AT for Locomotor Disabilities

2pm to 3:30pm, 29th October

Robert Riener

Professor for Sensory-Motor Systems at the Department of  Health Sciences and Technology, ETH Zurich

Exoskeletons in Rehabilitation

Exoskeleton robots can be very useful to restore movement abilities in two ways. First, they can promote neurorehabilitation as training devices after neurological injuries such as spinal cord injury (SCI), traumatic brain injury and stroke. Second, they can be used as assistive devices to support patients or elders with motor impairments in daily life situations. However, current solutions are still too inconvenient to use, because they are too stiff, too bulky, too heavy and with too little battery power. These disadvantages result to discomfort and missing acceptance by the potential users. This talk will present new solutions and future trends of stationary movement training robots as well as wearable exoskeleton devices that are more convenient than previous devices, and provide user-cooperative control strategies in order to better engage the patient during the movement. A new soft, lightweight and under-actuated tendon-driven exo-muscular system makes the technology wearable so that it provides more mobility during therapeutic training in hospitals and higher comfort and performance for daily use in home and work environments. Different systems have been developed for the support of the lower extremities (“MyoSuit”) and the upper extremities (“MyoShirt”). They are currently tested in a large number of patients with muscle weaknesses, e.g. paraparesis after SCI, hemiparesis after stroke, Multiple Sklerosis, and different kinds of muscle dystrophies.


Robert Riener studied Mechanical Engineering at TU München, Germany, and University of Maryland, USA. He received a Dr.-Ing. degree in Engineering from the TU München in 1997. After postdoctoral work from 1998-1999 at the Centro di Bioingegneria, Politecnico di Milano, he returned to TU München, where he completed his Habilitation in the field of Biomechatronics in 2003. In 2003 he became assistant professor at ETH Zurich and Spinal Cord Injury Center of the University Hospital Balgrist (“double-professorship”); since 2010 he has been full professor for Sensory-Motor Systems, ETH Zurich. Since 2012, Riener is member of the Department of Health Sciences and Technology, which he was chairing as head 2016 – 2018. He was guest professor at USC Los Angeles and SSSA Pisa, and he still is at SJTU Shanghai. Riener has published more than 400 peer-reviewed journal and conference articles, 20 books and book chapters and filed 25 patents. He has received 26 personal distinctions and awards. Riener’s work focuses on the development of user-cooperative robotic devices and virtual reality technologies applied to neurorehabilitation. Riener is the initiator and organizer of the Cybathlon, which was honored with the European Excellence Award, the Yahoo Sports Technology Award and two REIMAGINE Education Awards. In 2018 Riener obtained the honorary doctoral degree from the University of Basel.

Wearable & IoT Technologies in AT

5:30pm to 6pm, 29th October


Executive Director, Technology & Innovation Hub (tiHUB); Director,
Max Näder Center for Rehabilitation Technologies &
Outcomes Research; Associate Professor of PM&R,
Medical Social Science, PTHMS, Northwestern University

Wearable Sensors, Smart Phones, and Machine Learning: Impact on Rehabilitation Medicine

Machine learning algorithms that use data streams captured from wearable sensors and smart phones have the potential to automatically detect disease symptoms and inform clinicians about the progression or regression of disease. We will discuss on how to design, implement clinical care or research with wearable sensors. The discussion will touch upon on choosing the number and type of sensors to place on an individual, which location on the human body is appropriate to detect symptoms in highly sensitive manner. Furthermore, we will talk about how much data is required or is sufficient to detect symptoms. Does increasing the amount of training data in each individual or adding more individuals lead to improved symptom detection? Which clinical tests or functional behaviors are best suited for symptom detection? We will discuss whether every data analysis requires advanced techniques like convolutional neural networks or other simpler statistical ensembles work to detect symptoms and its progression in each individual. Finally, we will talk about our smart phone technology can be used monitor disease and mobility at home and in the community and inform clinicians remotely the state of the individual under their care.


