HomeBlogAsTeRICS project (Assistive Technology Rapid Integration & Construction Set)

AsTeRICS project (Assistive Technology Rapid Integration & Construction Set)

According to the latest statistics published by Eurostat, the percentage of people in Europe with upper limb motor functional diversity is 6.4%. 

Among these, countries such as the Netherlands (10%), Norway (17.5%), Spain (6.2%), or Italy (8.0%) should be highlighted. These people are sometimes exposed to the need to use a series of assistive technologies that are not always the most suitable for them (e.g. excessively small on-screen keyboards, fixed webcams that do not focus where desired or that are very sensitive to involuntary movements of the subjects, etc.). Furthermore, as the potential of each user is more specific, the necessary technological solutions are not always available on the market, sometimes they cannot be integrated into the technologies that the subject already has, or they are too expensive (e.g. Dragon NaturallySpeaking or SmartNav).

The AsTeRICS project (Assistive Technology Rapid Integration & Construction Set) was created to meet this need. Funded by the European Union's 7th Framework Programme, the main objective of this project is to increase and improve the communication channels of people with functional motor diversity. To this end, it develops a series of flexible and adaptable technologies that allow access to different systems such as the personal computer, mobile phones, computer games and intelligent devices for the home.

The final essence of AsTeRICS is to enable people to communicate better by offering them the most recommendable technologies in line with the functionality they retain. Therefore, if a person with almost no mobility in their hands wishes to move the computer mouse, they could do so through their own breathing, using a webcam that recognises the movement of their nose and chin, with an accelerometer placed in their hand or foot, or even with a flexometer placed on their neck. Moreover, as it is open source, flexible, extensible and scalable, the solutions proposed by AsTeRICS are easily adaptable to the technologies the individual has.

Other applications achieved by AsTeRICS are, for example, the possibility of using techniques such as electromyography (EMG) and electroencephalography (EEG), which record changes in the body's bioelectrical activity to play music, write on a large on-screen keyboard using movable buttons, or play pinball through the system that is most comfortable for the subject either with a blow sensor, a joystick, an adapted video game controller, etc.

After three years of work and several trial periods in Spain, Austria and Poland, AsTeRICS has managed to move forward and offer users new options for accessing new technologies that have been very well received by users, families and professionals. We would like to thank the professionals and users of our IZA centre and the Centre for Personal Autonomy in Vitoria-Gasteiz for their willingness and continuous and disinterested collaboration in the project.

The achievement of the project has been possible thanks to the work carried out by a wide consortium of European companies and research centres where Matia Instituto Gerontológico has been present (See participants: AsTeRICS Project).

For more information:





Researcher at Matia Instituto

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