About this paper

Appears in:
Pages: 5761-5763
Publication year: 2009
ISBN: 978-84-613-2953-3
ISSN: 2340-1095

Conference name: 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 16-18 November, 2009
Location: Madrid, Spain


T. Bieling

Design Research Lab (Deutsche Telekom Laboratories) (GERMANY)
Different bodily preconditions impact particular ways of communication and perception. Certain bodily impairment (e.g. deafness or blindness) leads to certain characteristics of human communication, whether it concerns communication amongst people or communication with (or via) machines.
In this paper, we claim that general human communication system might be enriched by acknowledging and adding specifics of such different ways of communication and perception that refer to bodily impairment. We will share results and examples of the design research project “Speechless”, an interdisciplinary project lead by the Design Research Lab at Deutsche Telekom Laboratories in collaboration with the technical university Berlin and the Köln International School of Design.
The design research project “Speechless” aims to explore communication structures with and amongst deaf and hard of hearing people, in order to
a) help develop ‘supporting communication’ for the “disabled”, and
b) enrich common ways of human communication, with a special focus on HCI.
In this paper we will at first underscore the relevance of exploring different ways of human communication in order to understand the importance for interpersonal communication and human-computer-interaction.
Secondly, based on the project research of “Speechless”, we will highlight the experience of interdisciplinarity: the project has been gaining its major input from the collaboration of the Design Research Lab (Deutsche Telekom Laboratories) and the engineering department of Technical University Berlin. In the first project phase, we have been working closely together with deaf people. Important was to figure out characteristics and differences in deaf communication from a hearing perspective, as well as to conclude from problems, limitations and boundaries in Deaf communication to its actual richness: Possibility and ability instead of “disability”.
We have been developing service- and product-solutions, that might help to overcome some of those limitations on the one hand, and help to enhance the communication of hearing people on the other hand. The insights we gained in the investigation, allow us to open up new perspectives in Human-Machine-Interaction (HCI).
We add a completely new aspect to design driven inquiries in two respects:
1) By taking bodily impairment as a source of inspiration for the development of ICT in matters of human communication and perception
2) By investigating alternative and augmentative and alternative communication (e.g. sign language) from an interfacial point of view.

In our investigation we are guided by the following questions:
What can the Seeing learn from the Blind? What can the Hearing learn from the Deaf? What can Design learn from social Disability? How can Design research find solutions for social Disability? How could those facts be relevant for an application in human-machine interfaces? And what could be future services and products for both deaf and general hearing communication?
We will finally point out the current state of the ongoing project, as well as its future prospects.
author = {Bieling, T.},
series = {2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation},
booktitle = {ICERI2009 Proceedings},
isbn = {978-84-613-2953-3},
issn = {2340-1095},
publisher = {IATED},
location = {Madrid, Spain},
month = {16-18 November, 2009},
year = {2009},
pages = {5761-5763}}
AU - T. Bieling
SN - 978-84-613-2953-3/2340-1095
PY - 2009
Y1 - 16-18 November, 2009
CI - Madrid, Spain
JO - 2nd International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
JA - ICERI2009 Proceedings
SP - 5761
EP - 5763
ER -
T. Bieling (2009) DESIGN RESEARCH AND DISABILITY, ICERI2009 Proceedings, pp. 5761-5763.