently deployed a keyboard-friendly web mail application that aligns functionality with widely used software e-mail clients. We’re pleased that Sun recognized our commitment to the disability audience as they assembled this innovative project.”
The AEGIS Project will involve research and prototypes that address a broad range of disabilities including: vision impairment, hearing impairment, physical impairment, and a range of cognitive/developmental disabilities. The participants plan to address accessibility challenges across three key areas: open source desktop computing, Rich Internet Applications (RIA) and mobile devices; with a multitude of research and development goals within each of these areas. In addressing these challenges, the AEGIS Project will leverage the pervasiveness of Java (TM) technology across desktops, the web, and mobile devices. Java is one of the world’s most popular software platforms and is present on more than 800 million desktop computers and over 2.2 billion mobile phones worldwide.
Sun Microsystems develops technologies utilized in more than 100 countries and on the web.
To learn more information on the AEGIS Project, please visit: www.aegis-project.eu.
For more about Sun’s Startup Essentials program, visit: www.sun.com/startups.