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1. BREATHE Project 2013-2016

Funder European Commission under AAL Call 5

There are a number of problems that informal caregivers have to face: lack of experience and formal education in care, shortage of tools to manage the whole cycle, stress and depression. This is a well-known problem since family carers provide 80% of long-term care in Europe. BREATHE platform will provide an ICT-based solution for the caregiver and the elderly in order to mitigate these problems and impact at three different levels: (1) personal, by increasing quality of life and care, (2) local and regional, by providing a tool usable by different stakeholders to effectively manage the reality of the informal care as well as by opening opportunities of new business models and employment and (3) European, by reducing health system costs as a consequence of an effective management of the informal care. The individual solution is based on a strong server side system that maintains updated models of both caregiver and assisted person and offers strategic support and customised guidance during the whole long-term care process.

BREATHE Project aims to provide a rich platform for improving the quality of life of informal caregivers. This system is fed by three sources: (1) AAL system that gathers information about daily life activities of the elderly at home, (2) structured information that should be completed and (3) non-structured sources of information such as a diary, notes and posts in social networks. BREATHE AAL system is based on a combination of distributed video cameras and information acquired by other sensors. Appropriate measures were taken to preserve dignity and maintain privacy and confidentiality. The result of the project included a comprehensive working prototype, validated with real end-users in three different countries (Spain, Ireland and the United Kingdom).

2. ASSISTID FP7 - 2014-2019 &

ASSISTID is about many things; the development of new technology, the assessment or adaptation of existing technology, training future leaders in disability research and services, gathering information about current use of AT and barriers which people face when attempting to access or use AT, raising awareness of the potential which AT has to transform lives.

The ASSISTID researchers are a multidisciplinary group of psychologists, speech and language therapists, computer scientists, architects, entrepreneurs and engineers who are using their skill to change practice and perceptions around assistive technology for people with intellectual disabilities and/or autism.

The aim of ASSISTID is to...
  • Establish ASSISTID as the first multi-disciplinary, inter-sectorial research and training programme focusing on evidence based research into technology for intellectual disability and/or autism.
  • Train up to 40 post-doctoral researchers to become leaders in academia, industry or disability services with particular skills in assistive technology.
  • Ensure our researchers acquire a deep understanding of the nature of intellectual disability and autism and how the needs of individuals influence the successful uptake of assistive technology.
  • Develop new technology, assess or adapt existing technology, develop new assessment tools and guidelines.
  • Understand the practical, societal and environmental factors which can act as facilitators or barriers to the uptake of technology by people with ID or autism.
  • Disseminate research findings and produce a body of evidence to inform disability policy and practice.
  • Raise awareness of the potential of technology as a tool to support independent living and enable choice.

The ASSISTID programme funded up to 40 post-doctoral Fellows and is co-funded by the European Commission and the charity RESPECT. ASSISTID is coordinated by RESPECT's research institute DOCTRID which is a network of researchers, service providers and industry partners who are dedicated to ground breaking research and training to improve the lives of people with ID and/or autism.


Comiskey C., Delaney S., Galligan K., Dinsmore J., Keenan M., Cullen K. (2018) The BREATHE Project, a mobile application, video-monitoring system in family homes as an aid to the caring role: Needs, acceptability and concerns of informal carers, Digital Health, 4, p1-8 DOI

Boot F.H., MacLachlan M., Dinsmore J. (2019) Are there differences in factors influencing access and continued use of assistive products for people with intellectual disabilities living in group homes?, Disability and Rehabilitation: Assistive Technology, p1-10 DOI

Boot F., Owour J., Dinsmore J., MacLachlan M. (2018) Access to assistive technology for people with intellectual disabilities: a systematic review to identify barriers and facilitators, Journal of Intellectual Disability Research DOI

Owuor J., Larkin F., Kayabu., Fitzgerald G., Sheaf G., Dinsmore J., McConkey R., Clarke M., MacLachlan M. (2018) Does Assistive Technology Contribute to Social Inclusion for People with Intellectual Disability? A Systematic Review Protocol, BMJ, p10 URL

Boot, F., Dinsmore, J., Khasnabis, C., MacLachlan, M. (2017) Intellectual Disability and Assistive Technology: opening the GATE wider, Frontiers in Public Health, section Public Health Policy, 5 (10) DOI