Platform for the Development of Accessible Vocational Training - overview


According to IBGE (Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics), Brazil had 45.6 million people with disabilities (or 24% of the Brazilian population) in 2010. One of the main challenges faced by companies and the government to incorporate people with disabilities in their workforce is to provide suitable material for their vocational trainining, since even individuals with similar disabilities might have very different requirements and needs.

The main goal of this project is to investigate and develop tools addressing the following challenges:

  • Ethnological Studies: assessment of People with Disabilities’ needs in order to design usability aspects and select features for the platform
  • How to deliver electronic content aimed at vocational training of People with Disabilities?
  • How to create and deliver educational content to People with Disabilities?
  • How to enable the adaptation of educational material in order to make its content accessible for individuals with different types of disabilities?

Research Agenda

This project is being developed as the accessibility branch of the Solutions for Sentient and Cognitive Cities Project being currently conducted by the Systems of Engagement and Insight Group at IBM Research Brazil. The most relevant components of this initiative for the present project are:

  1. Smarter Board: research and development of solutions to promote community participation and communication. It provides a solution for “social media for local community”, allowing the communication over text messages and a open-display. The messages are classified in distinct columns (e.g. job offerings, looking for jobs, announcements, news, etc). We have a special version of PwD community including technologies for ASR and TTS. The boards generate data sets useful for models of Social Analytics that can be used in order to infer social intelligence, patterns and trends in social behaviour, and to understand the communities' needs. We intend to apply proven techniques to identify sentiments and learn the needs and requirements of target communities by observing and analysing message exchange of peers and in-group.
  2. Rota Acessível: we are applying participatory sensing for PwD community issues, such as create city accessibility maps, provide a input interface for “feel the pulse” of the PwD community with regards to infrastructure problems, and others. The mobile application and a dashboard with the collected data are available online at
  3. Watchboard: a web-based extension of Smarter Board, focused on the curation of information produced by users of the tool and extracted automatically from the web.

Relevant projects focused on accessibility challenges that have been developed and/or assimilated over the course of the project are:

  1. City Companion: developed in a collaboration with the Accessibility Team of IBM Tokyo Research Lab, this is an specialisation of our project Intelligent Navigation Guides for Smarter Cities. We are customising automated guides to navigate PwD in the city. These guides will facilitate PwD’s facilitate access to work by making use of the “accessibility maps” being created through Smarter Citizen Sensing for Accessibility (see above).
  2. IBM AbilityLab Compliance Checker: used to validate Web Sites for Accessibility standards, developed in the IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center.
  3. IBM AbilityLab Media Captioner and Editor: used to caption video content for Accessibility, developed in the IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center.
  4. IBM AbilityLab Voice Transcription Manager: used to transcribe voice messages, developed in the IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center.
  5. IBM AbilityLab Sametime Conference Transcriber: transcribes speaken words into text, developed in the IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center.
  6. IBM AbilityLab Sametime Language Translator: convert typed communications sent or received with IBM Lotus® Sametime into 10 different languages, developed in the IBM Human Ability and Accessibility Center.
  7. Portal Comunidade Ciência: citizen science platform developed to be used by the Brazilian scientific community. One of its main components is MARC, a tag-based algorithm for image recognition that has been applied in the context of accessibility (see Mattos et al., "Marker-based image recognition of dynamic content for the visually impaired", W4A' 14). 


For more information, please contact: Sergio Borger, Sr. Manager, Systems of engagement and Insight, IBM Research Lab - Brazil.



This project is part of IBM Smarter Education Initiative, being developed with support of the Brazilian Government, Ministry of Science and Technology, through the FINEP Contract 03.11.0371.00 SEL PUB MCT/FINEP/FNDCT/SUBV ECONOMICA A INOVACAO 01/2010.




IBM Software

We are either applying or considering the following IBM software in this project: