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The Centre for Assistive Technology and Innovation (CATI) at NISH strives to meet the assistive technology (AT) needs of persons with disability (PwD), especially the accommodation and accessibility needs of students and clients of NISH. CATI is being developed as a state-of-the-art resource centre on the lines of Assistive Technology Centres (ATCs) in leading Universities and aims to be a leader in coordinating and aggregating AT resources to raise the quality of living of PwD, addressing their needs for mobility, communication, education, integration, employment, socialisation, leisure and recreation.

The functions of CATI broadly fall in four areas:

• Assistive Technology Program (ATP)

• Awareness Creation and Training (ACT)

• AT Portal and Platform (PAP)

• Catalysing R&D and Manufacturing of AT products (CR&DM)

1. Assistive Technology Program (ATP)

The core function of CATI will be to operate an AT program that caters to the accessibility and accommodation needs of students and clients of NISH. It will comprise need assessment, device demo, lending, training, customization, financing, reutilisation of products, and service/maintenance of AT solutions for independent living by PwD. Such a full-fledged program is currently under development including the creation of necessary systems and processes for operating various elements, evaluation of a wide range of AT solutions and exploring options for collaboration in various areas. An AT lending library is envisaged to be set up as well as a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) lab to generate simple, cost-effective, and customized AT solutions for the clients. The centre actively explores different funding schemes to provide financial assistance for users and catalyses the creation of an industry base for AT products so that affordable solutions are made available to them.

2. Awareness Creation and Training (ACT)

Lack of awareness about assistive technology is a major stumbling block in the diffusion and adaptation of AT. To address this issue, CATI will serve as a resource centre for AT solutions; it will spread awareness and provide training to users, family members and caregivers. Manuals and guidelines will be prepared for the same. CATI will develop a strong volunteer programme for AT training dissemination. Certification courses for AT professionals are also on the anvil.

3.  AT Portal and Platform (PAP)

CATI will develop a common web portal and platform to connect with different groups of AT stakeholders; the portal will be accessible and regularly updated, to connect the different groups of AT stakeholders. It would act as a reference source of assistive technology for other AT centres. It would also help persons with disability understand and compare the AT options available to them before deciding on and acquiring an optimum solution. CATI will also convene an informal network of experts and organize periodic events to stimulate intellectual discussions on AT.

4. Catalysing R&D and Manufacturing of AT products (CR&DM)

CATI will collaborate with AT developers to encourage technology and product development, as well as manufacturing through linkages with R&D organisations, IITs, IIMs, NITs, and leading engineering and management institutions/universities in India and abroad. CATI will reach out to students and startup communities in India to give impetus to an entrepreneurship ecosystem in AT through internships, collaborations and joint activities. Over a period of time, CATI will strive to create a standardisation and certification program for AT products by setting up an AT testing and quality certification lab and preparing necessary guidelines for the same.


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