East Kent Hospitals University Foundation Trust is a partner in a research project, EDUCAT (Empowerment of Disabled people through the User Coproduction of Assistive Technology). EDUCAT 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.
The project involves 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 is being achieved is by.
● Developing a modular monitoring and driving assistance system that can be attached to the user’s powered chair.
● Monitoring and analysing user driving patterns. These patterns 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 information about obstacles in the user’s environment. This information can help the user to drive more confidently and safely.
● 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.
The project partners are running clinical trials with powered chair users in clinics, hospitals and user’s homes. Feedback from these trials is used to support and guide the evaluation and development of the driving assistance systems.
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); higher efficiency of use of the technology.
One further long-term goal is to enhance cross-border collaboration and facilitate market uptake.
Further details of EDUCAT can be found at www.educat2seas.eu
Dr M Sakel firstname.lastname@example.org
EKHUFT project lead
Consultant Neurorehabilitation Physician
Department of Neurorehabilitation.
Mr K Karaoglanis email@example.com
Deputy Head of Clinical Engineering & Head of Medical Devices Governance Team
Medical Physics Department
Project partners are from the South East of England, North East France and Belgium.
University of Kent
East Kent Hospitals University NHS Foundation Trust
Chailey Clinical Services, Sussex Community NHS Trust
Catholic University Leuven - KU Leuven
VOKA – Chamber of Commerce of East Flanders
2 Service Users and Observer Groups
The project also benefits from involvement of service users and observer groups:
Kent Brain Injury Forum (KBIF)
Sir William Beveridge Foundation (SWBF)
This project has received a grant of €1,798,722.60 from the Interreg VA 2 Seas programme, co-funded by the European Regional Development Fund.