Center for Assistive Technologies Rhein-Ruhr

ZAT Rhein-Ruhr

Research project at a glance

The Center for Assistive Technologies Rhein-Ruhr (De: ZAT Rhein-Ruhr) project is a comprehensive initiative focused on creating a sustainable ecosystem for assistive technologies. It encompasses infrastructure development, ethical considerations, public engagement, and financial sustainability, all with the aim of improving assistive technology research and development, teaching and transfer, thereby ensuring its widespread impact. ZAT's focus is on pro-adaptive solutions (assistive solutions that "proactively tackle adaptability") in the work, home, healthcare, mobility and education domains. The project is conducted in cooperation with Hochschule Rhein-Waal, Hochschule Niederrhein and Universität Duisburg-Essen. The North Rhine-Westphalian Ministry of Culture and Science (MKW) is funding the project with 2.7 million euros for a period of three years.
ZAT Projekt Assistive Technologien Hassan 20240325 Foto Juri Kuestenmacher 09

Project manager at H-BRS

Project Description

The Center for Assistive Technologies Rhein-Ruhr (De: ZAT Rhein-Ruhr) project aims to establish a sustainable infrastructure and collaboration network for the development and utilization of assistive technologies. The project focuses on creating data protection-compliant cloud infrastructure, reference architectures, and processes for efficient research and development. It intends to disseminate its findings to the public through open-source initiatives and involve diverse stakeholders through public engagement efforts like Citizen Science and educational events. Furthermore, the project considers the development of a certification program for digital assistive systems, incorporating various quality criteria.

  1.  Establishment of Legal Entity: The project involves the establishment of ZAT Rhein-Ruhr as its own legal entity, which will serve as the central hub for assistive technology research and development.
  2. Financial Sustainability: The project explores various revenue streams to ensure its financial sustainability. This includes offering services to interested companies and developing a certification program for digital assistive systems.
  3. Infrastructure Development: ZAT is working on creating a data protection-compliant cloud infrastructure. This infrastructure will support the provision of cloud-based basic services,  facilitate the development of assistive technologies and interface remote labs.
  4. Reference Architecture: ZAT is developing a reference architecture for digital assistive systems. This reference architecture serves as a blueprint for researchers to build and improve their  systems efficiently and effectively.
  5. Open Data Collections: The project is creating open data collections related to assistive technologies. These collections can be used for research and development purposes, promoting transparency and collaboration.
  6. Ethical and Legal Processes: ZAT emphasizes the importance of ethical, social, and legal compliance in all its processes. This ensures that research and development activities consider and adhere to relevant ethical and legal standards.
  7. Interoperability: One of the project's goals is to enhance interoperability among assistive technologies. This helps different systems work together seamlessly, improving overall usability and functionality.
  8. Network Building & Knowledge Transfer: ZAT aims to facilitate both the networking between different stakeholders as well as knowledge transfer by engaging with various partners. This includes connecting and eventually collaborating with universities, companies, and the wider public to ensure that research findings and innovations are effectively shared and implemented.
  9. Public Engagement: ZAT seeks to engage the public through initiatives like Citizen Science and other dissemination activities. It promotes participation, diversity, and equitable access to assistive technologies.
  10. Qualification: A highlight of the project is the establishment of qualification programmes in assistive technologies and digital health including learning modules at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. In so doing, the project ensures the continued availability of these vital competencies in society -- regionally, nationally and internationally.

Cooperating professors

Research associates

Cooperation partners