ASTERICS project develops adaptable assistive technology system
5 August 2013
The EC-funded ASTERICS project has developed an assistive technology system with a set of software, controller and actuators that can be adapted to the needs of individual users for controlling devices in the home.
The system consists of open source software and a range of commercially available equipment: set of sensors, a brain-computer interface and computer vision with a range of actuators/switches for operation by disabled people.
The system can open a door, turn on a light or connect to the internet at the blink of an eye, a head movement or even a thought, and can be made more flexible and customisable for individual users.
The technology was developed over two years in the ASTERICS project (Assistive technology rapid integration and construction set) with the support of €2.65 million in funding from the European Commission. It has already gone into commercial production and on-going research is set to enhance it further.
Stefan Parker, project coordinator and researcher at KI-I in Austria, said, "What I would call the 'old' AT-market is dominated by isolated applications and devices, each addressing a specific disability or focusing on a specific ability of the user. This is in principle good, since it means that each device can be brilliantly optimised in its functionality. The trouble is that in most actual use cases these devices only manage to take advantage of a part of the user's abilities or, in other cases, are not properly adaptable to the user's needs, leaving him or her with a device that is merely semi-optimal for their use case.''
''The AT market is currently subject to great change. On the one hand, mobile devices like smart phones and tablet PCs are conquering the world, and this has a great influence on the AT market. On the other hand, more user-centred and more flexible approaches towards AT are being generated, ASTERICS being the first and therefore most important."
Unlike traditional AT systems, the ASTERICS platform can be
configured to meet the specific needs of individual users. It is
possible to choose from a wide variety of sensors, from simple
switches or webcams to advanced ''brain-computer interfaces'' (BCI),
for interaction with the system depending on the requirements and
abilities of each person.
The models are built and configured via a dedicated configuration
programme, the ''ASTERICS Configuration Suite'' (ACS) in which,
through a graphical interface, it is possible to combine several
plug-ins for input, signal processing and output and connect them
via data-channels and event-channels. Once completed, a model is
simply uploaded to the ARE, where several models can be stored, so
the user can have different options for different use cases.
The ASTERICS website: www.asterics.eu/
Source: CORDIS: www.cordis.europa.eu