Keyboard Layout Optimization for ALS Patients

In case you missed it, you may find below our webinar in collaboration with DSSG.

For most of us, typing is the easiest part of transmitting a written message: we type and walk without even looking at the keyboard. I rewrote this abstract 3-4 times – writing wasn’t the issue, the message was. For ALS patients, there is a whole different story. Each movement may become a major physical challenge, getting in the way of communicating with others.⠀

In this talk, we discuss how we used Data Science to optimize a keyboard layout to minimize the typing workload of ALS patients. This project was motivated by Anthony Carbajal, a full-time daily life hacker that aims to find innovative ways to improve his and other ALS-patient lives.

Our solution was based on Metaheuristics optimization. We combined Genetic Algorithms and many other algorithms to find the best layout.

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Metaheuristics: Theory and Applications

Learn more about Metaheuristics in our course.

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Also, after the webinar, we co-organized a competition in collaboration with DSSG where we challenged the community to propose and optimize new keyboard variants. You can see the video with the results from the winning team here.

Photo by Major Tom Agency on Unsplash

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