Review of the INSENSION project

Review of the INSENSION project
October saw the end of research and development work on the system of interaction support for people with profound complex intellectual disabilities, conducted in the INSENSION project, which was coordinated by PSNC. On Wednesday, December 15, the consortium presented the results of completed activity during a meeting with experts from the European Commission related to the final evaluation of the project. The meeting was held online.

Extremely interesting and targeting a unique audience, the INSENSION project focused on creating an ICT platform allowing people with profound complex intellectual disabilities to use digital applications and services that can improve their quality of life, increase their capacity for self-determination and enrich their lives. The target end-users of the proposed solution are only able to use non-conventional, non-symbolic means to interact with their environment. Therefore, the platform provides the technological tools to seamlessly and flexibly recognize the highly individualised non-symbolic behavioural signals of people with this type of disability.

The INSENSION project (Horizon 2020 Programme) was carried out by an interdisciplinary team of researchers from Poland, Germany, Spain and Slovenia, and the leader of the international scientific-industrial consortium was the Poznan Supercomputing and Networking Center. Specialised R&D work in the field of ICT technology was conducted by the teams of Information and Communication Technology Centre Foundation CTIC and Jožef Stefan Institute together with PSNC. ICT specialists in the field of special education and the characteristics of deep and complex intellectual disability were supported by a leading European research team in this field from Heidelberg University of Education as well as by the practitioners from the Na Tak Association. The commercialization potential of the technology developed in the project was assessed by Harpo company (LLC).

The latest achievements in a number of ICT disciplines have been used, equipping the proposed support platform with behavioural recognition mechanisms based on gesture, facial recognition and vocalisation technologies, as well as advanced AI methods. The platform was developed in an inclusive design paradigm in which the person with a disability and his/her carers were directly involved in the research and development process throughout the project.

The system, the prototype of which was developed as a result of the project work, is designed to recognise the so-called non-symbolic behaviours of people with profound complex intellectual disabilities, interpret them as intentions to maintain or change the situation in the user’s environment and, if necessary, take the necessary actions. Thanks to the system, people with profound complex intellectual disabilities have the possibility to communicate their needs to their carers via short text messages, to turn on their favourite music or to control devices in the smart room.