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Information on Accessibility and Assistive Technologies - The eAccess+ and ETNA Projects Fostering Inclusion for People with Disabilities

Andrea Petz

Klaus Miesenberger


In this paper, we present the work carried out in two EU funded projects (eAccess+ and ETNA) that both aim to overcome barriers keeping PwD also from (higher) education through research, collection and provision of information on (e)Accessibility and Assistive Technologies and how this information / database will be able to facilitate and foster everyday work of and for PwD, their supporters and support centres.

Project eAccess+

eAccess+ is partially funded under the ICT Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP) as part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme by the European Community EU SEVENTH FRAMEWORK PROGRAMME ICT PSP third call for proposals 2009: CIP-ICT-PSP-2009-3, Project Number: 250568 eAccess+ is driven by (25 core members), coming from all over Europe. It is their core task to involve all stakeholder groups at national level and to expand the network by a group of so called “(Associated Partners)”.

The project eAccess+ aims at establishing and systematically developing a cooperative platform for co-ordinating, supporting and improving the implementation of eAccessibility throughout Europe. By involving all stakeholder groups it will analyse the state of the art and in particular the obstacles or missing links hindering a boarder uptake of eAccessibility. The network will first identify and consult all relevant stakeholder groups, analyse and discuss with them the state of the art, support stakeholders in working on key issues to foster eAccessibility and disseminate experiences and knowledge all over Europe. Finally a roadmap should help to find appropriate future actions to support eAccessibility.

eAccess+ is driven by 25 core members, coming from all over Europe. It is their core task to involve all stakeholder groups at national level and to expand the network by a group of Associated Partners.

Out of the wide range of topics related to eAccessibility eAccess+ will focus particularly on fostering the implementation of:

  • Web accessibility
  • Accessible convergent communications and accessible digital audio-visual systems
  • Self-service terminals (SSTs) and devices for banking and financial services, public transport, tourism and cultural heritage, e-government.

Project ETNA (European Thematic Network on Assistive Information Technologies)

The project ETNA is a thematic network funded by the European Union, within the framework of the ICT PSP Programme. Over a period of 3 years, it will establish a European Web Portal able to provide a unified access to information on European ICT assistive products, on related organisations, services, and to allow access to repositories of freeware, open source software products and tools useful for e-accessibility.

Such a Portal will initially stem from the already-existing website of the European Assistive Technology Information Network (EASTIN), the most comprehensive European information service on AT.

Our network

We are 23 leading Organizations, each with acknowledged commitment in the ICT AT area at national or international level, scattered across 13 European Countries. We work in collaboration with ATIS4All (Assistive Technologies and Inclusive Solutions for All) project, another Thematic Network belonging to the same cluster.

The project leader is the Biomedical Technology Department of Don Gnocchi Foundation, the largest private non-profit provider of care and rehabilitation services for people with disabilities and elderly people in Italy.

Our goals

Providing transparent and easily available information on AT and accessibility products and services offered across Europe, thus empowering citizens with a disability in relation to the knowledge and the choice of assistive technologies

Initiating an interdisciplinary and trans-national community of expertise involving academics, industrialists, professionals in health care and education, end-users, researchers and developers, with a great potential to improve exchange of knowledge, ideas and thus boosting the development of assistive solutions at various levels (including open source software products)

Promoting a unified AT and accessibility market helping companies - especially SMEs, who dominate in this area - to benefit from huge market potential

Key events at each step will be technical workshops with representatives of all partners, monthly webinars (interactive seminars delivered on-line) and steady interaction between stakeholders through the virtual community established by the ATIS4All Network.

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