News & Events
December 18, 2015
The European Commission supports research and innovation on technologies to break down barriers for people with disabilities

The European Commission is funding several ICT research and innovation projects to help people with disabilities (Source: European Commission)

One in six people in the EU has a disability that ranges from mild to severe. This means around 80 million people are often prevented from taking fully part in society and the economy because of environmental or attitudinal barriers. The European Commission is funding several ICT research and innovation projects to help people with disabilities.

On this page you will find a selection of inclusion projects funded under the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP), the 7th Framework Programme and Horizon 2020.

Some projects aim to help visually impaired people, either by helping them to better understand digital graphical content or by trying to rehabilitate sensory-motor capacity of children.

For visually impaired people it is difficult to digitally get graphical contents. The objective of the project is to make graphical contents accessible through touch by building and field-testing a Personal Assistive Device for BLIND and visually impaired people. BLINDPAD will be a personal, portable and cheap solution to improve knowledge and independence.

The aim of this project is the development of a new technology based on sensory-motor rehabilitation for visual impaired children. The ABBI project is a three-year long project that started in February 2014. The core idea of the project is based on a new understanding of the role of vision in the development of children with and without visual disability, namely that audio feedback about body movements might help to build a sense of space. The main device to achieve this objective is the Audio Bracelet for Blind Interactions (ABBI) that will provide spatial information on where and how the movement is occurring. @abbiproject
There are also projects trying to help people with autism, by focusing e.g. on adapting written documents to their needs or by developing interactive games for them.

The FIRST project developed a tool to assist people with autism spectrum disorders to adapt written documents into a format that is easier for them to read and understand. It empowers people with autism to read documents with confidence and autonomy. As a result, their social inclusion is increased as they gain better access to educational, vocational, cultural and social opportunities in Europe. The objective of this project was to enhance social inclusion for people with Autism Spectrum Disorders by creating a computer software program that adapts documents into a format that is easier for them to read and understand.
Video on how to use Open Book

ASC Inclusion
Research project that develops interactive games for children with autism to understand and express emotions through facial expressions, vocal intonation and body gestures.
Project website
The ABLE-TO-INCLUDE project tries to help people with an Intellectual Development Disorder (IDD).

The project ABLE-TO-INCLUDE will integrate a set of existing technologies to create an open-source and context aware accessibility layer which, when integrated with current and future ICT tools, can improve the daily life of people with IDD by understanding their personal situations and helping them to interact with the information society.
Another project develops tools for children with dyslexia.

The iLearnRW project aims to develop next generation tablet-based software that will support and motivate children with dyslexia aged 9-11 with their reading and writing.
For people suffering from hearing loss, research is underway to produce digital games in the field of hearing aid technologies and hearing loss in children and older adults, addressing social inclusion, generating new markets and creating job opportunities.

3D Tune-In
Over 90 million people in Europe currently suffer from hearing loss, and due to an ageing population this number is likely to continue to increase. While hearing aid (HA) technologies have dramatically advanced in the last 25 years, people’s perception and use of these devices have changed very little. The main idea of 3D Tune-In is to link the traditional gaming industry with the fast-growing game-based learning market and hearing device market, by applying scientific methodologies and technologies towards a new set of non-leisure applications which have real benefits for European citizens.
One of the projects is working on Assistive Technology solutions, while another one addresses the scientific problem of recovery of hand function after amputation or neurological disabilities like spinal cord injury or stroke. The Simon project will propose a mobile application to support impaired citizens in the use of public and private transport modes.

Back Home
Main goal of this project was to help end users –who want to use BNCI tools– to accomplish goals that are otherwise impossible, difficult, or create dependence on a carer. BackHome provides Assistive Technology (AT) so­lutions to research and develops systems for assisting people with severe disabilities. It further helps the end user support com­munity – including doctors, nurses, family members, AT centres, and other people who want to provide the best possible tools for their patients or loved ones.

The WAY project aims to develop and clinically evaluate non-invasive technologies that create bidirectional physiological links between a hand assistive device (like the hand prosthesis or the hand exoskeleton) and the patient’s volition. These links will be achieved by means of interfaces based on novel principles that combine multilevel biosignals and multimodal sensory feedback.

The SIMON project will propose a mobile application to support impaired citizens in the use of public and private transport modes. This application will not only include specific information and navigation functionalities, but will also make use of e-payment and e-id mechanisms to propose coordinated tariff policies and reduce fraud. In this same context, SIMON will enhance the European parking card for disabled people with contactless technologies and will integrate mobile solutions to support user unique identification in existing park meters whilst preserving privacy.

Source: European Commission