Harnessing the power of technology to improve lives: international conference comes to Sheffield

The University of Sheffield is set to welcome hundreds of world leading scientists and health care professionals who are helping to improve lives through revolutionary technology to an international conference next week (12-15 September 2017).

The prestigious Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (AAATE) Conference is a global event which brings together experts from across the world who are harnessing the power of technology to help us live and age well.

The University was chosen to host the 14th annual conference as part of a Congress of events due to the success of its pioneering Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare (CATCH).

CATCH is a multi-disciplinary research centre which brings together more than 70 leading academics from 18 different departments and five faculties to research, develop, evaluate and implement new technologies.

The 2017 AAATE Congress will address challenges from around the world where Assistive Technology could deliver benefits to the increasing population of people with disabilities and the ageing society.

The ageing population means the number of people with long-term conditions and disability is rising and CATCH conducts ground-breaking research to provide solutions to enable people to remain independent and receive the care and support they need in their own homes and community. In common with the AAATE the intention of such research is to make a significant and lasting contribution to the quality of life and independence of these people.

Mark Hawley, CATCH Director, said: “We are delighted to be hosting the conference. CATCH is leading the way in assistive technology research and we are keen to facilitate discussions, create networking opportunities and share research in this area.”

The conference will be welcoming more than 300 delegates from a range of academic disciplines, health and social care professionals, policy makers, and industry.

The event will take place at the University of Sheffield’s flagship Diamond building on 13- 14 September 2017 as part of a bigger AAATE 2017 Congress.

Dr Peter Cudd, President of the AAATE, said: “We have succeeded in attracting three sessions hosted by people who are international leaders in developing the use of robots in health and social care contexts. With some 200 articles in the proceedings being presented there is a wide array of technology and research on show. It is a fantastic opportunity to find out what is happening not just in Europe but also in the far East and North America as well.”

Paul Timmers from the European Commission is giving his perspective on innovation over the last and next 10 years in the opening keynote presentation.

Lord Chris Holmes, who is very active in the disability field and is the chair of the Global Disability Innovation Hub, will talk about the challenges faced by people with disabilities in today’s world. In his plenary talk Lord Holmes will explain just how transformational assistive technology has been to him personally. More generally he will highlight the potential of assistive technology to remove barriers, unlock opportunities and unleash talent and remind us all why it is so important.