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Research proposal assignment: Smart Home for Deaf & Mute People


Task: Write a detailed research proposal assignment on the topic “smart home for deaf and mute people”.


1. Introduction
There are multiple care homes around the world for deaf and mute people that assist them in tackling their barriers in life. These homes are specifically built to help them grow skills that they can use to survive in life even without the sense of hearing or ability to talk. Some other homes are also built to support deaf and mute people who are either orphans or abandoned by their families. Most of these homes are run by people and all the operations are executed manually including handling internal and external operations, helping the admitted people to learn survival skills and others (Sood and Mishra 2016). However, with the groundbreaking evolution of technology in recent times, most of the manual operations everywhere have been partially or fully replaced by technical solutions that help in automated functions with minimal human involvement. In addition to this, there are also “smart” devices that perform various functions and assist users in various stages of life. These smart devices are mostly automated with minimal manual control and can perform activities that were beyond imagination even two decades ago. Now, the care homes for deaf and mute are also looking to implement smart devices that will help in assisting the deaf and mute people (Al Mamun, Polash and Alamgir 2017). The new concept, called “smart home”, is proposed to be implemented on a large scale around the world that will boost the care process with significantly with less manual involvement while also providing considerable amount of assistance to the people requiring care in the homes.

The purpose of this report is to develop a plan for an extensive research on smart homes that are proposed to be built for assisting deaf and mute people. The report focuses significantly on a detailed review of literature followed by an elaborated plan to conduct the research and finalise the entire content with summary and proposal for future work.

2. Literature Review
2.1 Introduction to Literature

Various authors have researched about care homes assisting people with hearing and speech disabilities. They have focused on various techniques that are used in these homes and also recommended use of other techniques that might be used. With extensive study of the literature, the current state of affairs in these homes can be easily understood. However, the proposed smart care home concept is relatively new and there are very few works focused on this topic. In certain literature works of the last decade, various authors suggested the use of technology to boost the operations of these homes and assist the admitted people needing help in a much better way. However, back then, no specific technology was suggested as they were not available at that time. Even in the current times, research works based on this smart home concept are rare and mostly academic. Although there are several research works on smart technology as a whole, the numbers of research focused on smart homes assisting deaf and mute people are much lesser. In spite of this, literature review is conducted on smart homes for the deaf and mute people and further plan is developed for a detailed research plan on the same.

2. Review of Ten Literary Works with Pros and Cons
According to the researchers Ciabattoniet al.(2018) who conducted a study on smart systems for disabled people, various smart devices are now available that might be of very much assistance to the disabled people. The authors mentioned that in the current care homes, the hearing and speech disabled people are trained to interact with people and the environment using sign languages but that main problem with this concept is that most of the non-disabled people fail to understand the sign languages. As a result, even after the disabled people learning to communicate in some way, the communication gap between the disabled and non-disabled people still remains. The authorsSohelranaet al. (2020) have explored the use of the latest “smart gloves” that help to convert sign languages to normal language so that this communication gap is finally broken. The authors Primyaet al. (2021) mentioned that the use of smartphones along with these smart devices can be effective to bridge the communication gap between the two different categories of people. Moreover, with the assistance of these smart devices, as per the authors, there are no more requirements for special care homes for the disabled people. The smart devices can be used at their own homes and also, they are quite easy to use and train and hence, there are no requirements for the intervention of special trainers (Srivastavaet al. 2019). They just require the availability of the smart phone and the smart devices, the use of which can be taught by the people at home only. The pro of these papers is that it discusses a very relevant technology whose use is in rise and can provide a suitable solution for deaf and mute but the main con is that they did not explore much regarding development of more functionalities for these devices.

Authors Assim and Al-Omary(2020) explored a more complex smart system that can be extremely beneficial for the disabled people. The authors mentioned the application of smart home information system that utilises various hardware and software components for multiple purposes. This type of system is nothing new as it was available several years back as well. However, the main problem with this kind of system was that this was not very much beneficial for disabled people as they had limited functionalities and often not perceptible for disabled people that included the deaf and the mute (van Ditmar 2019).

For example, one such system that governed the security of the home, created an alarm if the security is breached. Since the alarm was completely sound based, it was of no use for the people with hearing disability. Again, another such system with visual alerts like flashing red lights was of no use for the blind people. However, the authors have recommended a possible solution with the assistance of smart technologies such that these problems can be avoided and the system can be useful for the disabled people as well (Sood and Mishra 2016). The authors suggested altering the output of the systems to be converted into multiple formats so that they suit all types of people. For example, one security breach alarm could be raised in multiple formats like sound alarm, flashing light alarm as well as strong vibration of the smartphone along with an alert message displayed on screen (Duhan and Gulati 2020). With different formats of alert output, the system will suit both non-disabled and differently disabled people and can provide a very good solution for smart home system. The authors have also mentioned that this type of technology will be widely used and implemented globally within the next 5-10 years. The main pro of these papers used is that they have delved into some futuristic technologies that might be beneficial but the con is that the discussed technologies might not be affordable or feasible for use for all.

Barakat(2020) proposed the use of another smart technology that might be of assistance to the disabled people. This concept is similar to the smart gloves but in this case, the proposed system does not require any specific sensor based usable component. This system requires visual sensors within the hardware that analyses the sign gestures of the disabled people and displays the conveyed information on the screen for the understanding of other people (Haideret al. 2020). The author said that this system will be cheaper as there are no requirements for extra components with embedded sensors like gloves. Instead, it will only require some basic upgrade of the hardware and software that will allow the system to analyse sign language gestures and convert it into readable text information. The pro of these papers selected in this paragraph is that they provide significant technical details of the functioning of the device and the main con is that this technology is still few good years ahead of current time.

2.3 Conclusion
From the study of the literature as explained above, it can be concluded that are a lot of possibilities of smart devices that can be used to assist the disabled people and build a “smart home” for them. With the development of smart homes, the requirements for separate care homes will no longer necessary as the disabled people will be assisted by the smart technology. However, this is subjected to further research to analyse if they constitute a feasible system in terms of various factors that are further discussed in this report.

3. Challenges in Study and Tackling the Challenges
The main challenges that might be faced in this particular study are listed as follows.

  • Due to the academic nature of the research, access to resources will be limited and hence, the research will also be limited as a whole.
  • Limited amount of funding means the project will be hindered unless there is very effective and efficient resource management.
  • Since the research is academic, the scope of conducting primary research will be very limit and will be focused on a specific region only. Hence, the research might not reflect a true global perspective.

In spite of these challenges, there are ways to effectively manage the limitations and perform the research to the best of accuracy. The researcher needs to understand the limitation of resources and hence, they must be handled efficiently so that there is no misuse of any available resource. Expenses while conducting the research must be limited in order to cope with the limited funding issue. Finally, for global perspective, since primary research is not sufficient, secondary research will have to conducted additionally by focusing on collecting data from as much diverse regions as possible. Accumulating the data from diverse sources may help to limit the bias and present at least some global perspective in the research results.

4. Discussion and Project Plan Development
4.1 Aims and Objectives

The main aim of this project is to conduct a research on smart homes for deaf and mute people. The objectives are developed accordingly as follows.

  • To investigate the current situation of deaf and mute people at home and care homes
  • To investigate smart devices and its applications at homes
  • To investigate the concept of smart homes
  • To determine if the smart home concept is suitable to benefit the mute and deaf people

4.2 Research Questions
The purpose of developing research questions is to provide a direction to the research. Once the research questions are developed, the research gets the idea on the direction in which he will proceed to complete the research. The research can be marked as completed once the research questions are answered with logic gathered from the outcomes of the data analysis performed in the research. In this case, the research questions are developed as follows.

  • How are the deaf and mute people trained to interact with other people and the environment currently?
  • How can the smart home system help the deaf and mute people for communication and interaction purposes?
  • Are the smart devices sufficient to replace manual help from care givers for the survival of the disabled people?

4.3 Research Tasks
The entire research will have the following tasks listed as follows:

Research Tasks in research proposal assignment

As seen from the list of tasks, there are four main phases of this particular research project. The project kicks off with research initiation when the instructions are provided by the supervisor to select a topic and submit a proposal. Initially, a number of topics were selected and studied to determine which one will be followed for the research. Once the topic was selected, it was communicated to the supervisor and based on his approval, the topic was finalised. A research proposal was developed and submitted to the supervisor and approval was granted to proceed.

The project is currently in the planning stage in which, a detailed plan is being developed. Before proceeding to the plan, a literature review has been conducted in order to develop the foundation of the research. The planning part includes finalising list of tasks, developing the timeline, identifying the risks and setting specific standards of work.

Once the plan is approved, the actual research will be initiated that will involve collection of both primary and secondary data. For the purpose of data analysis, thematic analysis will be performed along with the use of NVIVO software for conducting qualitative analysis of data. Based on the outcomes of the analysis, the final results will be documented.

In the last phase, the entire research will be documented in the form of a research report that will then be submitted to the supervisor for grading purposes. Once graded, the module will be finally completed, signed off and officially closed before proceeding to the next module.

4.4 Information Sources and Resource Requirements
For this particular research, the main information sources will be literature and other online resources available for public viewing and use. These online resources might include research breakthrough report, project reports from companies and others. In addition to these secondary sources, primary data will be collected through interviews conducted on the industry personnel who are involved in developing smart home systems. Funding will be necessary to unlock online libraries as well as conducting the interviews for data collection. Resources like NVIVO and other essential software will be available in the university itself and can be used for conducting the research.

4.5 Project Risks
Some risks that might occur in the project are discussed in the following table.

Risk Details




Incomplete research due to lack of funding



Resources and funding must be managed effectively and efficiently

Biased information from interviews



Use secondary data to minimise bias as much as possible

Discreet results obtained from NVIVO



Modify the research questions with proper choice of dependant and independent variables

Plagiarism within the research report



Avoid copy pasting of contents from other people’s works; quotations used in the report must be cited with appropriate acknowledge to original author(s)

4.6 Professional, Social, Ethical and Legal Issues
While conducting the research, certain issues must be kept in mind and avoid using appropriate measures as discussed as follows. ProfessionalIssues – The data gathered from interviews as a part of primary data collection must have certain degree of discretion and the respondents’ details must not be disclosed with specific responses. Confidentiality agreement must be done with the interview participants before starting the research.

