Gates alumnus appointed to UN agency working group

  • June 15, 2011
Gates alumnus appointed to UN agency working group

Pradipta Biswas will coordinate a group on improving AV access for disabled people.

A Gates alumnus has been appointed coordinator of the working group of a UN agency which aims to make audiovisual media accessible to people with disabilities.

Pradipta Biswas was appointed last month at a meeting in Geneva designed to make the UN act on accessibility to audiovisual material via modern electronic devices like digital television, computers or smart phones.

His role is to scope the terms which the working group will cover, including what counts as audiovisual material and what is meant by accessibility. He will contact experts in the field to get their views, talk to them about what they can do to improve accessibility and how. The working group includes big industry players.

“We will be looking at developing a unified standard for designing media so that it is accessible to disabled and elderly people,” he says, “and finding out why the existing system is not working for some people.”

The Focus Group on Audiovisual Media Accessibility is a working group of the International Telecommunication Union, a specialised agency of the United Nations which is responsible for information and communication technologies.

Pradipta [2006]was appointed as a result of work he has been doing with the European Union Task Force on Standardisation of User Models. He will also soon represent the University at a meeting of the International Organization for Standardization.

He completed his PhD in Computer Science in 2010 and is now a research associate in the Engineering Design Centre at Cambridge where he is researching ways of making modern digital devices, particularly interactive systems, accessible to elderly users and people with different ranges of abilities.

He cites the example of people who have lost some of their vision and find it difficult to see a small screen, people with hearing problems who may be helped by audio captioning or people with problems pressing buttons who could use something similar to a Wii remote in place of a normal tv remote control. “It’s about using interactive elements of devices like iPhones for tvs and computers. We are looking to increase people’s enjoyment of audiovisual media,” he says.

He hopes that the Focus Group will provide a platform for him to disseminate his research to big industry players and experts in this field. Its next meeting is in September.

Photo credit: Ambro and www.digitalphotos.net

 

Latest News

Public engagement through children’s stories

An award-winning science communicator and tv presenter who honed his communication skills as a Gates Cambridge Scholar is launching a colourful children’s book about gravity. Dr Niraj Lal’s new children’s book, Henry the Flying Emu, is being launched by well-known science journalist broadcaster Robyn Williams AO, host of the ABC Science Show. The book tells the story […]

Affecting change for the Māori community

Self-determination lies at the centre of Māori culture. “It’s a way of life,” says Chris Tooley. That idea is also at the heart of his PhD studies at Cambridge and his subsequent work in Parliament and in the community. Chris grew up with a strong sense of being part of the Māori community. He has ancestral […]

On the COVID frontline

Three Gates Cambridge scholars who have been on the medical frontline during the COVID-19 pandemic will be speaking about their experiences at a virtual event next weekend. The event, organised by the Gates Cambridge Alumni Association, will be moderated by Elizabeth Dzeng, Assistant Professor of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco in the […]

New game tackles Covid conspiracies

A new online game that puts players in the shoes of a purveyor of fake pandemic news is the latest tactic in the UK Government’s efforts to tackle the deluge of coronavirus misinformation that is misleading many and costing lives across the world. Launched to the public today, the Go Viral! game has been developed by the […]