Monday, 30 October 2017

CATCH outcomes from the AAATE conference

CATCH Hosted the AAATE Congress earlier this year which saw almost 400 delegates from a range of academic disciplines, health and social care professionals, policy makers, and industry come together to discuss challenges from around the world where Assistive Technology could deliver benefits to the increasing population of people with disabilities and the ageing society.

The breadth of capacity that CATCH has to engage in Research and Development was well illustrated by the articles published in the Conference proceedings

There were 19 article from CATCH researchers spanning users who have communication, cognitive, static, degenerative, mental health, multiple, and profound impairments involving technologies and their use that spans EMG switches, touch screens, the internet, wearables, apps and robots.
The reported work examined methods, technology innovation and evaluation and service implementation.

There was some focus on addressing support for older people through the use of assistive technology for example for those with dementia or who would benefit from the use of robots to support independent living. 

The 19 articles from CATCH are
  • Comparing Recent Reviews About Touchscreens for Dementia with Lessons Learnt from the Field, Yvonne SCHIKHOF, Marleen GOUMANS, Phil JODDRELL and Arlene ASTELL, Pages 1 – 4
  • Reconnecting People with Dementia by Using the Interactive Instrument CRDL, Lisanne TEUNISSEN, Tom LUYTEN and Luc de WITTE, Pages 9 – 15
  • Independent Living Functions for the Elderly (IN-LIFE): Supporting Communication in Dementia, Sarah.K.SMITH and Arlene.J.ASTELL, Pages 16-22
  • Observing Remote Prescription of AT, Peter CUDD, Aejaz ZAHID and Marcus FRIDAY, Pages 94-97
  • Access Visits sing Video Communication, Suvodeep MAZUMDAR, Fabio CIRAVEGNA, Neil IRESON, Jennifer READ, Emma SIMPSON and Peter CUDD, Pages 102-110
  • Remote Health Care Provision in Care Homes, Louise NEWBOULD, Gail MOUNTAIN, Mark HAWLEY, and Steve ARISS, Pages 148-151
  • Smart Clothing for Falls Protection and Detection: User-Centred Co-Design and Feasibility Study, Katherine EASTON, Thomas BURTON, Steven ARISS, Mike BRADBURN and Mark HAWLEY, Pages 152-159
  • Cloud- based Speech Technology for Assistive Technology Applications (CloudCAST), Stuart CUNNINGHAM, Phil GREEN, Heidi CHRISTENSEN, José Joaquín ATRIA, Andre ́ COY, Massimiliano MALAVASI, Lorenzo DESIDERI, and Frank RUDZICZ, Pages 322-329
  • The Language and Communication Characteristics of Communication Aids – Systematic Review, Simon JUDGE, Nicola RANDALL, Yvonne LYNCH, Stuart MEREDITH, Liz MOULAM, Janice MURRAY, Juliet GOLDBART, Pages 347-350
  • The Hollybank Challenges: AT for People with Profound Disabilities, Pam KING, Kim LUDI, Deb MORTIMER and Stephen POTTER, Pages :351-354
  • Technology for Early Detection of Depression and Anxiety in Older People, Jacob A. ANDREWS, Arlene J. ASTELL, Laura J.E. BROWN, Robert F.HARRISON and Mark S. HAWLEY, Pages 374 – 380
  • A User-Centred Approach Exploring the Potential of a Novel EMG Switch for Control of Assistive Technology, Simon JUDGE, Nasrin NASR, Mark HAWLEY, Pages 381 – 384
  • Providing Sources of Self-Efficacy Through Technology Enhanced Post-Stroke Rehabilitation in the Home, Jack PARKER and Susan MAWSON, Pages 401 – 408
  • Robots for Elderly Care: Their Level of Social Interactions and the Targeted End User, Sandra BEDAF and Luc de WITTE, Pages 472 – 478
  • Introducing ZORA to Children with Severe Physical Disabilities, Renée van den HEUVEL, Monique LEXIS, and Luc de WITTE, Pages 510-516
  • Evaluation of Dynamic Arm Supports in Real Life Environments, L.A. van der Heidea, U. Roentgen, L. de Witte, Pages 517 – 522
  • IntelliTable: Inclusively-Designed Furniture with Robotic Capabilities, Tony J PRESCOTT, Sebastian CONRAN, Ben MITCHINSON, and Peter CUDD, Pages 565 – 572
  • Involving Users in the Evaluation of Apps for Specific Health Conditions, Lauren POWELL, Phil JODDRELL and Dr Jack PARKER, Pages 646 – 653
  • Assessing Gait Impairments Based on Auto- ncoded Patterns of Mahalanobis Distances from Consecutive Steps, Mario MUÑOZ-ORGANERO, Richard DAVIES and Sue MAWSON, Pages 733 – 740

Friday, 20 October 2017

Recent activity with ADHD Research in TaCT

Two papers have recently been published about the suitability of mobile applications (apps) for children and young people with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD).

