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factors. Finally, the human-machine co-operative system will be

designed in accordance with specific user needs. A series of

applications for the AIDE system have been identified across

several domains in which disabled people could greatly benefit:

1.

Communication: The main objective is to improve the

communication of severely disabled people for social

autonomy. The user will be assisted in communicating with

her/his relatives and friends. Communication will be provided

by using standard internet services such as email, Skype,

WhatsApp and standard social networks (i.e. Facebook and

Twitter). The developed system will provide support for web

browsing, as well;

2. Home automation: The goal is to allow severely disabled

people to interact with the devices present in their smart home

environments. In short, the user will be supported by an AIDE

multimodal interaction system in daily activities, including

turning lights, radio and television on/off, answering or

initiating telephone calls, locking or unlocking a door, closing or

opening curtains, changing environmental settings, and in

medical emergency situations;

3. Wearable robots for assisting in ADL: The aim here is to

adaptively and dynamically modify the level of assistance

provided by the intelligent robotic exoskeleton in accordance

with specific user needs (Fig. 2); and

4. Entertainment: Severely impaired people have reported that

participation in normal entertainment activities, e.g. playing a

computer game or watching a movie, is an important need.

Thus, a main objective is to support the user in playing

computer games, expressing his/her feelings, playing music,

and/or engaging in painting, and so on.

Impact

The AIDE project wants to spur a breakthrough in multimodal

human-machine interaction technologies for empowering people

with disabilities to participate in society. For this ambitious task,

a multidisciplinary team of experts in multimodal interfaces,

robotics, human sciences, computer science and neuroscience

has engaged to carry out an in-depth investigation into modular,

customisable and adaptive multimodal interfaces as a

paradigm of ‘assisting as needed’. This way, the multimodal

interface will adapt to the residual capabilities of the disabled

persons, safeguarding self-perception, movement control and

first-hand interaction.

The main aim of AIDE is therefore to preclinically deliver and

evaluate a revolutionary modular and adaptive multimodal

interface that is customisable so as to enable people with

acquired brain injury, multiple sclerosis, and spinal cord injury to

fully participate in society.

The disabilities outlined above have significant adverse

socioeconomic impact for individuals but also society as a

whole. These disabilities place restrictions on an individual’s

ability to participate in mainstream roles and specifically to

engage in gainful work. Disabled people make up a growing

percentage (between 12-16%) of the working-age population,

but rates of employment remain low. AIDE will support

participants to access resources and tools that may also improve

their employability options.

Moreover, AIDE has the ambition of strengthening European

industrial innovation capacity and competitiveness in the

worldwide market of assistive ICT and assistive wearable robotics,

developing a novel, adaptive, multimodal interface to break the

‘bottleneck’ of the seamless and efficient use of highly

sophisticated and powerful assistive devices, including the current

and future wearable robotic exoskeletons.

1

European Commission (2010): People with disabilities have equal rights.The

European Disability Strategy 2010-2020. ISBN: 978-92-79-16836-9

2

United Nations: Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and

Optional Protocol

3

Cowan R E, Fregly B J, Boninger M L, Chan L, Rodgers M M, Reikensmeyer D J

(2012): Recent trends in assistive technology for mobility.

Journal of

NeuroEngineering and Rehabilitation

9:20

4

World Health Organization (2002): Towards a common language for

functioning disability and health.Available at

www.who.int/classifications/icf/icfbeginnersguide.pdf?ua=1.Acc

essed 15April 2014

Professor Nicolas Garcia-Aracil

Project Co-ordinator of AIDE Project GA 645322

Miguel Hernández University of Elche

Biomedical Neuroengineering

tel :

+34 96665 8592

nicolas.garcia@umh.es http://nbio.umh.es www.horizon2020projects.com

H O R I Z O N 2 0 2 0 P R O J E C T S : P O R TA L

I S S U E S E V E N

103

P R O F I L E

M E D I C A L T E C H N O L O G Y & R E S E A R C H

Fig. 2 The AIDE project end product will integrate the NEUROExos

system into a support included in a wheelchair structure. Shifting the

exoskeleton from an external support with only a weight-compensation

system to a portable system will largely improve the applicability of the

assistive device and the level of autonomy of the user