Assistive Technology Program
The core function of CATI will be to operate an AT program that caters to the accessibility and accommodation needs of students and clients of NISH. It will comprise need assessment, device demo, lending, training, customization, financing, reutilisation of products, and service/maintenance of AT solutions for independent living by PwD. Such a full-fledged program is currently under development including the creation of necessary systems and processes for operating various elements, evaluation of a wide range of AT solutions and exploring options for collaboration in various areas. An AT lending library is available as well as a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) lab to generate simple, cost-effective, and customized AT solutions for the clients. The centre actively explores different funding schemes to provide financial assistance for users and catalyses the creation of an industry base for AT products so that affordable solutions are made available to them.
Awareness Creation and Training (ACT)
Lack of awareness about assistive technology is a major stumbling block in the diffusion and adaptation of AT. To address this issue, CATI will serve as a resource centre for AT solutions; it will spread awareness and provide training to users, family members and caregivers. Manuals and guidelines will be prepared for the same. Developing a strong volunteer programme for AT training dissemination is also on the anvil. In July, 2019, we started a six-month part-time certificate course on ‘AT solutions’.
AT Portal and Platform
This website is a step in CATI’s journey towards developing a common web portal and platform to connect with different groups of AT stakeholders; the portal will be accessible and regularly updated, to connect the different groups of AT stakeholders. It would act as a reference source of assistive technology for other AT centres. It would also help persons with disability understand and compare the AT options available to them before deciding on and acquiring an optimum solution. CATI has also convened an informal network of experts and organizes periodic events to stimulate intellectual discussions on AT. We conducted an international conference on AT titled ‘Forging the AT value chain’ in January, 2019.
Catalysing R&D and Manufacturing of AT products (CR&DM)
CATI collaborates with AT developers to encourage technology and product development, as well as manufacturing through linkages with R&D organisations, IITs, IIMs, NITs, and leading engineering and management institutions/universities in India and abroad. CATI reaches out to students and startup communities in India to give impetus to an entrepreneurship ecosystem in AT through internships, collaborations and joint activities. Currently, our major collaborators are Social Alpha incubator, Kerala Startup Mission, Mar Baselios College of Engineering, Marian College of engineering, College of Engineering-Trivandrum and Kerala State Institute of Design. We co-organized ‘NISH makeathon’ in April, 2019 as part of Kerala Startup Mission’s Ideafest to promote AT projects by students and startups.