felzerWith great sadness the SIGACCESS Leadership marks the passing of Dr. Torsten Felzer on March 18th, 2016. Torsten was an inspiring, important and much loved member of the SIGACCESS community. His research focused on assistive technology for people with severe motor impairments. He published more than 50 academic papers on text input and mouse control at various venues and in academic journals, including at the International ACM SIGACCESS Conferences on Computers and Accessibility (ASSETS). He was the organizer of the Text Entry Challenge at ASSETS and its longtime Program Committee member.

Torsten was born in 1970 in Ingelhein am Rhein, Germany. He spent most of his academic life at TU Darmstadt, Germany, where he received his Dipl.-Inform. and Dr.-Ing. degrees, both cum laude. His last appointment was as a researcher in a project titled EFFENDI – (Efficient and Fast text Entry element for persons with motor Disabilities of neuromuscular origin) at TU Darmstadt.

In his research Torsten studied the use of biosensors in human-machine interaction and human-computer interaction. He developed a system of electromyographic control of a motorized wheelchair. He also developed numerous prototypes of text entry systems, operated by muscle contractions as well as innovative keyboard layouts.

We have lost an influential researcher and colleague with first-hand insight into the technology access needs of those with severe motor impairments and who worked systematically at overcoming his disability while contributing to the state-of-the-art of assistive technology for people with Friedrich’s ataxia and other motor impairments.