Arun Jayaraman PT is the Director, Max Näder Center for Rehabilitation Technologies & Outcomes Research at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab (Formerly The Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago). He is also the Executive Director of the Technology and Innovation Hub (tiHUB) at the AbilityLab. He is an Associate Professor at the Departments of Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Physical Therapy & Human Movement Sciences at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, Chicago. Dr. Jayaraman’s group is a clinical lab that develops and executes both industry-sponsored and investigator-initiated research in prosthetics, rehabilitation robotics, and other assistive and adaptive technologies to treat physical disability. The lab conducts all its outcome research using advanced wearable patient monitoring wireless sensors and machine learning techniques in addition to the traditional outcome measures.

Madhav Lavakare

Founder, Transcribe Glass

Transcribe Glass

Affordable, Wearable Closed Captioning Assistive technolog

TranscribeGlass is an affordable, comfortable wearable device for people who use captions to improve their comprehension of spoken communication. These include the d/Deaf and Hard of Hearing, people with neurological disorders (autism, dyslexia, ADHD), the elderly, or students being instructed in a second language. 

TranscribeGlass attaches to spectacle frames, and projects closed captions from a variety of sources onto a heads-up display in the wearer’s field of vision in near-real-time. Caption sources include Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR), live captioning (CART/stenography), and subtitle files. 

TranscribeGlass enables the wearer to watch the speaker and receive non-verbal communication cues, and increase environmental and situational awareness while simultaneously reading the captions which are a transcription of what is being spoken, thereby greatly increasing their understanding of what is being said.



Madhav, who is 20 years old, is a driven entrepreneur who is passionate about using technology for greater inclusion. He is an avid tinkerer and loves building things. He is the founder and inventor of TranscribeGlass, an assistive heads-up captioning solution for the Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing. Madhav has been recognized at national/international levels, including being awarded the Prime Minister’s National Child Award (“Pradhan Mantri Rashtriya Puraskar 2019″), the highest Indian civilian honor for a student, and the Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam IGNITE Award by the National Innovation Foundation in 2018. He is also a recipient of the NCPEDP-Mphasis Universal Design Award 2021, and an Ashoka Youth Venturer (2018).  Madhav and TranscribeGlass have also been featured in several national and international print and media publications and has been an invited speaker at Nasscom’s Product Conclave (2018) and Kyoorius Designyatra (2019).

AT for the Global South

7pm to 8:30pm, 29th October

Silvia Fajardo-Flores

Associate Professor at the Department of Telematics at Universidad de Colima (Mexico)

Use of assistive technology in Mexico

Challenges & Prospective

With approximately 129 million people, Mexico is the 2nd country with the largest population in Latin America. In Mexico there are more than 6 million people with some disability, roughly 4.9% of the country’s population, most of which are at a disadvantage in education and employment. The accessibility features in computers and mobile devices has increased the possibilities of people with disabilities to access contents; however, specialized software and hardware devices available in the market are neither well known nor affordable. In this presentation I’ll be discussing some of the issues faced by people with disabilities regarding the use of assistive technology in Mexico, the assistive technology available in our country, and some of the local developments and research projects.


Bs in Computer Systems Engineering (Technological Institute of Colima, Mexico), Ms in Information Technology (Monash University, Australia), PhD in Computer Science (Université Paris 8 Vincennes-Saint-Denis, France).

Product Coordinator at the Center for the Production of Educational Materials from 1997 to 2007, and Associate Professor at the Department of Telematics at Universidad de Colima (Mexico) since 2004. Member of the Universidad de Colima’s IHCLab, and of the ACM SIGCHI Accessibility Committee.

Research interests: human-computer interaction, digital accessibility and educational technology for inclusion. Experience on digital accessibility since 2006, firstly adapting educational materials for blind students and evaluating Web accessibility, then doing research about non-visual access to mathematical contents for blind users, improving access for people with visual and motor disabilities, and lately on research to support literacy development in deaf people.