Miss Lauren Powell and Dr Jack Parker from CATCH collaborated with University of Sheffield Psychology student, Miss Naomi Robertson and Sheffield Children’s NHS Foundation Trust’s Dr Val Harpin on this work. Click on the links below to find out more:

Study one explored the usability of the top 10 listed apps for children and young people with ADHD and clinicians who work with them

Study two explored the parents’ views of the suitability of the top ten listed apps for parents of children and young people with ADHD and the views of clinicians that work with them on the suitability and value of the apps

Study one was presented as a poster presentation at the Royal College of Psychiatrists International Congress 2017 by Miss Powell.

The methods behind the two above papers were also presented by Miss Powell at the Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe (AAATE) International Congress, 2017.

We have also held an event for children and young people with ADHD and their parents where we used Lego to answer questions around what technology they would like to help them manage their ADHD. To our knowledge, this is the first event of its kind using Lego Serious Play for this group. The workshop findings have been published in the NIHR INVOLE newsletter,

The workshop is also due to be presented by Dr Parker at the Design4Health conference in Melbourne in December, 2017.

This work was jointly funded by the Research Design Service Yorkshire and the Humber (RDS YH) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Telehealth and Care Technologies (TaCT) theme of the Collaboration for Leadership in Applied Health Research and Care Yorkshire Humber (CLAHRC YH)

Wednesday, 4 October 2017

Pepper wows audience at Sensoria Festival

On Sunday 1st October, our humanoid robot Pepper took centre stage at the Sensoria Festival to introduce a sold-out screening of Fritz Lang’s iconic 1927 silent film Metropolis. The screening, which was accompanied by a live score by post-industrial electro-noise duo Factory Floor, took place in the awe-inspiring Face of Steel hall at Magna, a former steelworks on the outskirts of Sheffield.

Widely regarded as a pioneering work of cinematic science fiction, Metropolis depicts a dystopian future where a city’s downtrodden, exploited underclass of workers secretly plot a revolt, and features a robot which plays a crucial role in the events that transpire.

Based in and around Sheffield, Sensoria is the UK’s festival of music, film and digital media, and is renowned for its risk-taking and innovation. Now in its 10th year, Sensoria aims to provide access, raise aspiration and encourage new talent across the arts.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017

CATCH forges international links with China

On the 27 September CATCH hosted a visit from the Vice-Governor of the Chinese region of Ningxia.  Vice-Governor Yao Aixin brought with him the President Sun Tao of Ningxia Medical University and Vice President Li Xiaoyan of Ningxia Polytechnic as well as two of his colleagues.  The visit was very kindly organised by Tim O’Connell from the Rotherham Investment and Development Office (RiDO).

Vice-Governor Yao’s visit followed an earlier visit by a delegation from Ningxia in June to see if CATCH and the University of Sheffield would make a good partner for the region.  That visit was successful and a visit by the Vice-governor was arranged.

Ningxia is an autonomous region of China located in the centre of the country. The region is heavily investing in modern health and social care infrastructure and is exploring combining medical and elderly care services.

During the visit many opportunities for collaboration between CATCH and the two universities from Ningxia were discussed. These included student exchanges and areas of joint research. The Ningxia delegation invited Profs Mark Hawley and Luc de Witte to visit Ningxia to continue the discussions.

Friday, 29 September 2017

Early Career Researcher award for CATCH research associate

Congratulations to CATCH researcher Becky Field for winning the Early Career Researcher Award at the Royal College of Occupational Therapists 2017 Conference for her presentation on 'Identifying influences on take up of community occupational therapy by people with dementia and their family carer.'

“This was based on part of my PhD research, which is about take up of psychosocial interventions for people with early stage dementia. I am researching this because there is evidence supporting the benefits of such interventions, and health policy promotes living well with dementia, but what influences people with dementia take up psychosocial interventions is poorly understood.

