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 project is the continuation of last year ATC 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. Last year first prototype needs to be furthered. (requirements: mechanics, electronics)

– P2: A capacitive keyboard
This project is new. The idea is to create a keyboard requiring as little physical effort as possible. It must be adjustable on an office chair and its type (qwertz, qwerty,..) must be adaptable. A similar project from last year ATC could provide first guidance. (requirements: mechanics, electronics, programming, ergonomy)

– P3: A finger detection software
This project is the continuation of a previous workshop project, with the goal to detect residual movement from left hand fingers to select keys on keyboard using LeapMotion. (requirements: electronics, programming)

– P4: A movable neck brace
This project is the continuation of a previous bachelor project, with the goal to design a movable neck brace and integrate its control in an app. A group of experts (orthosis technician, therapist,…) has been formed to further develop the project providing a great opportunity for the students to have a direct interaction with medical professionals and the orthosis industry. (requirements: mechanics, electronics, programming, ergonomy)

– P5: A grasping system
This project is the continuation of a previous hackathon project, with the goal to help the user grasping/holding objects with his disabled right hand. A physiotherapist from the hackathon team will help the students to consider the user muscular constraints. (requirements: mechanics, ergonomy)

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 and main contact for students : Alice Bruel (BIOROB)

Intervenant EPFL : Marius Aeberli

Academic Supervision: