University of California, Berkeley
Project Euphemia is an augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) mobile and web application designed to bridge the nonverbal and the verbal to encompass different forms of conversations. Originally designed for Kathy Yuen, an individual with nonverbal autism who communicates through gestures and the Picture Exchange Communication System (PECS), Euphemia has since grown to meet the needs of other individuals with communication disabilities. In collaboration with the disability community, we aim to offer individuals with disabilities a chance to be in control of how they communicate. By rethinking and challenging how people experience communication, we hope to contribute to building a more inclusive society where all voices are heard.
Project Euphemia started as an independent research project Deborah (Debbie) Yuen conducted during her undergraduate studies at the University of California, Berkeley as part of her senior thesis from 2016-2020. With the support of her parents, Mrs. Jeanny Yuen and Mr. Barry Yuen, and her siblings, Kathy and Michael Yuen, this project was possible. Special thanks to Professor Rakesh Bhandari whom served as the advisor and mentor for this project. Alexander Thomas and Soumya Avva, computer science students at UC Berkeley and valuable team members who contributed to Project Euphemia’s back-end software development. Last but not least, the members and friends of the disability community were and will always be important team members. Special thanks to the nonprofit organizations, Friends of Children with Special Needs (FCSN), Abilities Unlimited, Irvine Unified School District (IUSD), Talk About Curing Autism (TACA) Orange County chapter, and Best Buddies at Berkeley. As this ongoing project continues to grow, we hope to include more members to our team. Please feel free to reach out if interested in joining!