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Fujitsu and Kagawa University Begin Joint Research on Smartphone Application for Children with Special Needs

Kagawa University,Fujitsu Limited

Tokyo, July 01, 2011

Fujitsu Limited and Kagawa University today announced the start of joint research looking into how smartphones can provide lifestyle and educational support to children with special needs and their guardians.

By leveraging the ability of smartphones to be intuitively operated, the new research aims to raise the quality of life for children requiring special assistance. In addition, Fujitsu is developing emotional expression support software for children who have difficulty expressing their emotions.

Research Overview

1. Objective

The project aims to raise the quality of life for children requiring special assistance through the use of smartphones, a central ICT device in people's lives.

2. Timeframe

Friday, July 1, 2011, to Thursday, March 31, 2012.

3. Intended Users

Children with developmental disabilities (such as learning disabilities and autism) and intellectual disabilities who are enrolled in elementary, middle, or special-needs schools, as well as their guardians, caretakers, teachers, and supporters.

4. Research Details

Smartphones loaded with software developed by Fujitsu will be provided on loan to teachers, caretakers, and guardians for a number of months. The research team will then examine and analyze the software's effectiveness based on observations of its use by the children, as well as through surveys and interviews.

5. Software

The new software is based on a mobile application that underwent field testing to verify its effectiveness and was subsequently publicly-released by Fujitsu and Kagawa University in fiscal 2010. It includes expanded and enhanced features that enable it to take advantage of the special characteristics of smartphones.

(1) Newly developed software that helps users express emotion
The software consists of a slider for selecting between five different levels of emotional intensity and a character face icon that displays changes in emotion. When the slider is moved to the left or right on the screen, the character's facial expression changes accordingly, thereby enabling users to express how they feel.

(2) Enhanced software to help users understand the stroke order of kanji and hiragana characters
Fujitsu has added a new feature to this software that takes advantage of the special characteristics of smartphones to enable users to trace characters.

(3) Software to help users understand time.

(4) Software to help users communicate and make inferences.

Background to the Joint Research

The School for Children with Special Needs and Classroom "Subaru" for Children with Special Needs, which are both affiliated with Kagawa University's Faculty of Education, provide education and support for children with special needs. In particular, the schools are implementing educational and support programs using ICT for children with developmental disabilities (such as learning disabilities and autism) and intellectual disabilities.

At the same time, Fujitsu has provided support to children with special needs using mobile phones. In October 2010, Fujitsu developed and began offering three free applications: "timer," "picture cards" and "handwriting." With the latest joint-research project with Kagawa University, Fujitsu aims to provide even more intuitive support using smartphones, which have rapidly gained popularity in recent years, in order to raise the quality of life for children requiring special assistance.

Future Initiatives

Upon completion of this joint research, Fujitsu and Kagawa University plan to widely publish the results and provide information about sample software applications as well as their effectiveness to educational institutions, support centers, and caretakers. Furthermore, Fujitsu intends to improve the functionality and user-friendliness of these software packages based on these results and to encourage broader use of such software within society in the future.

In the future, Fujitsu and Kagawa University will continue to pursue research on how ICT can effectively assist children with special needs.

About Fujitsu

Fujitsu is the leading Japanese information and communication technology (ICT) company offering a full range of technology products, solutions and services. Over 170,000 Fujitsu people support customers in more than 100 countries. We use our experience and the power of ICT to shape the future of society with our customers. Fujitsu Limited (TSE:6702) reported consolidated revenues of 4.5 trillion yen (US$55 billion) for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2011. For more information, please see

Press Contacts

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Company:Fujitsu Limited

All other company or product names mentioned herein are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective owners. Information provided in this press release is accurate at time of publication and is subject to change without advance notice.

This press release has been revised as of December 17, 2018.

Date: 01 July, 2011
City: Tokyo
Company: Kagawa University, Fujitsu Limited, , , , , , , , ,