Wednesday, 22 March 2017

World Health Organisation releases global priority research agenda for assistive technology

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has recently published the global priority research agenda for improving access to high-quality affordable assistive technology.

Representing the Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (AAATE) as the largest professional assistive technology organisation in the region, CATCH’s Professor Luc de Witte was part of the core group who drafted this brief which can be downloaded here.

In the paper, it is outlined what the WHO did to create priorities and promote research and innovation in this vital area. Through this activity, the group identified five global priority research thematic areas as essential to improving access to high quality, affordable assistive technology:
  1. Effects, costs and economic impact of assistive technology.
  2. Assistive technology policies, systems, service provision models and best practices.
  3. High-quality and affordable assistive technology.
  4. Human resources for the assistive technology sector.
  5. Standards and methodologies for the assessment of assistive technology need and unmet need.

They also propose two guiding principles for any assistive technology-related research activities:
  1. User involvement in all aspects of research, especially on policy and service provision.
  2. Work from a social and environmental model of disability and participation.

You can download and read the full document here.

For more information on how CATCH’s activities align with this research agenda, please contact Laura Murray.

Monday, 20 March 2017

CATCH joins the HSR Seminar Series for March Networking Lunch

This month, the CATCH community were excited to hold our March Networking Lunch in conjunction with the HSR Seminar Series.

Matt Machin, mHealth Applications Manager in the Centre for Health Informatics at the University of Manchester was our guest speaker at the event with his talk entitled “Improving Health in Long-term Conditions with Smartphone Apps and Wearable Devices”.

More than 30 academics, researchers and industrial partners joined us within ScHARR’s home, Regent Court, to hear Matt’s 45 minute talk. During this, Matt explained to the audience about the platforms they have developed and the projects associated with these and explored the potential future healthcare applications of these technologies.

Following the event, Melanie Rimmer from ScHARR shared that “It’s good to see developers and researchers working closely to develop evidence-based, well-evaluated apps that are more likely to be beneficial for people with long term conditions.”

The next Networking Lunch will take place on Wednesday 3rd May in the ICOSS Conference Room, University of Sheffield from 12.15 - 14.00. We’re delighted to welcome Professor Annalu Waller, Chair of Human Communication Technologies from the University of Dundee.

Please contact Laura Murray if you would like to attend.

Friday, 17 March 2017

CATCH “Showcase of Future Healthcare” event draws the crowds

CATCH set up their living room of the future in the Winter Garden, Sheffield last Saturday to showcase to the general public what the future of healthcare might look like.

Part of the Sheffield Festival of Science and Engineering and co-organised with the Public Engagement team at the University of Sheffield, the event attracted more than 1,000 people throughout the day.

Seven CATCH collaborators (see logos below) joined the event with exhibition stands demonstrating healthcare technologies. Partners Sheffield Robotics and Zuyd University of Applied Sciences were also in attendance Children were given the opportunity to learn about future technology by visiting each partner, experiencing the technology first hand and getting answers to six questions. 100 children took part. 

Pepper robot, the latest recruit to the CATCH team was a big pull for children and adults alike who were impressed by the humanoid’s range of movement and interaction skills. Other technology on display on the day included Emego, an EMG switch which senses muscle activity as well as CIRCA, an interactive reminiscence and conversation aid.

Fresh from the great success of his Inaugural Lecture the previous night, Professor Luc de Witte addressed the audience for two pop-up talks about the role of technology in future healthcare.

It was great to have the opportunity to meet so many people interested in our technology and share how CATCH is working to help people to live well and age well.

We’d like to take this opportunity to say a special thanks to the Public Engagement team at the University, notably Nicola Strafford, Public Engagement Manager for her great work in helping us to make this event a huge success.
If you would like to find out more about CATCH’s exciting research and future events, please contact Laura Murray.

Thursday, 16 March 2017

INVOLVE Conference 28/11/2017

The INVOLVE Conference has been confirmed for Tuesday 28th November 2017 in central London. 

If you are thinking of submitting an abstract the call for submissions is now open.

This NIHR Conference is to celebrate the progress of public involvement in research and consider the opportunities ahead.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

Hundreds gather at Professor Luc de Witte’s Inaugural Lecture to discover “Technology: who cares?!”

More than 200 guests joined Professor Luc de Witte last Friday in the iconic Diamond Building for his Inaugural Lecture: “Technology; who cares?!”

The event celebrated the arrival of Prof. de Witte as one of the Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health’s “big-hitters” where he shared how technology can, and will, play a major role in future health and care around the world.

Prof. Dame Pamela Shaw, Vice President and Pro-Vice Chancellor Faculty of Medicine, Dentistry and Health at the University of Sheffield introduced the lecture. Prof. Dame Shaw seamlessly linked Luc’s lecture to the Care 2050 development and the approaches that CATCH, ScHARR and the wider University may take.

Having joined CATCH in October 2016, Luc is already working to put Sheffield at the heart of innovation and reiterated his belief that Sheffield has all the assets to become a key player here in healthcare during this lecture.

