1 July 2009Spain
  • Virtual Keyboard allows typing through any device capable of controlling the cursor on the screen and complements the virtual HeadMouse also developed by the Chair
  • The virtual keyboard incorporates predictive features that save up to 40% of keystrokes in 5 languages
  • This development can be accessed for free and at no cost

The University of Lleida (UdL) has developed a virtual keyboard that facilitates access to new technologies for people with mobility impairments. The VirtualKeyboard project, started up within the framework of the cooperation between Indra and Adecco Foundations Chairs, allows typing with any device capable of controlling the cursor on the screen for instance: the mouse, joystick or touchpad. The application is intuitive thus previous training is not necessary and besides this, it complements the virtual HeadMouse that was created in 2008 by the Chair and was widely accepted worldwide. (225,000 downloads have been registered in countries such as Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina or Brazil).

The tool can be accessed for free and at no cost. It can be installed and executed in any computer as long as it is equipped with Windows OS. For downloading, go to: http://robotica.udl.cat

During the presentation of the VirtualKeyboard, Dr. Jordi Palacin, professor at the University of Lleida and scientific director of Indra-Adecco Foundation's Chair pointed out how this revolutionary tool works “and how it can help anybody with mobility impairments across the world, a sector of the population that only in Spain amounts to 1.500.000 people”.

VirtualKeyboard works through an application that appears on the pc screen and that allows typing by stroking virtual keys. The system incorporates technological innovations that make typing as easy as possible for the mobility impaired who cannot use traditional keyboards. VirtualKeyboard is equipped with a word prediction option whose algorithms learn the user's writing style thus improving its accuracy. Trials with 15.000 to 20.000 word texts show a 40% savings in keystroking, that is, 7.000 words less.

VirtualKeyboard is equipped with 5 dictionaries that incorporate Spanish, Catalonian, English, French and Italian's most usual words. It also integrates an automatic learning system that allows expansion of its word data base and creates new dictionaries in any language as long as it has a Roman-alphabet. This way the users' style is automatically updated and allows use of several dictionaries in the same language and to customise them according to use: emails, technical style, bookish style, etc.

Continuity to Indra – Adecco-Foundation’s Chair of the UdL

Within the framework of the presentation of the VirtualKeyboard project, the Chancellor of the University of Lleida-Joan Viñas-, the Director of Indra in Catalonia, Manel Brufau and the General Director of the Adecco Foundation-Francisco Mesonero-have reaffirmed the renovation of a cooperation agreement signed in 2008. This way, research, development, technology transfer, training and information actions will continue in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector.

The objectives of the Indra-Adecco Foundation Chair of the UdL are met through an update of the HeadMouse system and the optimisation of the VirtualKeyboard. The combination of both applications allows the disable to use the virtual keyboard through HeadMouse to achieve a greater typing speed with a minimum effort. Both tools optimize the working environment of the disable and they can have access to new technologies-related jobs.

Click here for photos, screenshots and a video of VirtualKeyboard:

The University of Lleida is a public institution with approximately 8.148 students and 878 professors. It consists of seven centres and other three which are ascribed. According to the report by the CYD Foundation last year, the University of Lleida is the best public Spanish university in terms of instruction and ranks among the first ten universities in quality of doctorates.

Adecco Foundation achieves its social aim through cooperation agreements with entities and companies, designing and implementing social responsibility policies within the Human Resources framework and also by developing reorientation and integration programmes that help people who find more obstacles in their search for employment. The Adecco Foundation team has 350 branches.

Indra is the premier Information Technology company in Spain and a leading IT multinational in Europe and Latin America. It is ranked as the second European company in its sector according to stock market capitalisation, and also the second Spanish company with the most investment in R&D. In 2008, revenues reached € 2,380 M, of which a third came from the international market. The company employs more than 29,000 professionals and has clients in more than 90 countries.