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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

  • write
  • learn
  • paint

Using text-to-speech software they can

  • talk
  • express their own thoughts and feelings
  • communicate with their peers.

By using only their gaze, they can

  • use Internet
  • communicate
  • study

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
  • stroke
  • ALS (amitrophic lateral sclerosis)

Examples:

Sebastian’s Story – a Tobii Dynavox video

Caitlin’s Fundraising Story

 

Our activities

Raising the awareness about AAC and eye gaze assistive technologies

Seminars

Training courses

Research

Consultations

Development of educational material

 

Our projects

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!”.

Our team

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.

Veselina Kadreva

Stanislava Borisova