Luc received a great response from the audience when he addressed what assistive technology (AT) really is. “How many of you are wearing glasses?” he quipped to realisation around the room that AT doesn’t have to be high tech. In a fascinating statistic shared from the World Health Organisation however, only 10-15% of those in need have access to AT.

Part of the Sheffield Festival of Science and Engineering, Professor de Witte’s lecture attracted members of the public, partners and colleagues from across Europe as well as University of Sheffield staff and collaborators.

It’s safe to say that Prof. de Witte’s Inaugural Lecture was very well received and the buzz that it had generated was clear at the reception that followed.

We’d like to take this opportunity to say a special thanks to the Public Engagement team at the University, notably Nicola Strafford, Public Engagement Manager as well as Kathryn Rooney, Personal Assistant to the Dean of ScHARR for their tireless efforts that contributed heavily to the success of this event.

If you would like to find out more about Professor Luc de Witte’s research or are interested in collaborating with CATCH, please contact Laura Murray.

Friday, 10 March 2017

Predicting depression in older adults - THAW PhD student has paper published in high impact journal

THAW PhD student Jake Andrews and supervisor Professor Rob Harrison have published a paper in the Journal of Affective Disorders.
The paper describes how they used a machine learning approach to build an algorithm that predicts the onset of depression in older people.
The study looked at daily mood scores given by older adults using a touchscreen interface known as NANA – Novel Assessment of Nutrition and Ageing. The model predicted whether or not the Geriatric Depression Scale would assess participants as depressed 10 weeks after they reported their mood using NANA.
Although this is exciting work, it uses data from only 40 older people, so more research is needed before the algorithm can be put to use. The full paper can be read here.
For more information about the research of THAW or this paper, please contact Jake Andrews.

Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Emego to be showcased at the Science and Engineering Festival in Sheffield

EMEGO Marketing Assistant, Jack, is delighted to join the CATCH team (Centre for Assistive Technology and Connected Healthcare) in Sheffield on Saturday March 11th for the Science and Engineering Festival. 

You’ll be able to get a hands-on experience with Emego in the future home area, along with other exciting emerging technologies who are collaborating with CATCH. The list of other collaborators is here:
We hope you can join Jack and the CATCH team on Saturday 11th March.
For more information about this event, please contact or visit the website:

Tuesday, 7 March 2017

Sharing the learning event from The King's Fund

Mainstreaming primary and acute care systems and multispecialty community providers

Event on 21st March 2017 from 9.00am - 4.30pm at The King's Fund, London, W1G 0AN

Find out more about this event and register here.

Monday, 6 March 2017

Become an Approved Partner for AAATE2017

The AAATE is inviting approved and interested parties to promote our 2017 Congress in return for discounted registration at the same rate as members of the AAATE.

If members of your organisation are interested in attending the AAATE2017 Congress, this is a great way to obtain a discount.
In order to qualify for this special arrangement for your members you will need to:

  • Confirm formally the arrangements for the agreement by signing a Memorandum of Understanding.
  • Promote the Congress to yours members/employees and share evidence of this with the AAATE.

We will liaise with your organisation’s key contact over matters regarding the agreement and confirm any claimants of the Approved Partner discount.
In order to take advantage of this offer or if you would like more details, please email
In return for this promotion, we will acknowledge your support of our Congress through placing your organisation’s logo with a hyperlink to your website on our Congress website.
We are delighted to announce our first three Approved Partners:
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To find out more about AAATE2017, please visit the website or email

Friday, 3 March 2017

AAATE2017 Satellite Events - call now OPEN!

The call for short communication contributions to Satellite Events for the AAATE2017 Congress to be held in Sheffield in September 2017 is now open.

Deadline: Friday 31st March 2017 17.00 CET.

The AAATE2017 Congress now invites you to submit a short communication (approximately 900 words) to the Congress Satellite Events from AT related/allied areas such as:

  • Therapy;
  • Rehabilitation;
  • User engagement;
  • Audit, service development, novel product, technology or service innovation.

For more information on the AAATE2017 Congress and the 5-day event overview please visit the website. And note that, T4I2017 on 15th September will have a separate schedule shortly to be announced. Fees will also be confirmed in March 2017.
Satellite Events are additions to the core AAATE2017 Conference. The Satellite sessions are workshop or lecture style. Content need not be as academic or at all. 
The Satellite sessions will be held at St Mary’s Conference Centre, Sheffield, located approximately a 20 minute walk from the Conference venue of The Diamond.
Draft short communication guidance, for presentations and posters, along with the form to be used for submission can be downloaded here.
The final deadline for all the above submissions is 31.03.2017 17.00 CET.
The call for short communications for AAATE2017 Satellite Events is now open. The deadline is 31.03.2017 17.00 CET. Following this you will receive feedback and will be required to submit your final, updated short communication no later than 15.05.2017 17.00 CET.
For more information about Satellite Events or the AAATE2017 Congress, please visit the website or contact