Welcome to the February 2014 edition of AT R&D News, a free monthly newsletter from Foundation for Assistive Technology (FAST) with the latest on research and development in the field of assistive technology.
Our aim is to help researchers stay up to date with national developments, local initiatives and research projects relevant to the AT community. There are also regular updates on sources of funding, AT jobs, conferences, resources and opportunities to share knowledge within the AT sector.
FAST also publish a monthly AT Policy newsletter, view it here.
Follow us on Twitter or on Rebelmouse for day-to-day updates.
Horizon 2020 is the EU’s new funding programme for research and innovation which begins on the 1st of January 2014 and runs until 2020. Horizon has a budget of just over €70 billion and has just announced its first Call for proposals. Further information via EPSRC or from the European Commission (https://ec.europa.eu/digital-agenda/en/news/first-horizon-2020-calls-ehealth-projects-launched">EPSRC or from the European Commission.
The UK launch event for Horizon 2020 took place on the 31st of January 2014 and can still be viewed online. There is a also a Q&A document for frequently asked questions.
FET (Future and Emerging Technologies) has organised an Information Day for the Work Programme 2014-15, which takes place in Brussels on the 16th of May 2014.
Ambient Assisted Living Joint Programme has announced a Call 2014: pre announcement giving information about next years Call 6. The actual call will be launched at the end of March 2014, but proposals need to be submitted by the end of June 2014
The European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) has launched two new Knowledge and Innovation Communities (KICs),with partners from higher education, research and business. The two KICs will focus on innovation for healthy living and active ageing, and on raw materials – sustainable exploration, extraction processing, recycling and substitution. The application process is open until 10th of September 2014.
The COMODAL - Consumer Models for Assisted Living project has issued a tender to Quote for Proposition Testing and Communication Material for the COMODAL Innovation Club. This is a quick turnaround tender with a deadline for submission of Friday 14th of March 2014. Further information here.
The ABIA Project is a European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) funded initiative established to underpin growth amongst small-to-medium sized businesses (SMEs) operating in the science and technology sectors in the West Midlands. Medilink WM is working with the University of Birmingham to deliver the project. Regional businesses will be given free access to the facilities of the University of Birmingham to support business development and growth. Further information is available from Medilink WM.
Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) competition: Medicines Optimisation is a competition to help improve medicines adherence. The competition is seeking to develop solutions to improve Taking the right medicines at the right time is a key step in the medicines management process and perhaps the most important in terms of health outcomes, assuming the appropriateness of the prescribed treatment. Applications must be in by the 7th of May 2014. Further information here. https://connect.innovateuk.org/web/healthktn/article-view/-/blogs/small-business-research-initiative-sbri-competition-medicines-optimisation?p_p_auth=yQClZ7kQ
With so many funding streams currently available, we are asked to let our readership know about organisations and individuals who are looking for partners for projects. Accessibility expert Erik Zetterström is searching for partners to submit Horizon 2020 proposals in the areas of improved speech recognition and services, remedies for using touch interfaces for people with tremor and involuntary movement, or defining what existing or new user interface guidelines are appropriate for apps. The Horizon 2020 call is here. Further details about Erik can be found via LinkedIn or by email.
Do let FAST know by email if you are looking for partners for projects and we will endeavour to help.
Dr Tamar Makin from the Functional MRI Centre at the University of Oxford is looking at the brain consequences of amputation and is running a new project looking at how prosthetic limbs are represented in the brain and how this representation might effect prosthetic limb satisfaction. Currently, 70% of prosthetic limb users are unsatisfied with them at the moment and the project will examine whether this may be rooted in the brain. The project needs volunteers to participate in trails. Further information here and here.
Imperial College London are looking at using an energy-absorbing material known called Armourgel that hardens on impact in a similar way to protective motorcycle gear to lessen the impact of falls in older people.
FAST has a searchable database of nearly 1500 assistive technology research projects across assistive technology funded in the last 20 years.
3. AT in the news
A new Toolkit for engaging older people in research, design and development of ICT based products and services has been developed through the Sustaining IT use by older people to promote autonomy and independence (Sus-IT) project, part of the NDA Programme funded by RCUK. The Toolkit is a practical guidance document which addresses the need to engage older people in design and decision-making and has been compiled primarily to support researchers, developers, designers, and practitioners seeking to engage older people in research, design and development. It includes: i) an introduction explaining the rationale and benefits of engagement, ii) guidance on processes and procedures - this includes an overarching Research Ethical Governance Framework, and iii) methods and processes for engagement. Methods documented include questionnaire surveys, storytelling techniques and interactive forum theatre as well as strategies to encourage effective engagement of older people in design of technology and to elicit user requirements (e.g. co-design workshops and participatory problem-solving workshops). These have been developed and used with the dual purpose of promoting engagement with – as well as collecting data from – older people in a way that is ethical and sensitive to their diverse needs.
The Toolkit has particular relevance for the design of ICT based products, systems and services that match the functionality and usability that older people want. In addition, there are many other benefits including building confidence and capacity in older users to use and adapt technology to meet their own needs; helping them to understand their own needs and how they are changing, and promoting uptake and adoption of technologies by older people. The content of the Toolkit has elicited interest from policy makers and practitioners as well as from designers. The Toolkit is available to download here.
The Engineering & Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) has over £500m invested in research and training directly relevant to health and wish to get a feedback from industry about future needs, including both technology developments and access to the skills needed in the future. They will be running a workshop to be held on the 8th of April 2014 in London – details of the event will be issued by the EPSRC in due course.
Nice to see a mainstream newspaper feature on the benefits of technology for children with autism in The robot teacher connecting with autistic children, from the Daily Telegraph.
Pleasing also to see the English National Ballet work with partners to produce symbol-based materials to allow children with learning disabilities to participate in My First Ballet: Coppélia, which runs from the 5th of April to 25th of May 2014.
A great review of eye gaze “developer release” products courtesy of Spectronics in Australia.
Tunstall have released information about it’s first tablet-based supported living applications suite.
Digital Unite, who organise the annual Spring Online event to encourage older people to become more computer-savvy are pondering Could tablets help older people Spring Online? with evidence that older purchasers are buying tablet computers ahead of desktop or laptop computers.
In an opinion piece for the Knowledge Transfer Network (KTN), Beecham Research's Saverio Romeo thinks we should be Promoting Multidisciplinary Thinking for Leading the Era of Wearable Technologies.
The Health KTN has announced the launch of the Communicating Connected Health – Addressing emerging connected health business challenges with effective communications report. It includes practical advice for organisations and healthcare communicators.
Rica have reviewed a number of central heating controls for accessibility, with a resulting report available to download.
Presentations from the RAatE 2013 conference, which took place in November 2013, are available to view and download.
There is increasingly so much assistive technology related news to report which is outside of the limits of a monthly newsletter. Do consider following FAST via Twitter or Rebelmouse – details below.
4. Call for Papers
The International Digital Health and Care Congress, which is run by The King’s Fund and takes place in September 2014, has a Call for Papers which must be submitted by 31st of March 2014.
Computing Now has a Special Issue on Ambient Assisted Living and Robotics, Submission Deadline is the 1st of September 2014.
You can find details of four assistive technology Jobs on the FAST website.
Let us know about your job vacancy by email.
Communication Matters have a number of Roadshow events around the UK in the next few months. Further information from CM.
Kidz in the Middle 2014 takes place on the 27th of March 2014 in Coventry and will focus on technology and strategies to support children with disabilities.
You can find over 60 Events across assistive technology on the FAST website.
Let us know about your event, or an event you are aware of by email.
The University of Birmingham and Birmingham Policy Commissions has released a report, Ageing well with technology,which discusses the current position of telecare and telehealth services in the UK.
Dyslexia Action are suggesting Why and how you should read books with your ears by using audio books if you have dyslexia or other reading difficulty.
Ian Bean of SENICT now has a Pinterest website with a huge selection of games and apps to support children with learning disabilities.
Carers UK has advice about Ten technologies to help you care, listing ways to make carers lives more easy by using online services to shop, get help with benefits, support the person they care for and use technology to communicate with other family members.
Carers UK have also released Jointly, a free mobile and online app designed to support carers. Jointly helps create a circle of care for the person you are looking after. Once you have set up your Jointly circle you can start using Jointly to organise care - use it on your own or you can invite other people to join you and share the care. Jointly works on iPhone, iPad, Android devices and on most modern web browsers.
8. Heading eight
FAST produce a monthly newsletter about Assistive Technology Policy.
BRITE’s latest newsletter looks at technology at BETT, a review of eye gaze systems and details of a range of webinars.
CALL Scotland’s February 2014 newsletter is also available.
Email us about your newsletter, or a newsletter you would like us to feature.
FAST now have a Twitter account covering day-to-day News, Research, Jobs, Events and Debate in Assistive Technology. The link to Twitter is here.
If you don’t like Twitter or don’t have an account, items are presented by assistive technology area here.
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