Sun, consortium to drive tech accessibility project

Sun Microsystems is involved with a European Commission-funded effort to help improve disabled individuals' ability to use mobile devices, computers and rich Internet applications (RIAs), the company said Thursday.

About 20 other companies and groups from Europe and Canada are part of the consortium behind the which is backed by a grant from the Commission, along with matching contributions from members, for a total of €12.6 million (US$18 million) in funding.

AEGIS stands for "open Accessibility Everywhere: Groundwork, Infrastructure, Standards." It will employ open-source technologies "wherever possible," according to Sun.

Other members of the group include the Adaptive Technology Resource Centre of the University of Toronto, AOL, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, the University of Cambridge, the European Platform for Rehabilitation and the Vodafone Spain Foundation.

AEGIS' planned areas of focus for the desktop include an open-source framework for future magnification-based assistive technologies, according to Peter Korn, accessibility architect at Sun and technical manager of the AEGIS project.

"Fundamentally, we are looking to take advantage of advances in video hardware. What a cheap video card can do these days is really impressive," he said in an interview Thursday.