Around 80 million people in the European Union, a sixth of its population, have a disability. They are often hindered from full social and economic participation by various barriers related to physical, psychological and social factors. Moreover, poverty rates amongst people with disabilities are 70% higher than average. Over 30% of people above the age of 75 are impaired to some extent, and over 20% are severely impaired. The percentage of people with disabilities is set to rise as the European Union population ages.
According to Article 9 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities signed by the European Commission in 2010, accessibility is a basic right for all persons with disabilities. The purpose of accessibility is to enable persons with disabilities to live independently and to participate in all aspects of life.
Nowadays, the recent trends in assistive technology for supporting activities of daily living, mobility, communication and so on are based on the integration of the capabilities of the user and the assistive technologies. The improvement of the interaction and cooperation between user and assistive technologies, can be split in three main areas: 1) improvements of the assistive devices, such as, mechanical parts, electronic parts, etc.; 2) improvements of the user technology interface; and 3) improved shared control between the user and assistive technology.
The AIDE project has the ambition to strongly contributing to the improvement of the user technology interface by developing and testing a revolutionary modular and adaptive multimodal interface customizable to the individual needs of people with disabilities. It will, furthermore, focus on the development of a totally new shared control paradigm for assistive devices that integrates information from identification of residual abilities, behaviors, emotional state and intentions of the user on one hand and analysis of the environment and context factors on the other hand.