I attended the Royal College of Occupational Therapists Celebration of Excellence 2017, in London to receive this award. Another Sheffield Occupational Therapist, Liz Dry (Sheffield Health and Social Care NHS Foundation Trust) received an innovation award for her work in Sheffield promoting digital technology to support service users. Both Liz and I are members of the Sheffield Occupational Therapy Clinical Academics (SOTCA) network

It was a great day, as I got to meet some really inspirational, committed and innovative Occupational Therapists from around the UK, taking their fields of practice and research forward for the benefit of the people they work with. “
Becky Field
Research Associate

Find out more about occupational therapy

#ValueofOT @RCOT

For more information on the ‘Valuing Active Life in Dementia’ research programme please see

Thursday, 28 September 2017

Dr Sarah Kate Smith to speak at the Mental Health Digital Showcase

Dr Sarah Kate Smith from CATCH will be presenting on “Accessible technology for people living with dementia” at the upcoming Mental Health Digital Showcase, Organised by the South Yorkshire and Bassetlaw ACS Mental Health & Learning Disabilities Workstream.

The showcase, to be held on Friday 29th September at the Doncaster Keepmoat Stadium will explore the topic “How can digital technology help us to improve the way we support people with mental health problems?”

Find out more about the showcase here

Tuesday, 26 September 2017

Harnessing the power of technology to improve lives: The AAATE Congress came to Sheffield this September.

CATCH welcomed hundreds of world leading scientists and health care professionals, who are helping to improve lives through revolutionary technology, to Sheffield this month for the AAATE Congress 12th - 15th September

The Congress combined the 14th AAATE Conference, and, satellite events that covered assistive technology practice and service implementation, and also included the T4I2017 Conference and a Student Tournament addressing real world challenges.

The Congress welcomed almost 400 delegates to Sheffield across the 4 days from a range of academic disciplines, health and social care professionals, policy makers, and industry who discussed challenges from around the world where Assistive Technology could deliver benefits to the increasing population of people with disabilities and the ageing society.

With a programme of well over 200 talks there was a wide array of technology and research on show and the event proved 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 previously from the European Commission, now an independent consultant, gave his perspective on innovation over the last and next 10 years in the opening keynote presentation. Highlighting not just the challenges but the opportunities there are for collaborative and more integrated responses from the innovation communities.

Lord Chris Holmes presented a closing plenary talk. He is very active in the disability field and is the chair of the Global Disability Innovation Hub, spoke about the challenges faced by people with disabilities in today’s world. Lord Holmes explained just how transformational assistive technology has been to him personally and spoke generally about the potential of assistive technology to remove barriers, unlock opportunities and unleash talent and reminded us all why it is so important. Delegates resoundingly left inspired.

To find out more about the Association for the Advancement of Assistive Technology in Europe visit their website.

Friday, 1 September 2017

CATCH Members publish paper in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy

CATCH Members Laura Di Bona, Jennifer Wenborn, Becky Fields and Gail Mountain, along with colleagues have published a paper in the British Journal of Occupational Therapy entitled ‘Enablers and challenges to occupational therapists’ research engagement: A qualitative study’

To develop occupational therapy’s evidence base and improve its clinical outcomes, occupational therapists must increase their research involvement. Barriers to research consumption and leadership are well documented, but those relating to delivering research interventions, less so. Yet, interventions need to be researched within practice to demonstrate their clinical effectiveness. This study aims to improve understanding of challenges and enablers experienced by occupational therapists who deliver interventions within research programmes.

Twenty-eight occupational therapists who participated in the Valuing Active Life in Dementia (VALID) research programme reported their experiences in five focus groups. Data were analysed thematically to identify key and subthemes.

Our paper finds that Occupational therapists reported that overwhelming paperwork, use of videos, recruitment and introducing a new intervention challenged their research involvement, whereas support, protected time and a positive attitude enabled it. The impact of these challenges and enablers varied between therapists and organisations.

The study concludes that challenges and enablers to research involvement can be identified but must be addressed within individual and organisational contexts. Multifaceted collective action to minimise challenges and maximise enablers can facilitate clinicians’ involvement in research. Using this approach should enable occupational therapists to increase their research involvement, thus demonstrating the clinical effectiveness of their interventions.

The full paper can be accessed here

Friday, 11 August 2017

Steven Haigh, Executive Director of Primary Care Sheffield, speaks at CATCH July Networking Lunch

Members of the CATCH community and collaborators gathered for the July Networking Lunch on 21 July with guest speaker Steven Haigh. Steven spoke about the challenges of ageing in Sheffield.

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

CATCH student presents at prestigious conference

A student supervised by CATCH Academic Dana Damian, presented a research paper at an international conference last week. 

Alex Thorn, a MEng student from the Department of Automatic Control and Systems Engineering (ACSE) at the University presented at the Towards Autonomous Robotic Systems (TAROS) conference which was held at the University of Surrey. There, he presented an oral paper on creating a phantom variable stiffness tissue, innovative research into creating artificial tissue for testing medical robotics.