Good News in Assistive Technology
Assistive technology (AT) is a broad category of devices or technologies that can help and assist the elderly or disabled in carrying out activities of daily living, AT can promote greater independence by allowing people to perform tasks that they may have previously struggled with, or were unable to do by providing enhancements or changing methods with the use of technology. For example, assistive eating devices can enable people who cannot feed themselves to do so, as such, assistive technologies can help those with a disability or any limitations to have increased opportunity of a easy and positive lifestyle, which increases social participation, security and control, and will help to reduce expenses.
The Global Disability Innovation (GDI) Hub has seen the value of AT for potential users and has launched the Assistive Technology Impact Fund (ATIF), out of the UK Aid-funded AT2030 programme, in collaboration with GDI Hub, Brink, Tamara Giltsoff and Catalyst Fund, which aims to make assistive technology innovations more widely and readily available in the African market. This will allow for assistive technology innovators to apply for funding up to £200K in order to massively improve the lives of the disabled community in Africa. Successful applications will also receive tailored venture building support and coaching from world-leading experts; brokering and matchmaking to partners, investors and experts; as well as access to a growing global network of disability pioneers. The GDI Hub is also hosting a launch event so assistive technology manufacturers can learn more about the fund.
The launch event will be on Wednesday 10th of February from 10:30-11:30, and will have many world-leading assistive technology experts in attendance, including Cathy Holloway, Professor of Interaction Design & Innovation at UCL’s Interaction Centre and Academic Director of the GDI Hub; WHO’s Chapal Khasnabis; and Magdalena Banasiak from the Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office.
GDI Hub said in an announcement that one billion people globally live with a disability, and unfortunately 90% of those people lack access to affordable assistive technology support, the ATIF wants to change the prospects of the innovators in this space by supporting the growth of the sector in Africa. The partnership combines expertise in assistive technology, innovation and venture building in Africa.
An addition to the former, an additional webinar hosted by the Digital Heath and Care Alliance (DHACA), will see a panel of commissioners and project leaders from across the UK discuss the role of online advice and how it can maximise independence for these communities, it will commence on the 24th of February at 9:45am and is organised by the Disabled Living Foundation (DLF). In addition to the role of online advice, a range of major service providers from across the UK will also speak about their experiences in providing online practical advice about assistive technology to give viewers a more in depth insight into its impacts, as well as highlighting the importance of reaching older and disabled people, and their carers, and the role of self-assessment as a solution to fast adoption of assistive technology solutions at home.
More strides have been made to make AT more available thanks to the children’s charity Lifelites who have donated life-changing assistive technology worth thousands of pounds for life-limited and disabled children that use Claire House children’s hospice services.
The specialist technology donated by Lifelites will provide the children with the opportunity to do things they never thought possible; the equipment will enable them to play, be creative and control something for themselves as well as communicate with their friends and family. Lifelites also provides free training and technical support services, and while the assistive equipment that they donated costs around £50,000 over four years, after this period, the Lifelites aims to replace the equipment and provide the latest technology that is most suitable for the children at Claire House.