OATS (Open Source Assistive Technology Software) is a project to make open source assistive technology software available for all.
Making software Open Source, that is allowing the code to be freely available, offers great potential for both the promotion of use and further development. However, Open Sourcing has tended to be aligned with the specialist software engineering community and there are currently a number of barriers that hinder it’s application for users of Assistive Technology.
This project aims to remove the barriers to Open Source Assistive Technology Software and to promote new Open Source development projects.
The project will provide a website-based ‘repository’ or library of Open Source and freeware software of relevance to users of Assistive Technology. The website design will focus on accessibility and usability. Users will be able to browse for different software applications that meet their individual needs and then download and install the software on their own computers.
The website will also provide a forum for users of Assistive Technology to communicate with other users and software engineers to post ideas for new projects. Projects will be progressed within a part of the OATS website known as the ‘forge’ equipped with software development tools.
Users of a wide range of Assistive Technology will benefit from having a single, easily used website for accessing and downloading available Open Source and freeware software.
Open Source software development engineers will benefit from the opportunity to learn from others what is currently available and where there is demand for new developments.
The wider community will benefit from aligning the needs of users of assistive technology with software development engineers.
OATS is sponsored by the Gatsby Foundation, ACT (Access to Communication and Technology), and the Swedish Institute for Special Needs Education.
The project is under the direction of the ACE Centre working in collaboration with ACT and Department of Applied Computing at the University of Dundee.
Additional consultancy is being provided by Swedish Institute for Special Needs Education.
The project also gratefully acknowledges support from volunteer Open Source software engineers.