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Challenges

Population ageing as well as the number of disabled people present significant social and economic challenges to individuals, families and societies in Europe. The market for Assistive Technology (AT) will increase, thereby generating new business opportunities. To ensure the competitiveness of SMEs working in AT and related ICT, it is necessary to provide tools and a relevant network to develop new innovative products with a reduced time to market and a high end-user acceptance.

In the EU, 40% of the population will be more than 65 years old by 2020. Moreover, there are 80 million disabled people, which is more than 15% of the population. It is a challenge to enable that population to remain in their own home as long as possible, to maximise their independence and to improve their quality of life. The use of Assistive Technology (AT) is a way to do this; however acceptance and use of AT is only about 50%. The challenge is to develop AT addressed to a wide range of the population (open and modular), accepted by and useful for the end-users; this kind of AT yields a higher added value to both companies and end-users EDUCAT aims to answer to this challenge by developing, through the use of information and communication technologies, innovative products and services that ensure three criteria are met: usability by a large number of end-users, acceptance and long term use.

Moreover, EDUCAT aims to demonstrate the potential of the products and facilitate their uptake on the market. To develop the AT, EDUCAT will use a bottom-up approach, called co-production (or co-creation), where the active participation of end-users (disabled/elderly people, caregivers), health professionals, researchers and companies is essential.