EPFL Assistive Technologies Challenge

Develop personnalized solution to assist 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: adaptation of a tandem:

This project aims at helping a triathlete suffering from spinal amyotrophy. As cycling is one of his most challenging disciplines. Adapting a tandem bike will enable him to continue practicing this sport and raising awareness about his disease.

P2: drug information delivery:

This project is proposed in collaboration with the Swiss Federation of visually impaired people (https://sbv-fsa.ch/fr/fsa). The goal is to help visually impaired people by enabling them to access drug information (expiry date, dosage, side effects) from the drug boxes of a user’s private pharmacy.

P3: free seats detection:

Public transport represents a crucial daily challenge for visually impaired people. Proposed in collaboration with the Swiss Federation of visually impaired people, this project aims at enabling future users to identify accessible seats on the bus or the train.

P4: left side warning:

Living without perceiving the whole left side of space is the daily challenge for this person. The aim here is to help the person move around in a wheelchair by creating a device that allows him to detect potential obstacles.

P5: tremor reducer mouse:

Working on the computer every day with tremors is a real challenge. The project aims to provide a software and/or hardware solution to the user to facilitate the use of the computer mouse.

P6: dressing solution:

During the winter months, people are constantly putting on and taking off their jackets. The project aims to provide a solution to help a tetraplegic person to dress their jackets in a simple way within a reasonable time.


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 6 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 and main contact for students : Alice Bruel (BIOROB)

Intervenant EPFL : Marius Aeberli  workshops on Thursdays from 10:15 to 12 am

Academic Supervision:

  • Professor Auke Ijspeert (Biorobotic Laboratory)
  • Professor Josie Hughes (Computational Robot Design & Fabrication Lab)
  • Professor Silvestro Micera (Chair Fondation Bertarelli in translationnal neuroengineering)