Forschungsinstitut Technologie und Behinderung Project EMBASSI






Multimodal Assistance for Infotainment and Service Infrastructures

Short description

EMBASSI's focus is the development of new paradigms and architectures for the intuitive interaction with technical infrastructures of the everyday life, such as home entertainment and control, public terminals, and car infotainment systems. The project addresses innovative methods of man-machine interaction, where "machine" explicitly refers to technical systems consisting of a variety of distributed, networked devices. EMBASSI aims at enhancing the interaction with these infrastructures by providing intelligent assistance, multimodal interaction, and anthropomorphic user interfaces within a unified framework. Technical development in EMBASSI is based on a user centered approach, with accompanying psychological and ergonomics research.

People with physical or mental restrictions often need special input- and output devices (e.g. Braille display, joystick, or speech input). The working group "Operating Assistence for Terminal Systems" aims at facilitating or realising access to public terminals. The user should not be forced to learn a new operating logic for each device. Simple and homogenous interface elements are intended to help the user in reaching his goal. Frequent and recurrent tasks should be overtaken by the system automatically.

The idea is to use mobile assistents (called "EMMA") in order to establish a wireless connection to the terminal and to apply its functionality. These assistents are mobile and configurable devices, owned by the user. They have access to the terminals via the standardized EMBASSI protocol. A descriptive and generic language for user interfaces is used to render the external contents onto EMMA.

E.g. for getting money out of an AT machine, the user does not have to interact with the keyboard and screen of the ATM. Instead, he can use his personal assistent with his technical aids (touchscreen, joystick, speech input, etc.) connected to it in order to complete his task. His assistent contacts the terminal system (ATM), queries information about the terminal capabilities and presents them to the user. User inputs are transferred back to the terminal. If desired, additional help and explanation is offered to the user.

A more detailled description can be found under

Focus of FTB

  • Development of efficient methods for simplification of interaction with computer based systems - especially acceleration of text inputs in terminal environments and text processing systems for severely physically impaired people.
  • Evaluation of the EMMA devices with handicapped users.
  • Participation in the evaluation of an environment for the development of user interfaces under usabiliy aspects.

Project partners

Diploma thesis

  • Thomas Kopmann:
    Entwurf und Implementierung von Bedienfunktionen eines Roboterarmes für die Rehabilitation von körperbehinderten Menschen.
    FH Bochum, 10/2001


  • Dirk Clemens, Helmut Heck, Michael Kühn, Olaf Perlick, Frank Reins:
    Individually Assisted Text Entry with Situational and Contextual Prediction.
    in: K. Miesenberger, J. Klaus, W. Zagler (Eds): Computers Helping People with Special Needs. 8th Intern. Conf,. ICCHP 2002, Linz, Austria, 15.-20.7.2002, Proc.;
    Berlin Heidelberg New York: Springer-Verlag, 2002; pp. 279-281

Project data

Duration: 7/1999 - 6/2003

Funding: The focus project EMBASSI is co-funded by the German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF).

Contact persons at FTB