VAALID (Accessibility and Usability Validation Framework for AAL Interaction Design Process) is a STREP project of the 7th Marco Program for Investigation and Development of the European Commission, included within the Strategic Objective ‘Accessible and Inclusive ICT’; Thematic Priority ICT-2007.7.2, and counts on a global budget of 3,707,395.66 euros, of which 2,737,500 are financed by the European commission.
The project, which began in May 2009, is due to take 30 months and is being developped by a consortium of 8 members, coordinated by SIEMENS. The objective of the VAALID project is to develop new tools and methods which will facilitate and make more dynamic the creative, design, construction, implementation and evaluation processes for technological solutions, within the context of ‘Vida Cotidiana Asistida por el Entorno’ (literally Daily Life Assistance through Surroundings in Spanish) or AAL (Ambient Assisted Living), thereby assuring the accessibility and usability of the said environment for the elderly.
This project is principally directed to those professionals who work in the conception, design and evaluation of the aspects of man-machine interaction for AAL solutions. In order to achieve the proposed objectives, VAALID has concentrated on the creation of an Integrated Platform of Development, (IDE being the acronym in English), for the assisted design by computer, the simulation, and the validation of the interaction components between the user and the AAL solution. This platform will allow the professional to optimise the accessibility characteristics of the AAL services for social inclusion and independent life. The VAALID IDE platform consists of 2 environments which cover the different tools available to professionals:
- Creation Environment, which allows one to virtually construct the element forming the interactive structure of the AAL solution.
- Simulation Environment, where the potential users of the solution can experience the various alternatives, thanks to virtual and heightened reality, making crucial information available to professionals in order to ensure the accessibility of their solutions and make them user-friendly.
These new tools proportioned by VAALID will help the European ICT industry, companies specialising in interaction design of users, research centres and unversities, to make their business more dynamic in respect to products and services for independent life and inclusion, creating new business opportunities. ITACA is the technical coordinator of the project and one of its major contributors.