CARESS is an i3 (Intelligent Information Interfaces) project that focuses on developing aids for children with special needs. The project is providing a new means of communication and expression for children with severe and multiple disabilities. These children are often difficult to support and to stimulate. Results from the CARESS project are giving them a new way of developing their self-awareness and sense of identity.
The project has developed a technology that converts physical movement into data. This can then control digital sound modules, lighting rigs and a variety of other devices. An example is the 'Soundbeam' unit that sends out an ultrasonic beam, so that physical movement, such as the wave of a hand, is converted into a form of expression controlled by the user. Two sensors placed on the skin enable a wearer to convert their movement into sound.
These developments have significance for the education and development of children with severe and multiple disabilities, as well as primary school children in the age group four to eight years. In mainstream primary schools, the results of the CARESS project will offer teachers a new method of exploring aesthetic expression and communication. This will enable many aspects of the whole curriculum and the learning environment to be enriched and extended.
Stand visitors can try the Soundbeam and use sensors to explore sound. A number of sound-games will be available. Photographs, graphics presentations, and video recordings will demonstrate the results of the CARESS project in special needs units and in primary schools. This will illustrate the effectiveness in the classroom.