Visual impairments are disastrous for infants. They affect the infants’ reaching and motor skills, space perception, playing, socializing, physical functioning, psychological well-being, and health service needs. Therefore, early therapeutic interventions aimed explicitly at fostering these abilities are needed to improve the quality of life of people with visual disabilities. Effective rehabilitation technologies to enhance visually impaired infants' skills depend critically on a better understanding of the neuroscientific bases of multisensory and body processing. However, to date, these abilities can only be assessed qualitatively based on observational approaches. Due to the complexity of conveying a signal to visually-impaired infants that they will assuredly understand, technological solutions providing a quantitative output for visually-impaired infants are unavailable. With iReach, we aim to solve this problem. Specifically, we will design, develop and propose for commercialization a multisensory system that will provide non-invasive recording and training of the sensory-motor skills in visually-impaired infants. It will be compatible with simultaneous measures of behavioral and brain activity responses (e.g. electroencephalography). This technology will be designed based on realizing four concomitant tasks: (1) development of a novel rehabilitation technology conveying multisensory and bodily stimulation; (2) development of a quantitative method that will train and measure visually-impaired infants’ sensory-motor responses; (3) development of sensory-motor paradigms providing the audio and tactile spatial stimulations associated with body movements; (4) dedicated pipelines to analyze infants’ response to multisensory stimulations and with regard to body position. For the first time, the product resulting from iReach will train and directly quantify visually-impaired infants' sensory-motor abilities, offering a cost-efficient system for early intervention.
- HORIZON.1.1 - European Research Council (ERC) Main Programme