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Cross-Channel ADAPT Project receives 8.7 million euros NEWS

SIXTEEN organisations from the UK and France, including several NHS Trusts, have come together to launch a project that will help tackle mobility problems faced by elderly and disabled people, by developing a new smart electronic powered wheelchair and virtual reality wheelchair simulator.

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The project is called ADAPT (Assistive Devices for empowering DisAbled People Through robotic technologies). ADAPT will improve on features of existing powered wheelchairs which are currently used by health services in the UK and France by adding driving assistance technologies such as obstacle avoidance, route selection and autonomous driving. The smart electronic powered wheelchair will also report on the user’s health by sending real-time information via the internet, enabling healthcare professionals to monitor any changes in the user’s health.  Additionally, ADAPT will produce an electronic powered wheelchair simulator based on virtual reality for new users, giving them the opportunity to practice before using the new smart wheelchairs.   The ADAPT project is also going to address an important gap in the healthcare workforce development. Training on assistive technologies, a current gap in healthcare education identified by healthcare professionals, will be developed and delivered during the project to promote better understanding of and more effective engagement with AT solutions in practice. 

Canterbury Christ Church University is the lead academic partner responsible for the development and delivery of the AT training of healthcare professionals. For the purposes of the project, the CCCU team has launched a national NIHR CRN portfolio study survey of health and social care professionals’ knowledge and attitudes towards AT, which is open until November 30. The team is currently designing online and face-to-face AT training for healthcare professionals to engage more effectively with a range of AT solutions, including the cutting-edge ADAPT project technology. The ADAPT project, which was launched in 2017 and will last for four years, aims to reach up to 300,000 electric wheelchair users in the Channel area and help train more than 15,000 healthcare professionals. The project will also have an additional economic benefit on the cross-border Channel area with around 60 companies benefiting from the manufacturing of components for both the smart wheelchair and the simulator. “This work is carried out as part of the INTERREG VA FMA ADAPT project “« Assistive Devices for empowering disAbled People through robotic Technologies » http://adapt-project. com/index.php. The Interreg FCE Programme is a European Territorial Cooperation programme that aims to fund high quality cooperation projects in the Channel border region between France and England. The Programme is funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF)”

Vice-chair role for head of human mobility OTTOBOCK UK’s head of human mobility Simon Tempest, has been announced as the new vicechair of the British Healthcare Trades Association mobility division. Simon, who has worked for Ottobock since 2000 and has been head of its human mobility business unit for 10 years, will lead meetings of BHTA mobility members — manufacturers and retailers — and work with them on future projects. He said: “I’m delighted to be taking the position of vice-chairman for the BHTA’s mobility division, looking after member manufacturers and retailers. “I feel I have a lot to offer and I’m looking forward to engaging with members, invigorating great debate and encouraging an environment of proactive discussion.” Prior to his time with Ottobock, Simon worked for a specialist mobility retail distributor for 14 years. He added: “Having worked with both retail and NHS customers for nearly 30 years, I’ve got a broad insight into how both segments of the 4

ASSISTIVE TECHNOLOGIES I OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2018

market work. “It helps me understand consumer needs and requirements and I think this is really important, given the changing environment of funding and the shifting NHS landscape.” The BHTA, which is the UK’s largest and oldest healthcare association, has almost 500 company members which make or sell healthcare and assistive technology products to help people live more independently. Mandie Lavin, director general of the BHTA, said: “It is truly wonderful to have the support of Ottobock and the skills and expertise that Simon brings to enhance our work at the BHTA, I am looking forward to working with him and the entire section, to progress with our thought leadership and practical policy initiatives. “This is a very exciting time for the BHTA and I am so privileged to see the positive work undertaken to date and the massive future potential, a big thank you to Simon and to Ottobock.”

Simon Tempest

Profile for Script Media

Assistive Technologies October/November 2018  

Innovation for Independence

Assistive Technologies October/November 2018  

Innovation for Independence

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