I am a visually impaired PhD student based in OpenLab at Newcastle University’s School of Computing. I have a strong interest in accessibility, with my research focusing on accessible autonomous vehicle interfaces for visually impaired people.
My PhD research sits within the areas of accessibility and disability justice and is focused on providing interfaces for people with visual impairments, to independently control fully autonomous vehicles. The research centres around the idea that – in autonomous vehicles – there should be a standardised set of controls. In a similar vein to the steering wheel and pedals, currently found in all vehicles on the road, the research is investigating if there should be a standard interface mechanism and set of controls across all autonomous vehicles, helping to maintain accessibility at the forefront of development.
To accomplish this goal, my research focuses on identifying how those with visual impairments currently interact with autonomous vehicles. This aims to identify the controls and interfaces needed for visually impaired people to build a sense of trust in autonomous vehicles and have confidence using them, so these vehicles can reach their full potential in society.
Whilst researching for my PhD, I also work as a Postgraduate Teaching Assistant within the School of Computing at Newcastle University. This role involves my assisting with teaching duties for both undergraduate and postgraduate students within the school, including modules on Java and web development.
Prior to returning to Newcastle University, I worked for a national sight loss charity in the UK. This work involved assisting visually impaired students to make their education at school and university accessible. My work also involved producing digital content, exploring how mainstream technology can make the world a more accessible place for those living with visual impairments.
I also hold a BSc in Computer Science from Newcastle University. This combined with my visual impairment has taught me the importance of accessibility throughout the development process, from enhanced user experiences to improved specification and code structuring, to benefit everyone. It is this which has led to my research interest in the accessibility potential of autonomous vehicles.
Outside the lab, I have a keen interest in travel and love the opportunity to explore new places whenever I can. My research directly links with my love of travel, and it is my belief that one day, visually impaired people will be able to tour the world in their fully autonomous cars.