Demonstrations of the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure Technology in Action

Introductory Video to Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) Demonstrations

Link to video of demo that is described in pictures and text on this page

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Presentation by Dr. Gregg Vanderheiden on the Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure

Image of Gregg Vanderheiden giving a presentation on GPII at a conference on aging.

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Picture Walk-Through of Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure (GPII) Demonstrations

The Global Public Inclusive Infrastructure provides an easy way for users to auto-personalize information and communication technologies.  Using a needs and preferences profile they will be able to automatically configure computers, phones and other devices to make them easier to use.

The first implementations of the GPII were demonstrated at the World Summit of the Information Society (WSIS) meeting at the U.N., in Geneva from May 14 to 18, 2012, as well as at the 5th Cloud Computer Forum and Workshop, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), from June 5 to 7, 2012,  and the Concertation Meeting on Future Research Agendas for e-accessibility at the European Commission, in Brussels, Belgium, on June 7, 2012.

The picture sequence below provides a walk through of a couple of the demonstrations done at these venues. 

Use of an NFC Ring to cause computers to Auto-personalize

At the demonstrations, a set of rings with a small NFC (near field communication) chip inside was used to auto personalize both a laptop and smartphone to a wide range of different users. Holding the appropriate ring for each person up to the NFC tag reader on the computer or phone caused the computer or phone to change its interface to match the user's needs and abilities.    The demonstrations also showed how it could be done with a simple USB thumb drive.  With the thumb drive the features all were enabled when the thumb drive was inserted. When it was removed the computer went back to exactly the configuration before the thumb drive was inserted.   

A user holding their ring containing a small NFC tag up to the NFC reader of a Laptop.

As the person puts their ring on the laptop's NFC chip reader, a token that can be used to look up the persons needs and preferences is read from the chip. The preferences for this computer are then fetched and the computer is configured just for them. Touching it again causes the computer to go back to what it was before, making it easy for individuals to share the computer with others. 

One example shows how a person with low vision would have a built-in screen magnifier in Windows automatically appear and go to the right settings for them.

Another example shows how someone who is blind would launch a screen reader after scanning their ring.

Finally, an example shows how a person with learning disability would launch Read Write Gold - a commercial assistive technology - with the use of the NFC ring. 

Use of the ring to configure a computer for an elderly grandparent 

In this case an elderly grandparent in their 90s wants their grandchildren and nieces to write to them and send pictures. Youngsters say they don't write letters but if the grandparent would just get on email, Picasa and chat - they would be happy to talk with them.

After resisting for a log time - they finally give in. But when they sit down to the computer this is what they see.

An image containing several confusing browser windows for Gmail, Picasa, and chat

After a short while they give up and flee to the kitchen.   

But with GPII a very simple interface to these same programs could appear anytime they sat down to a computer (any computer) and inserted a special USB token or touched the computer with their NFC ring. When they do this, all of the complexity in the image above, including all of the menus and dialog boxes, start menus and desktop icons, all disappear and all the person sees is a simple white screen with three large icons on it; a mailbox, a photo album and an address book. 

Image of a simplified user interface with a picture of a mailbox, photo album and Address book only.  rest  of screen is blank

Touching the mailbox causes it to open, and out spill letters in traditional envelopes with stamps.

Same image as above except mailbox is open and several envelopes that look like post office letters  in the middle of the screen

Touching an envelope causes it to turn around, open and out slides a letter.

Same as above except one envelope has turned around a letter is coming out

Same picture as above except the open letter is shown as described in text below

The letter looks like a simple letter.  No "TO" or "BCC" fields .  No @'s or URLs. 

There are just three buttons on the bottom of the letter  "REPLY" "KEEP" and "THROW AWAY".  No other controls or menus.

Same as above except an additional piece of paper is next to the letter for the person to type their response.

Pressing REPLY causes another page to come onto the screen next to the email.  It simply says "TO" and the person's name.  It has just two buttons on the bottom: "SEND" and " THROW AWAY."

When done - the person hits send and a the letter goes into an envelope. 

The letter the person just wrote goes into an envelope and a tiny truck drives on screen from the left.

The envelope shrinks and goes into a small truck that has driven on to the screen. 

Same as above except that envelop has shrunken and moved to the tiny truck

 The truck then takes the envelope and drives off the right side of the screen.

Same as above but envelope is no longer visible and truck is driving off screen

 No longer do elders call up after they hit SEND, afraid that they did something wrong because the letter they just wrote disappeared and they don't know what happened or if they need to do something differently.

To look at pictures they just click on the album and the mail all goes back in the mailbox and stacks of pictures come out onto the desktop.  Touching any stack causes it increase in size.  Touching any picture causes it to come to the front. 

mailbox closed and letters replaced with a small stack of photos and a large stack of photos spread out.

If they want to call or write or chat with someone - they just touch the address book.

It then opens up to show them pictures with the names of their friends.  

Image of a simplified address book showing pictures with names under them

Touching a picture takes them to a page with simple buttons for calling the person, writing to them, looking at their pictures, or chatting with them if they are available. 

Same address book but now on page with a persons name and picture at top and 4 buttons.  Write an Email to Ingrid. Call Ingrid; View Ingrids Photos;  Engrid not available .

Auto-customizing computers for Farmers in Africa with no computer experience or ability to read

Last year at the World Summit on the Information Society (WSIS), a director for Telecenters in Sudan, Ahmed Eisa, saw the above demonstration and asked if a program that was simple like that could be created for farmers who could not read, and were confused or intimidated by computers.

Students working with him created the following application prototype.   At WSIS this year the GPII was used to show how any computer or even a smart phone could auto-configure into a very simple computer tuned to their needs and abilities. 

Touching the NFC ring (or inserting a special USB thumb drive) causes all complexity to disappear and instead show a simple screen with 4 buttons that appear: Weather, Animals, Grains, or Vegetables.

New screen with only 4 buttons down the right side. No text on buttons. Buttons are Weather, Animals, Grains, Vegetables

Touching the animals button causes the different types of animals he would be involved with to slide out next to the button he pressed.

Same picture as above except 4 icons slid out from under the animal button.   Camel, sheep, cow , lamb

Touching the lamb for example causes the other animals to go to the bottom of the screen  - and the lamb to go to the top.  Information about lambs also slides onto the screen.  The information gives a warning about a nearby outbreak of lamb flu.  It gives the price of a lamb in the two nearest markets to their village.  Also, it gives them a way to leave a voice inquiry about lambs or to listen to answers to questions other farmers have asked.   Since the farmer can't read, they only need to touch any text on the screen to have it read aloud to them in their dialect. 

same as above except lamb moved to top and other animals to bottom.  next to lamb is a warning in arabic about lamb flue.  below that are prices for lamb in two markets.  Finally is a button for sharing or getting information on lambs

Additional Information About this Page

We hope you will consider further exploring the GPII website, and consider getting involved in GPII as a sponsor, programmer, or other type of supporter.

For high-resolution versions of any of the images above, please contact Dan Nordstrom at