ASSIST – Assistive Technologies Foundation
ASSIST – Assistive Technologies Foundation is a NGO founded in 2014.
Our main goal is to raise the awareness about the power of high-tech AAC (augmentative and alternative communication) for people with disabilities in Bulgaria.
We believe that each person has the right to communicate and express their thoughts, opinions, and feelings!
Our focus is on eye gaze assistive technologies.
Eye gaze assistive technologies
Eye control assistive technologies are powerful augmentative and alternative communication method. They provide means for children and adults with complex needs (people with severe physical disabilities who cannot speak or use their hands) to use a computer and specialized software programs.
If an eye-tracker is mounted under the computer screen, the gaze can replace the traditional computer mouse thus allowing all computer software to be used only by looking.
In this way, children and adults with severe physical disabilities can
Using text-to-speech software they can
- express their own thoughts and feelings
- communicate with their peers.
By using only their gaze, they can
- use Internet
Eye control assistive technologies provide access to to the full potential of modern ICT – education, professional and social fulfillment, active engagement in the society.
Eye control is for children and adults with the following conditions:
- cerebral palsy
- autism spectrum disorder
- Rett syndrome
- neuromuscular disorders
- ALS (amitrophic lateral sclerosis)
Sebastian’s Story – a Tobii Dynavox video
Raising the awareness about AAC and eye gaze assistive technologies
Development of educational material
Barriers to the wider deployment of person centred technology in services for persons with disabilities
The aim of this research is to identify what are the principle barriers and what are the potential facilitating factors that would enable the uptake of Person Centred Technology (PCT) in the social sector.
Commissioned by EASPD – European Association of Service Providers for Persons with Disabilities
After carrying out a literature review, a questionnaire is being developed. More information is available here.
Eye gaze assistive technologies – increasing the efficiency of their use in Bulgaria
The aim of the project is to give training and support for professionals and people with disabilities that already use eye-gaze assistive technologies.
The project is supported by Agency for People with Disabilities (Ministry of Labor and Social Policy).
Hello! It’s Me! – National awareness campaign
Events in 7 major cities in Bulgaria – Sofia (14 – 15 Nov. 2016), Plovdiv (18 – 19 Nov. 2016), Stara Zagora (28 – 29 Nov. 2016), Russe (2 – 3 Dec. 2016), Varna (16 – 17 Dec. 2016), Pleven (Jan. 2017), Burgas (Jan. 2017).
More information is available here.
Reach for Change competiion
We are semi-finalists in the competition organized by Reach for Change – Bulgaria.
Our project – to establish the first center for eye-controlled assistive technologies in Bulgaria. The center will give the opportunity to thousands of children with severe physical disabilities to have access to eye-tracking and gaze interaction assistive technologies and develop their full potential!
The slogan of our campaign is that Each child should be able to say “I love you!”.
Maurice Grinberg, PhD
Maurice Grinberg, PhD is associate professor in the Department of Cognitive Science and Psychology and in the Research Center for Cognitive Science at New Bulgarian University. His research interests include judgment and decision making in social and moral dilemmas, mind perception in robots and transhumans, eye-tracking and bio-signal recording technologies, cognitive technologies, behavioural science, experimental philosophy, and e-learning.
Maurice Grinberg is co-founder of ASSIST – Assistive technologies – an NGO promoting and disseminating high-tech AAC (Augmentative and Alternative Communication) technologies in Bulgaria with a focus on eye-control for computer access and communication for people with severe physical disabilities.
Evgeniya Hristova, PhD
Evgeniya Hristova, PhD is assistant professor in the Department of Cognitive Science and Psychology and in the Research Center for Cognitive Science at New Bulgarian University. Her research interests include judgment and decision making in social and moral dilemmas, eye-tracking and bio-signal recordings, mind perception.
Evgeniya Hristova is a co-founder of ‘ASSIST – Assistive technologies’ – the first Bulgarian NGO promoting and disseminating high-tech AAC technologies in Bulgaria with a focus on eye gaze assistive technologies for computer access and communication for people with severe physical disabilities.
– Help the social integration, personal fullfilment, improvement of the quality of life of the people with special needs, especially with sever physical disabilities.
– Increase the social, educational, and civil status of people with disabilities by granting them access to information and communication technologies and everything they can provide in terms of information, knowledge, and applications.
– Inform representatives of the institutions and professional organizations working with people with disabilities about the potentional of the available assistive technologies.
– Support applied and fundamental research related to assistive and augmenting technologies.
– Insure access to relevant and up-to-date information about the available assistive technologies and their application via a web-site, seminars, workshops, etc.
– Grant information and acces to software, best practices, and devices for people with disabilities.
– Adaptation, testing, and development of methods and software for people with disabilities.
– Study the specific needs of people with disabilites and help and support in the usage of assistive technologies.
– Fund raising via donation campaigns and projects for assistive technology provision.
– Membership in specialized national and international organizations, foundations and institutions related to the problems of people with disabilities.
– Consulting and training for people with disabilities, specialized educational institutions, state intstutions and organizations.
– Dissemination of the results and best practicies in the media.
This post is also available in Български.