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. To this end we have developed a web forum for this purpose where all stakeholders can meet to co-create: https://www.letsitch.eu/
EDUCAT (Empowerment of Disabled people through the User Coproduction of Assistive Technology) is a 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.
A recent EU survey has identified of involvement of end-users as major barrier in developing innovative solutions for assistive devices. Failing to consider the real `user experience` and perceived needs can lead to the technology being considered unsuitable or unacceptable by the end-user. EDUCAT aims to develop Assistive Technology using ICT in a co-creative approach by involving the end-users during the design, development, and testing phases.
Furthermore, disabled people still require a lot of personal assistance and care diagnosis, we
This is why EDUCAT has developed an open, modular and adaptive embedded framework, to allow assistive technology to be co-created for better adaptation to the user's needs at a lower development cost.
EDUCAT`s clinical trials will not only focus on the clinical effectiveness of the AT under trial, but also on economic gain and increased quality of life. These trials will be carried out in the user`s daily life environment over several days.
As an example of this co-creation one goal of the project is to involve service users, engineers, clinicians, researchers, user-support networks and companies in developing a powered chair with driving assistance.
Some of the ways in which this will be achieved are by.
- Developing a modular driving assistance system that can be attached to the user`s powered chair.
- Monitoring and analysing user driving patterns - In conjunction with questionnaires and a daily record of user wellbeing and medication. It is anticipated that analysis of these patterns will provide diagnostic information on user condition and changes in that condition. This information will help to improve the prescription of assistive technology, inform 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.
- Providing feedback about obstacles or hazards.
- Providing driving assistance when requested by the user. For example by changing the sensitivity of the joystick or provide driving assistance to reduce the probability of collisions when the user is feeling tired or unwell.
- Stakeholder and User feedback in England, France and Belgium. In order to develop effective assistive technology it is vital that all stakeholders [users, engineers, clinicians, researchers, user-support networks and companies] are involved throughout the EDUCAT project by providing feedback and by participating in user trials.
In order to further facilitate co-creation of technologies adapted for tomorrow`s health, another goal of EDUCAT is to provide an international network via a web platform iTCH! (www.letsitch.eu).
iTCH! provides a platform where users, carers, companies, start-ups, hospitals, foundations and associations, doctors, researchers and also individuals can share their ideas or needs in the area of health care.
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 more effective and efficient of use of the technology.