Raja Kushalnagar — National Technical Institute for the Deaf
Accessible computing investigates the use of of computing systems and devices and their use by persons with disabilities. Personal computing devices have become pervasive, essential tools for consumers within a decade. The use and interaction with these devices poses both opportunities and challenges for people with sensory differences, including those with age related differences in hearing and vision. These personal computing devices have the potential to foster inclusiveness in daily life by assisting people with sensory differences via accessible interfaces and interaction, for example through speech-to-text or wayfinding applications. Dr. Kushalnagar’s research focuses on two issues: first, identifying how people with sensory disabilities use typical computing devices and the challenges in using these devices, and second, in addressing these challenges by developing accessible personal computing devices.
Dr. Kushalnagar’s findings in how people with sensory differences perceive and use devices and programs has led to design guidelines to make products more inclusive. For instance, deaf student viewers prefer few lines inset into the video, while hearing student viewers prefer more lines, next to the video. He is passionate in mentoring NTID supported students by involving them in his research as researchers, developers and consumers in accessible computing research projects. The projects provide a hands-on, applied research environment, similar to modern corporate research lab environments, in that the students analyze and solve real-world accessibility challenges in an interdisciplinary and team- oriented setting. The students also broaden their research perspectives by immersing themselves in a diverse ability environment, by bringing together students and mentors with and without sensory differences. Dr. Kushalnagar has supervised over 40 students, on research projects ranging from optimizing use of speech-to-text applications for hard of hearing consumers, or development of closed interpreting interfaces for deaf signers. He has also served as an accessibility chair on several conferences, and has led multiple captioning challenges to provide evaluation and validation of captioning research projects in the wild.
SCIENCE AND MATHEMATICS
NATIONAL TECHNICAL INSTITUTE FOR THE DEAF