EDUCAT will develop and test, by clinical trials, new Assistive Technologies (AT) for disabled people having motor impairment or/and neurological disorders.
The new Assistive Technologies developed will be able to adapt their assistance to the user’s needs and give feedback to users in response to their needs.
Specifically; a system will be produced which will self-adapt to an individual’s requirements, and disabilities, as they change over time, which will assist them to operate their mobility device reducing collateral damage by alerting them to the presence of obstacles, providing assistive trajectories, park the powered wheelchair for a safe transfer. Clinical evaluation will provide a time and motion measure of the impact of such a technology.
Moreover, the project partners will develop an open, modular and adaptive framework including a software, embedded on different types of devices (tablets, smart phones), and the necessary hardware to interface with sensors and actuators of different vendors. This framework will reduce the integration efforts of developed or purchased tools and enables a rapid collaboration between the universities, hospitals, care givers, disabled or infirmed people, and external companies providing e.g. wheel chairs, sensors, apps, etc. The software part of the framework includes a presentation layer (front end) for the interaction with the users (called also Human Machine Interface – HMI) and a software abstraction layer (back end) for the interaction with hardware and software of different sources: commercial wheelchairs, extra sensors and actuators, apps, information from the environment (e.g. temperature, ambient light, building information) etc. The users of the framework are very diverse: health care professionals, engineers, disabled or infirmed people, care givers. That is why the framework is modular and adaptive, with different levels of access in function of the user’s needs.
EDUCAT aims to develop Assistive Technology using ICT in an innovative bottom-up approach, already involving the end-users during the design phase. This co-creation method will result in better and widely accepted products for the end-users, and shorten the time to market for companies using this approach and the tools developed by the EDUCAT project.
In order to allow and support the co-creation process, an e-platform will be developed. It will be the link for an open, cross-border cooperation and exchange of ideas and practices between the project partners and the project beneficiaries: disabled people using/need to use a wheelchair, care givers, healthcare professionals and companies. The e-platform allows the beneficiaries to express their needs, interest to try the technology, share ideas and good practices between them and with the project partners and observers. It is the backbone of the bottom-up methodology.
Moreover, that e-platform could be used by any member (the membership is free of charge) working within the framework of assistive technology for elderly or/and disabled people to submit their new innovative projects or to contribute to existing ones.
EDUCAT project aims to promote independence and improve quality of life, for people with motor impairment and neurological disorders by improving the driving skills of the user, by providing driving assistance according with the user’s needs, by improving the prescription of assistive technology, by informing the on-going adaptation of that technology to meet changing user needs and increase the success rate for the long term provision of assistive technology.
The expected benefits are improvement in user independence and quality of life, cost and time savings for companies (for developing technologies) and hospitals (for care) as well as a higher efficiency of use of the technology.
Moreover, the open, modular and adaptive framework, which will be developed, provides a solution to interconnect commercial solutions proposed by different companies or new solution driven by the market. To increase the market uptake, a special focus on the economic profit that EDUCAT technologies will bring for the companies will be provided. Relevant data, collected by economists will be added to those obtained during the clinical evaluations to show in a deeper and wider way the economic profit. An analytical estimate of the total market for assistive technology in the 3 countries involved in the project and in Europe will be also provided.
A cross-border network will be established involving stakeholders (e.g. medical staff, health professionals, medical research institutes & universities, non-profit organizations of disabled people, end-users, etc.) ready to be involved in the development, using a bottom up approach, of new assistive technology. Moreover, the companies active in development of assistive technology or active in ICT, and hospitals will also belong to the network and could exchange detailed specifications, technologies, studies, etc.
The e-platform will be the cornerstone in the development of a sustainable cross-border network.
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EDUCAT (Empowerment of Disabled people through the User Coproduction of Assistive Technology) is an European funded project to develop and deliver adaptive, open and modular technology to promote independence and improve quality of life for people with motor impairment and neurological disorders.
The project aims to promote a user-centred assistive technology design using co-design methods involving service users, engineers, clinicians, researchers, user-support networks and companies. A key element of the project is to incorporate monitoring of equipment usage patterns. It is anticipated that analysis of this data will provide diagnostic information on user condition and changes in that condition. This information will improve the prescription of assistive technology, inform the ongoing adaptation of that technology to meet user needs and increase the success rate for the long term provision of assistive technology. The outcome will be to improve the user quality of life. The development is supported by clinical trials throughout the project.
The expected benefits are cost and time savings for companies (for developing technologies) and hospitals (for care) as well as a higher efficiency of use of the technology The long term goal is to deliver affordable technology through cross-border collaboration and facilitate uptake on the market.