This project will assess the suitability of neuroprosthetic devices for the specific needs of the population of disabled people in Cali, Colombia. It will identify the requirements of assistive devices oriented to the restoration of motor and manipulation capabilities, following a multidisciplinary approach and involving the target population (i.e. disabled persons).
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Colombian society has been afflicted for a long period of time by an internal conflict and high levels of violence. As a result, a significant amount of the population suffers from some form of physical disability which combined with high levels of poverty and difficult access to assistive technologies places them in a situation of discrimination. In this project, our objective is to characterise the needs of the population with motor disabilities in Cali, Colombia and to evaluate technological solutions for restoring mobility and handling capabilities.
Although there are already some studies that aimed to identify these needs, they don’t address specific needs of the population of developing countries (e.g. levels of poverty, social inclusion barriers, among others). To do this, we will build upon the expertise of the EPFL partner (CNBI) on the field of neuroprosthetics and the experience of the Colombian partner (PUJ) on the use of a multidisciplinary approach to identify the requirements of assistive solutions taking into account not only functional features but other characteristics such as perceptual, adaptability and usability factors associated with the products.
This approach, involving engineers, psychologist, therapists, and potential users (i.e. disabled people), has been successfully applied in a previous project led by PUJ aimed at the design of a device for assisted mobility. This project—named ANDAR and funded by the main financial research support in Colombia, Colciencias- involved two Colombian partners (Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and Universidad del Valle,Cali) and one Spanish university (U. Politécnica de Valencia).