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Assistive Technologies

Assistive technologies are typically a piece of equipment, software or system that is used to increase, maintain or improve the functional capabilities of individuals.

We are currently working on a range of projects to develop assistive technologies such as:

  • An interactive toolkit that provides students on the autistic spectrum with strategies for overcoming key challenges at university.
  • Tracking technologies to support and ensure the safety and wellbeing of dementia sufferers.
  • Digital signal processing technologies to improve speech intelligibility.
  • Instrumentative technologies to support patients during long-term intensive care.


  • Speech enhancement.
  • Dementia care.
  • Medical technology.
  • Behaviour modification.
  • Teaching and learning support applications.


  • Fabri, M. (2015) Thinking with a New Purpose: Lessons Learned from Teaching Design Thinking Skills to Creative Technology Students. Lecture Notes in Computer Science,9186 August, pp. 32-43. (Article, Conference proceedings).
  • Trevorrow, P. and Fabri, M. (2013) Running to behavior change. Lecture Notes in Computer Science (including subseries Lecture Notes in Artificial Intelligence and Lecture Notes in Bioinformatics), 8014 LNCS (PART 3) August, pp. 585-593.(Conference Proceeding).
  • Elzouki, S.Y.A., Fabri, M. and Moore, D.J. (2007) Teaching severely autistic children to recognise emotions: Finding a methodology. People and Computers XXI HCI. But Not as We Know It - Proceedings of HCI 2007: The 21st British HCI Group Annual Conference, 2 December. (Conference Proceeding).
  • Doney, P. and Fabri, M. (2015) Seeking New Insights: A Design Thinking Approach to Persuasive Technology Aimed at Supporting Clients of a Weight Management Program. In:Romanian Conference on Human-Computer Interaction, September.
  • Doney, P., Evans, R. and Fabri, M. (2014) Keeping creative writing on track: Co-designing a framework to support behavior change. In: Design, User Experience, and Usability. Theories, Methods, and Tools for Designing the User Experience Lecture Notes in Computer Science, 8517 LNCS (PART 1) pp. 631-642.

Case Study: Autism & Uni

Young autistic people want to still lead full and independent lives like everyone else. Although autism is not an indicator of academic ability, many find it difficult to enter university and those who do start a degree course often drop out early.

Autism&Uni is a European-funded research project that works with young people on the autism spectrum to support them during the critical transition period from applying to university, through to arriving and settling in. Dr Marc Fabri, of Leeds Beckett University, leads this project, which also involves partners from Finland, the Netherlands, Poland and Spain.

Autistic people are at the centre of our research and involved at every stage. By applying a human-centred 'design thinking' approach, we ensure our project outcomes are directly influenced by, and designed specifically for, the students we aim to assist. We are creating an interactive toolkit that provides students with strategies for overcoming key challenges at university, and we will also publish a best practice guide for universities.

Informed by this research, the project team are now in the process of creating and prototyping an online toolkit that will help students on the autism spectrum find out about the challenges they may encounter in higher education by immersing them in typical scenarios. These tools can be used independently or with the help of parents or professionals in higher education institutions.

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