Service Communautaire d'Information sur la Recherche et le Développement - CORDIS

Development of I-Match Database and migration to a permanent location

A result of the project is the I-match database of the physical characteristics of Assistive Technology Input Devices largely joysticks and mice. Following a detailed exercise in defining the important physical variables a web based database of available input devices allows a Technology Provider (TP) to select an input device according to physical size, range of motion and forces required for operation.

While this database was initially hosted using project resources, it then became necessary to ensure its availability beyond the end of the I-match project. This was achieved by migration to the SIVA portal hosted permanently by Fondazione Don Gnocchi in Italy that has a long experience in creation and management of Assistive Technology databases. The experience so far with the Siva Portal (the Italian Portal on assistive technology, administrated on behalf of the Italian Ministry of Welfare - has clearly demonstrated that running such a database is very onerous. In fact its practical use substantially depends on its constant updating, especially because this is a field with constant evolution. Updating requires the establishment of a permanent editorial team, which was considered inapplicable due lack of resources. For this reason, the integration of information inside of I-match database into the Siva Portal was proposed.

The solution seemed particularly advantageous also because the Siva Portal is integrated inside the European Assistive Technology Information Network EASTIN ( and this gives visibility in Europe to I-match information. EASTIN has been realised by six European national information providers in order to achieve an original trans-national platform able to share knowledge and expertise as well as to allow for "horizontal" searches across all databases. 118 new devices were entered in the Siva portal from the I-match database, distributed as follows: 29 devices in class 12.24.03; 5 devices in 24.10.06; 82 devices in 24.09.18; 2 devices in 24.18.06. As the two databases use two different classifications (The Siva Portal uses the ISO 9999:2002 standard classification that has a functional approach while the I-match database uses a technical approach) there is not a perfect overlapping among the categories of the two databases. 11 new firms were introduced in the Siva portal database.

Not all devices could be transferred to the Siva Portal: ergonomic mice and industrial joystick are not real AT devices. However, information about six such devices was not lost, as it was introduced in a different section of the Siva Portal ("ideas"=. 36 new advanced search characteristics were added to three divisions of the ISO classification. I-match technical characteristics were reduced in number and simplified to allow non-technical people, such as people with disabilities and their families, to easily understand the information delivered.

The results obtained are:
1. Information will be accessible in Italian and English through the assistive technology official Portal of Italian ministry of welfare; this ensures wide visibility and regular exploitation in congresses and exhibitions
2. Information will be accessible all over Europe through the EASTIN network
3. The new advanced search characteristics will be an incentive for manufacturers to supply more detailed information, and for database national providers to spread it.
4. Information will be regularly updated by the Portal providers and by manufacturers themselves through a validated process.
The key innovative features of the result are:
- A first practical attempt of standardization of interface devices description giving a definite mask for introducing data with technical definition.
- Using advanced search options makes it easier to find information (in this field the number of similar devices is constantly increasing).
- Using the Interface Test System realised during the project gives the opportunity to have validated information on technical measurements.

The end users of this result are:
- People with disabilities: they will be able to access more comprehensive information on this category of assistive devices.
- Rehabilitation services: they will be able to access easily understandable technical information, even in case the have little knowledge of this field
- Assessment services: they will be able to access complete and updated information supplied in a consistent way to allow for an easy comparison.
- Manufacturers: they will have a free way to supply information to a wider public; they will have the opportunity to request tests to measures their devices characteristics.

We can say that the final solution is better than the state-of-art as regards AT interfaces databases because no other database allows for an advanced search inside these categories with so much technical information. This has been obtained without affecting the cost of maintaining the already existing AT databases.

Informations connexes

Reported by

United Kingdom
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