SocialIssues – Deceptions to gather data, selling or misusing the data collected from different sources, using the data for personal gain and other such activities must be avoided at all costs. It is the responsibility of the researcher to act professionally and avoid activities that might affect the society negatively. Ethical Issues – Altering the data in order to prove a hypothesis, disclosing the identities of interview participants, copy pasting works of others without acknowledge them and use of pirated resources to obtain data are some of the most common issues. These must be avoided at all costs.

Legal Issues – Legal issues can be avoided by operating lawfully and following legal guidelines of data usage. Using exploits to access confidential information, use of pirated resources to obtain data and forcing an individual to take part in interview without his consent are some of the legal issues that can happen and should be avoided.

4.7 Project Timeline
The project timeline developed based on the list of tasks is shown as follows.

Research Tasks in research proposal assignment

Research Tasks in research proposal assignment

Figure 1: Gantt chart for the Proposed Project Timeline
(Source: Created by Author)

4.8 Discussion about Smart Home and Concepts to Explore
From the literature review conducted earlier in the report, it is known that the smart home concept has been developed only recently and the current devices and equipments used in smart homes are not sufficient for assisting disabled people with hearing and speech disabilities. However, researchers have hoped that the smart home systems can be evolved further in order to be inclusive for all types of people including non-disabled and disabled individuals (Haideret al. 2020). Some of the basic concepts that have been explored include studying gestures of mute and deaf people using special sensors, developing home security system by linking with the user’s smartphones and producing alerts through phone vibration and texts so that the deaf and mute people can understand the critical nature of the situation.

However, in order to develop such high level of technology, it will be required to conduct further technical research that should also include using equipments and components such that these systems are affordable for all types of people (Srivastavaet al. 2019). Currently, researchers fear that the modern smart home systems have limited functions but at the same time, extremely expensive and not affordable for all. The main research will focus on these systems and will look to find solutions that will help to develop a sustainable and feasible outcome for these smart systems.

5. Summary and Conclusion
5.1 Summary

Overall, this paper focused on the concept of smart home for the deaf and the mute and it includes project plan as well as initial exploration of the topic through literature survey. The initial literature review suggested certain points that are very relevant to the concept of smart home for disabled people. Among different concepts proposed by authors as well as currently available in the market, three main concepts have been explored through the literature review. The first concept that are explored includes smart gloves that have sensors embedded within it and these sensors are able to send signals to the smartphone once the person wearing the gloves perform a sign language gesture and the smartphone can display the message in the form of text. The next technology under focus was the smart home information system. This system will work with multiple functionalities and as cited by the authors in the chosen article, one sample function of this type of information system can be one security breach alarm that will be raised in multiple formats like sound alarm, flashing light alarm as well as strong vibration of the smartphone along with an alert message displayed on screen. It has been learned from the authors’ point of view that with different formats of alert output, the system will suit both non-disabled and differently disabled people and can provide a very good solution for smart home system. As per the study based on the authors’ perspectives, it can be assumed that this type of technology will be widely used and implemented globally within the next 5-10 years. The final technology under focus is a visual gesture capturing system in which, the system sensors can capture hand gestures without having to wear smart gloves. The system will be intelligent enough to convert the visual gestures into texts that can then be read by other users.

However, narrowing the study into only three types of technologies will not be sufficient to explore the concept of affordable smart home for the disabled people. Hence, further planning was developed in order to conduct a more extensive research on the selected topic.

5.2 Conclusion
From the initial bit of study conducted mostly based on literature, it can be concluded that smart home for disabled is a very interesting and at the same time very important concept that can actually help the disabled people in multiple ways that includes bridging the communication gap between disabled and non-disabled people, providing automated security system at the home of the disabled people and others. Moreover, this new technology can also help reduce the need for special care homes where the disabled people are taken care of and trained to communicate with other people and also survive on their own. However, in spite of the advantages that have been discussed, there are also cons of the smart home technology. Firstly, this technology is extremely expensive and not affordable for most of the people. Moreover, implementing and using such advanced technology requires strong technical knowledge that might not be possessed by the disabled people under focus. Finally, this kind of technology exists conceptually in the current set up and is also not expected to be 100% accurate. It requires more research and development before it can be finally implemented on a mass scale globally.

5.3 Future Work
As already mentioned under the previous header, the entire future of this new technology relies on the serious future work that will be conducted on this particular technology. There are lots of room for further study that will focus on different technologies related to smart home for disabled with strong focus on developing a system that will be sustainable and feasible for all categories of disabled people. Furthermore, future studies will ensure new concepts are born that are better and more effective than the currently developed concepts. Future researchers must focus on the sustainability and the affordability of new smart systems so that all people are able to implement them in their homes. The governments should also look into these future works to ensure smart homes are promoted for the benefits of the disabled people.

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