Indra and Universia Foundation promote grants for new technologies to improve the lives of people with disabilities

On Tuesday, May 28th, Indra and the Universia Foundation have resolved the VIII edition of the Call for grants for research projects in Accessible Technologies, aimed at research groups, centres and business schools attached to Spanish universities
Indra Universia
Indra Universia
  1. Aids that drive growth, development and market proximity
  2. Technological excellence for the inclusion of people with disabilities

Indra joins forces once again with Fundación Universia, which is backed by Banco Santander for the development of its activities, and has announced the winning research projects in the 8th Call for grants for research projects applied to the creation of new Accessible Technologies in Spanish universities. 

This initiative is the result of the interest in promoting the development of innovative technological solutions that improve the quality of life and the social and labour inclusion of people with disabilities, with an innovative model of collaboration that combines the efforts of companies, universities and the third sector.

In this call, the three winning projects that will receive grants of 24,000 euros each are dedicated to improving the mobility and play experience of children with disabilities through adaptive technologies (FastBaby), the translation of a message from Spanish Oral Language to Spanish Sign Language using Artificial Intelligence techniques (LSEAvatar) and the development of a virtual reality learning environment for people with recent motor injuries (Recuperación).

  • FastBaby, from the University of Castilla-La Mancha at its Cuenca campus. Based on the importance of movement in child development, the project explores alternatives such as robotic devices and sensory stimulation tools to promote independence and learning. These solutions represent a step forward in the inclusion and development of children with motor disabilities.
  • LSEAvatar, from the University of La Rioja. It consists of the creation of an avatar that, through artificial intelligence techniques, is capable of translating a message from Spanish Oral Language to Spanish Sign Language.
  • Recovery, University of Castilla-La Mancha at its Ciudad Real campus. Includes immersive wheelchair simulator, adapted real hand-virtual object interaction to develop new object manipulation strategies, virtual recreation of home and work training environments, and recording of kinematics for objective progress analysis.

Aids that drive growth, development and market proximity

As the main novelty this year, Indra and the Universia Foundation launched a special category to boost the growth of a project that had already benefited from previous calls, with an extra contribution of 6,000 euros, with the aim of giving continuity to their developments and bringing them closer to the market. 

On this occasion, the winner of the special call was RoboTEA-CHAT, from the Polytechnic University of Cartagena, which aims to use social robots to remedy deficits in emotional processing. It focuses on rehabilitation in people with autism spectrum disorders, using robots and considering neurobiofeedback technologies for this purpose. This will allow greater agility for therapists, who will not have to select the response to be provided by the robots, but rather the developed modules will do so, with a more fluid interaction with the children. 

In addition to RoboTEA, the other two winning projects from the previous Call for Applications for Grants for Research Projects in Accessible Technologies, which are still active today, are:

  • Senlab-IA, from the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, which proposes a system for detecting and decoding labiofacial language using piezoresistive sensors, based on polymers with conductive carbon nanoparticles. 
  • Aiden, from the University of Alicante. This consists of the creation of an assistant for the visually impaired based on artificial intelligence. This assistant, which will take the form of a smartphone application, will use the latest artificial intelligence techniques to carry out four tasks that are useful for people with visual disabilities.

Technological excellence for the inclusion of people with disabilities

The most relevant criteria for selecting the proposals were the technological excellence of the solution presented, its feasibility and real transferability to products or services that do not yet exist on the market, and the possibility that the proposed product or service is open source and free or at a reduced cost for end users.

As the initiative aims to bring to the market innovative technologies that improve the lives of as many people with disabilities as possible, the real possibility of internationalising the idea is also taken into account. All this, without forgetting the practical utility, as the solution must be applicable in a real work inclusion environment.

In Spain, the Indra and Universia Foundation's call for grants for research projects in Accessible Technologies has become the main event of its kind. Since the first edition, it has aroused the interest of more than 150 research groups from public and private universities, which have submitted more than 350 proposals over the course of all the editions.

More information on the call for proposals: http://www.tecnologiasaccesibles.com