Buddy, the new digital best friend of users with cognitive impairments

There are a lot of tools and technology out there to support users with cognitive disabilities. But they are not always easy to find. That is the background of the EU-funded research project called Buddy, which Funka is performing together with the Johannes Kepler University (JKU) in Linz, Austria.

The Buddy project will result in a platform where end users with cognitive impairments can easily find the tools and technologies that fit them best. Using AI-technology, the service will recommend the fitting assistive technology based on user requirements that the system will learn from user behavior. This way, the platform will minimise the bureaucratic processes of getting assistive technology approved.

The platform will serve as a marketplace where qualified assistive technology providers can present their products and services with easy instructions. This way, Buddy will become the “one-stop shop” for cognitive accessibility support, which opens possibilities for new products and services to be developed.

Buddy is the right project at the right time. The number of tools, services and R&D for digital support of people with cognitive disabilities is growing fast, but the uptake and actual use is running behind. With Buddy we contribute to closing the gap by better understanding the actual requirements of users and proposing suitable solutions, says Dr. Klaus Miesenberger, Director at JKU Linz and coordinator of Buddy.

During the project period, the Buddy platform will cover English, German and Swedish, with the clear objective to scale up the model across EU member states and beyond.

It is very exciting to see the increased focus on cognitive accessibility, says José Usero, Project Manager at Funka. I hope the Buddy concept will support people with cognitive disabilities to become more independent and I look forward to exploring the use of AI to facilitate for users.

The Buddy project is based on a very successful and award-winning EU-funded research project called EasyReading, where JKU and Funka collaborated with several other partners.

Project title: Buddy. AI Supported personal BUDDY facilitating cognitive accessibility when using online contents and services
Funding programme: PPPA (Pilot Projects and Preparatory Actions)
Consortium: JKU (Austria), Funka (Sweden)
Total budget: € 396.000
Period: 1 February 2021 – 30 January 2022

Buddy project website, opens in new window

The previous, award-winning project EasyReading, opens in a new window