Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare LogoOur Team has a very strong track record of collaboration with the University of Sheffield Rehabilitation and Assistive Technology Group and the Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare.  We also collaborate on projects with other leading research institutions including MMU and UCL.D4D Logo

The team is also a member of the Devices for Dignity (D4D) Healthcare Technology Co-operative and leads the Assistive Technology theme within D4D.

Research Projects

The team is involved in a range of cutting edge developments in the assistive technology field, research carried out by the group has a strong focus on user-centred design. We are currently involved in the following projects:

I-ASC – Identifying appropriate symbol communication aids for children who are non speaking

I-ASC Project logo

Partners on this NIHR Grant (HS&DR – 14/70/153) in collaboration with MMU.

The aim of this project is to improve the provision of symbol communication aids to children and young people who have little or no intelligible speech.

I-ASC Project Website.

VocaTempo – Voice Input Communication Aid for Children with Dysarthria

VocaTempo App LogoBuillding on previous work by the University of Sheffield and Barnsley Hospital. VocaTempo is an SBRI Healthcare funded project that aims to bring this innovative voice-input, voice-output technology to the market in an app specifically designed for children that have speech that is difficult for others to understand (dysarthric).  This project is led by the commercial partner, TherapyBox.

VocaTempo page on TherapyBox website.

EMGage – Electromyography for control. Phase 1&2

Emego LogoPartners on this SBRI funded project in collaboration with GSPK Design, CATCH and Devices For Dignity.

The aim of this project is to bring to market a muscle activity sensing switch (using novel ‘dry’ electrodes) to enable those with severe  physical disabilities to control technology. The project involve two studies to establish performance of the prototype with end users and further influence its design and secondly to establish performance data on the effectiveness of the final medical device.

Unspoken Voices – Kath Broomfield, NIHR Clinical Fellowship

Kath BroomfieldWe are supporting Kath in her PhD fellowship which is about the ‘unspoken voices’ of those who use AAC. Kath’s project aims to ensure that people who use AAC have a voice in being able to feedback about the experience of using AAC and the AAC services they receive. Kath will be doing this by developing a Patient Reported Outcome Measure (PROM).

Kath is blogging about her research Kath has also described the research on our blog.

STAR – Speech Therapy apps for Rehabilitation

STAR logoCo-applicant on this NIHR (i4i) grant in collaboration with University of Sheffield and Therapy Box Ltd.

The aim of this project is to deliver novel computer-based articulation therapy, using apps for tablet computers which the patients can use to administer their own therapy.

ICU App (D4D)

Collaboration with Imperial College/RCA Helix Centre, Digital Stitch Ltd and Devices for Dignity.

We are developing a communication aid specifically designed for use in Intensive Care.

Project website coming soon.

Past Projects

We have also been involved in the following projects:

 CARLA (D4D). 2014.

Carla Logo

We developed an accessible receptive language assessment for children who were unable to access standard assessments.

headupHeadUp – The Sheffield Support Snood. 2011

We were partners on the development phase of this head support for people living with MND.  Lead by SITRAN and with SHU Lab for Living.

The Sheffield Support Snood is now undergoing clinical trials.


Functional Gaze Control in Young Children with Cerebral Palsy. 2013

Gaze Project LogoWe supported this project led by UCL looking at functional eye gaze in children with Cerebral Palsy.   We are still part of the gaze project team and the project has developed some fantastic resources and is running three further studies related to gaze.

Communication Matters, research matters: evidence of need project. 2011

CM AAC Evidence Base ProjectWe were a partner in this project, funded by the Big Lottery, and developed in collaboration with Communication Matters, MMU and University of Sheffield.

This project provided data on the level of need for aided communication in the UK. We provided a synthesis of qualitative and quantitative data which provided a rich picture around the need for aided communication that can be used to support funding and service provision.  This work was cited in the NHS England service specification and service developments (convergence funding) of 2013-14.

DfE Alternative and Augmentative Communication Grant (North Consortia). 2013

dfe aac projectProject partner within this Department for Education grant work and with a lead on carrying out a national audit on AAC services.  This grant provided information to prepare the ground for provision of nationally commissioned specialised services.

Voice In Voice Output Communication Aid (Vivoca & Vivoca2). 2007, 2009.

Jon using Vivoca

We were lead partner on these projects in collaboration with University of Sheffield and Toby Churchill Ltd.

We developed a speech recognition systems for people with disordered (dysarthric) speech to the point of availability for commercialisation.

Communication aid design – Devices for Dignity AAC project. 2009

d4d aac projectWe investigated the design requirements of users’ of communication aids, people who use communication aids (and have difficulties with speech) are a notoriously hard to reach group and their needs are poorly understood.  This project investigated the needs of users though a mixture of research methods.

Speech-driven Environmental Control Systems (SPECS)


MAAVIS – Simple access to media and communications