EPFL Assistive Technologies Challenge

Develop personnalized solution to assist motor impairement of real patients

Build from scratch a rover and start Xploring

EPFL Assistive Technologies Challenge

The Assistive Technologies Challenge, will give students the opportunity to design and develop meaningful technological solutions for and with people with disabilities. The challenge aims at giving the students first hand experience in working with real end-users and to understand how their skills and abilities can have a positive impact on society.

The challenge will be offered as a group semester project and is open to all sections within STI (SGM, SMT, SEL, SMX) and SV.

Multidisciplinary teams of 3-5 students will be assigned a “challenger” with a specific need to solve an everyday challenge. By adopting a “user-in-the-loop” approach, the students will translate these needs into tangible goals. Over the course of several iterations, they will work towards achieving these goals by following an established product design methodology for medical devices.

A project assistant will advise each team by monitoring their progress and providing them guidance during the semester. Furthermore, the students will participate in interactive workshops focused on user-centric design, prototyping methods, project resource management, and the ethical considerations of working with humans within the sphere of medical technologies. The teams will have access to prototyping facilities, and will be assigned a gracious budget to purchase materials & services.


P1: A robotic painting canvas

This is a new project, with the goal to help the user manipulate a tool and/or canvas to paint independently as he cannot use his hands to manipulate these objects.

P2: A communication interface

Following the Hackathon, the goal would be to find a way for the user to control easily and without effort an existing communication interface.     

P3: An arm mover

Following the Hackathon, the goal is to design an assistive device attached to the user’s wheelchair to enable him to move his arm and grasp objects.

About Hackahealth:

HackaHealth is a Swiss association active in the field of disability. The association consists of volunteering students, Ph.D., Post-docs, and engineers, working at EPFL, Campus Biotech, and in the Swiss MedTech industry. Our vision is to transform the perception of disability through play, inclusion and technology. We do so by creating spaces where people – with and without disabilities – can meet, mingle, and work together on assistive technology projects. Since 2017, we have organized 3 annual 48h-hackathons where engineers, makers, and designers together with people with disabilities, developed personalized solutions for their daily living (https://www.hackahealth.ch/).

RTS video presenting the hackathon:





EPFL Coordinator : Tristan Barjavel

Academic Supervision: