Assistive Technology (AT) allows people with special needs to achieve a high degree of autonomy in their everyday life and to participate in modern information society.
Since 2010, the Department of Embedded Systems at the University of Applied Sciences Technikum Wien engages in research and development projects in the sector of Assistive Technololgy. Based upon the EU FP-7 project AsTeRICS, several follow-up projects have been implemented, including the "AsTeRICS Academy for cross-cultural education in Assistive Technology" which was co-funded by the City of Vienna (MA23) and the UAS Technikum Wien from 2013 to 2016. The AsTeRICS Academy project implemented international research cooperations and education in the field of Assistive Technology. In course of two Summer Schools, international students were invited to participate in a diversified course program free of charge, getting familiar with the basics of AT and learning how to apply our Open Source Assistive Technology modules.
These activities are now continued within the ongoing ToRaDes project (2016-2019, co-funded by the City of Vienna, MA23) and via the AsTeRICS Foundation, a non-profit organisation devoted to Open Source Assistive Technology tools for persons with disabilities. The AsTeRICS Foundation works in close cooperation with UAS Technikum Wien and fosters the application of Open Source assistive solutions which are easily adaptable to individual needs and can be realized at low cost - which makes them also available for application in low-income countries. One essential task of the AsTeRICS Foundation is to deliver knowledge about assistive tools based on Information & Communication Technology (ICT) to individuals and partner organisations in form of workshops and guest lectures. The workshops provide hands-on experiences with hardware modules and inclusive software setups. Furthermore, the AsTeRICS Foundation develops tailored assistive solutions together with users, involving non-standard input strategies, Augmentative and Alternative Communication (AAC) and environmental control systems.