9 September 2010Spain
  • The Universitat de Lleida, through the Indra-Adecco Foundation Chair, presents important innovations for VirtualKeyboard and the HeadMouse virtual mouse.
  • The VirtualKeyboard version 2.0 increases its functionality by emulating and even improving the abilities of an actual keyboard.
  • The improvements included in HeadMouse version 3.0 expand the tool´s group of potential users.

This morning, the Universitat de Lleida (UdL) presented the two new versions of the virtual keyboard –VirtualKeyboard 2.0- and of the HeadMouse 3.0 virtual mouse, both aimed at facilitating access to new technologies for people with motor skills disabilities.

The continuous progress of these projects, which were established as part of the Chairs of Accessible Technologies that Indra carries out in collaboration with the Adecco Foundation, responds to the need of advancing research that makes possible and facilitates access to new technologies for people with reduced mobility. The new versions of HeadMouse and VirtualKeyboard include features that address the improvements suggested by users who have already downloaded the application throughout the world (in total, there have been more than 280,000 downloads of HeadMouse and VirtualKeyboard, most from Spain and Latin America--Chile, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina or Brazil).

New version of HeadMouse

During the presentation, Dr. Jordi Palacín, professor at the Universitat de Lleida and scientific director of the Indra-Adecco Foundation Chair, explained that the new version of HeadMouse 3.0 provides faster application operation and better accessibility for a new range of users with severe movement limitations since side movements are not necessary to start the application.

Additionally, this new version--which is already available for download at the Indra website www.tecnologiasaccesibles.com or http://robotica.udl.cat--includes a new user detection mechanism that makes it possible for there to be other people next to the user in case assistance is needed. In regards to the environment conditions, the new version allows the system to operate without any complications in low light conditions. The new system also expands its compatibility with more types of web cameras, including built-in laptop computer cameras.



Innovative applications of VirtualKeyboard

In regards to VirtualKeyboard--an application that emulates a conventional keyboard and displays a keyboard on the computer screen that may be used with different types of pointers (virtual mouse, joystick, etc.), allowing predictive text writing by pressing the virtual keys--technological innovations have been incorporated that facilitate writing to a maximum for people with motor skills disabilities who cannot use conventional keyboards.

The new version´s functionality is more similar to an actual keyboard in terms of quick access keys, numeric keypad, etc., and its ability to predict the current word being written as well as the next one has also been improved. Tests carried out by writing literary texts or reports prove that the improvements implemented in the new version make it possible to reduce the keystrokes necessary by 50% (compared to the previous version´s 40%).

The 2.0 version of the keyboard also offers the important innovation of being able to write in different languages since it´s compatible with the symbols and characters of more than 20 languages. Additionally, the keyboard has undergone a redesign and a general improvement so that most of the common special functions and options may be used with a single click. In this regard, new applications have been introduced, such as the numeric keypad, simple cut-and-paste actions (CTRL-C and CTRL-V), and the direct button for erasing a word in the dictionary, which is very useful in the case of writing a word that shouldn´t be saved in the dictionary.


Continuity of the Indra - Adecco Foundation Chair at the UdL

As part of the presentation event, both the rector of the Universitat de Lleida, Joan Viñas, as well as Indra´s director in Catalonia, Manel Brufau, and the general director of the Adecco Foundation, Francisco Mesonero, reaffirmed their commitment towards social responsibility by renewing the collaboration agreement signed in 2008. This provides continuity to the activities of researching, developing and transferring technology, as well as training and dissemination, in the field of information technology and communication.

The objectives of the Indra – Adecco Foundation Chair at the Universitat de Lleida are apparent in the update of the HeadMouse system and the optimisation of VirtualKeyboard. By combining both applications, a person with a disability is able to use the virtual keyboard using HeadMouse, allowing them to write faster and with a minimum effort. The combination of both tools optimises the labour environment of a person with a disability and provides them with access to jobs that are based on the use of new technologies.




Additional information

The following website includes photos, screen shots, and a video of VirtualKeyboard version 2.0 and HeadMouse version 3.0:


Indra is the number one Information Technology multinational in Spain, and one of the leaders in Europe and Latin America. It is the top European company of its sector in terms of R&D, and it´s also the second Spanish company that most invests in R&D overall. With €2,513 million in revenues for 2009, its international activity represented nearly 40%. The company employs more than 29.000 professionals and has clients in more than 100 countries.

Universitat de Lleida is a public institution with approximately 8,657 students and 955 professors. It is made up of seven internal centres and three affiliated centres. The Universitat de Lleida is a member of the Agencia para la Calidad del Sistema Universitario en Cataluña (Agency for Quality in the Catalonia University System), which periodically carries out institutional assessments of university services and degrees. The Universitat de Lleida holds the top position of public state universities in terms of teaching quality, according to the most recent report by the Fundación Conocimiento y Desarrollo (CyD, Knowledge and Development Foundation) that corresponds to 2008.

Adecco Foundation carries out its social objective of professionally integrating people with difficulties in accessing the labour market through collaboration agreements with entities and companies, designing and implementing social responsibility policies within the framework of human resources, and developing re-orientation and integration programmes that facilitate access to jobs for people who face additional challenges. The Adecco Foundation team relies on the support of the 350 Adecco offices.

For more information:

Universitat de Lleida
Leo Badia
Tel.: 973 702124
E-mail: cristina.vall-llosada@porternovelli.es

Porter Novelli - Indra Communication Consultant in Catalonia
Cristina Vall-Llosada
Tel: 93 457 13 00
Tel: 620 29 78 62
E-mail: leo@acm.udl.cat