Personal profile


Rolf Black Dipl.-Ing. MSc is a member of the Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) Research Group ( at Dundee University and holds an honorary contract with NHS Tayside as a researcher.

Current Projects:

  • ACE-LP: Enhancing Augmentative Communication. The ACE-LP Project (Augmenting Communication using Environmental Data to drive Language Prediction) brings together research expertise in Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) (University of Dundee), Intelligent Interactive Systems (University of Cambridge), and Computer Vision and Image Processing (University of Dundee) to develop a predictive AAC system that will address these prohibitively slow communication rates by introducing the use of multimodal sensor data to inform state of the art language prediction (for more details please visit the project page).
  • Tap and Talk. The Tap and Talk project supports adults with aphasia through group sessions with the use of iPads. iPads can help when communicating by giving access to images, speech output of written text and communication programs such email and web browsers (for more details please visit the project page).
  • Outer Space | Inner Space (OSIS). This award winning public engagement project brings together an interdisciplinary group of researchers with one of Dundee's iconic landmarks, The Mills Observatory - Britain’s first purpose-built public observatory on the summit of Balgay Hill in the heart of Dundee. In this project we have developed an adaptable space and activities under the theme "Ways of Seeing" the invisible universe (for more details please visit the project page).

Rolf is a Mechanical Engineer (University of Hanover, Germany, 1996) and Bioengineer (MSc, Strathclyde University, Glasgow, 1995, with a grant of the German Academic Exchange Service). For his undergraduate thesis he developed the mechanism for a bi-axial orthotic hip joint which has been patented and is being successfully marketed by a leading provider of Orthotics and Prosthetics, Otto Bock Healthcare GmbH. He has a professional background as a rehabilitation engineer and extensive experience with children with complex communication needs (CCN).

He co-founded EO-Funktion GmbH in Germany in 1999 (now “Made for Movement”), a leading company in supplying dynamic walking frames for children with complex motor disabilities. After his move from Germany to Scotland he joined Prof Annalu Waller and her team in 2005, now researching in augmentative and alternative communication (AAC). He is has been leading the evaluation phases of research projects under Prof Waller such as

  • "How was School today…?" - Supporting narrative for non-speaking children (as Researcher Co-Investigator),
  • "STANDUP" - System To Augment Non-speakers' Dialogue Using Puns, and
  • "The PhonicStick" - Providing Children with CCN with access to Phonemic Speech Output.

The first two projects were funded by the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council; all evaluations incorporated extensive interaction with children with CCN and were partially based at Capability Scotland sites.

"How was School today…?" is an award winning cutting-edge project aimed to help children with CCN to share their experiences from school with parents. It won the 2010 TES Schools Award for Outstanding ICT Learning Initiative of the Year for project partner Capability Scotland (Corseford School) and was shortlisted for the BCS UK IT Industry Awards 2010.

The PhonicStick pilot project (funded by Capability Scotland), which Rolf co-initiated, led to a patent application in 2006 (granted for the US in 2012) and to an international travel grant by the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2008 to present at the international conference of the International Society of Alternative and Augmentative Communications.

Education/Academic qualification

Master in Science, University of Strathclyde

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

  • 11 Similar Profiles
Communication Engineering & Materials Science
Tooth Medicine & Life Sciences
Acoustic waves Engineering & Materials Science
Dentists Medicine & Life Sciences
Communication systems Engineering & Materials Science
Intellectual Disability Medicine & Life Sciences
Communication Disorders Medicine & Life Sciences
Dyslexia Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2008 2017

Exploring new designs of predictive AAC with disabled participants

Waller, A., Black, R. & Rashid, Z. 15 Sep 2017

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper


Involving people with severe speech and physical impairments in the early design of a context-aware AAC system

Waller, A., Black, R. & Rashid, Z. 10 Sep 2017 p. 34 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract

Open Access
Application programs
Mobile devices
Software engineering
Communication systems

ACE-LP: Augmenting Communication using Environmental Data to drive Language Prediction

Black, R., Kristensson, P. O., Zhang, J., Waller, A., Bano, S., Rashid, Z. & Norrie, C. 11 Sep 2016 1 p.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePoster

Communication systems
3 Citations

Personal storytelling: Using Natural Language Generation for children with complex communication needs, in the wild...

Tintarev, N., Reiter, E., Black, R., Waller, A. & Reddington, J. 1 Aug 2016 In : International Journal of Human Computer Studies. 92-93, p. 1-16 16 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
2 Citations

The Video Interaction Guidance approach applied to teaching communication skills in dentistry

Quinn, S., Herron, D., Menzies, R., Scott, L., Black, R., Zhou, Y., Waller, A., Humphris, G. & Freeman, R. May 2016 In : European Journal of Dental Education. 20, 2, p. 94-101 8 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

communication skills


1st Place, Student Research Competition Graduate Award

Rolf Black (Recipient), 24 Oct 2011

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Acoustic waves

Brian Cox Prize - Project of the Year

Rolf Black (Recipient) & Amy Cameron (Recipient), 2016

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

honors and awards

Activities 2014 2017

Outer Space | Inner Space

Black, R. (Participant), Amy Cameron (Organiser)
1 Oct 201631 Aug 2017

Activity: Festival/Exhibition

A New Way of Viewing the Universe

Black, R. (Presenter)
7 Oct 2015

Activity: Types of Public engagement and outreach - Public lecture/debate/seminar

Storytelling Filmsymposium

Black, R. (Presenter)
14 Oct 2015

Activity: Types of Public engagement and outreach - Festival/Exhibition

Outer Space | Inner Space

Black, R. (Organiser)
1 Apr 201531 Oct 2016

Activity: Festival/Exhibition

Press / Media

Aphasia group launches app to explain the condition

Rolf Black


3 items of media coverage

Press/Media: Other

Celebrating 80 years of stargazing at Mills Observatory

Rolf Black & Sarah Hussain


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Other

Regaining a voice with technology

Rolf Black


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Research

New app relieves patients’ fear of the dentist

Rolf Black, Annalu Waller, Rachel Menzies, Daniel Herron & Daniel Herron


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Research