Commercial AT Product Platforms 

9:30 am to 10:30am, 30th October


Staff Software Engineer, Google

Accessibility and Assistive Technology at Google

Accessibility is very important to Google, and there are a number of different ways in which Google invests in technology for people with disabilities. In this talk, we’ll take a birds-eye view of three dimensions of Google’s work: accessibility of mainstream products, accessibility standards, and novel applications of technologies like machine learning for AT. In particular, we’ll talk about how standards, AT, and accessibility are intertwined, and how we might drive forward accessibility for people with less well-understood conditions, like cognitive disabilities and age-related conditions. 


Dr Ajit Narayanan leads teams at Google that work on accessibility for people with cognitive and motor disabilities. His team has worked on several products and features within Google’s platforms Chrome and Android, including Switch Access, Voice Access, Select to Speak, Action Blocks, and more. Prior to Google, Ajit was the founder and CEO of Avaz, a Chennai-based company that pioneered augmentative and alternative communication (AAC) in India and around the world. Ajit was recognized as one of the top young innovators worldwide by MIT TR35, is a TED speaker, and won the National Award for Empowerment of People with Disabilities from the President of India. 

Saqib Shaikh

 Tech Lead, Microsoft – AI & Research – Seeing AI

Seeing AI - Empowering the Blind Community Through Artificial Intelligence

Microsoft Seeing AI is a mobile app for people who are blind or have low vision. It describes the people, text, and objects in your surroundings.

In this talk project founder and lead, Saqib Shaikh, will discuss the creation and evolution of the app, the team’s latest work on audio augmented reality, and his vision for the future.


At Microsoft, Saqib Shaikh leads teams of engineers to blend emerging technologies with natural user experiences to empower people with disabilities to achieve more – and thus to create a more inclusive world for all.

The Seeing AI project enables someone who is visually impaired to hold up their phone, and hear more about the text, people, and objects in their surroundings. It has won multiple awards, and been called “life changing” by users. Shaikh has demonstrated his work to the UK Prime Minister, and to the House of Lords. The video of the original prototype (http://youtu.be/R2mC-NUAmMk) has been viewed over three million times.

Shaikh holds a BSc in Computer Science (graduating top of his class), and an MSc in Artificial Intelligence. He has been recognized by the British Computer Society as the Young IT Practitioner of the Year.

Co-creation of AT with Users

12noon to 1:30pm, 30th October

Sayomdeb Mukherjee

EnAble India- EiLabs

Making a spiderweb In the disability sector.

Project Discovery is a movement by & for the community of persons with disability to accelerate their journey towards a better quality of life through assistive solutions. This project gives value to those people who identify solutions that could overwhelm the lives of people and family members of the community of people with disabilities to lead a barrier-free life.

People to people connect in various level interchange ideas which at the end develops in identifying various groups of solutions for the sector. It also helps to develop a solution-centric mindset in the community where people solve and replicate Solutions by networking with each other including changing ideas via various organisations in various parts of the country. The participants are seen as valued innovators rather than beneficiaries changing years of social conditioning.

Cataloguing the solutions in an open-source platform has helped formalize & amplify their work. With this, people with disabilities across geographies can challenge their status quo & shorten their journeys to overcome daily barriers.



Sayomdeb Mukherjee is an author, award-winning actor, and a popular radio jockey. He has received the Radio Excellence Award for his show Never Give Up My Friend, completing over 800 episodes. He has written two books: “Memoirs of Time“ and “52 Steps.“ Overcoming such difficulties, Sayomdeb Mukherjee became the brand ambassador for disability rights. His 2019 releases include the film One Little Finger.

David Daković

 Belgrade Director, TOM

Innovation - Are we missing something?

We believe that, as a global society, we need to push boundaries and strive for the future. But while all eyes are focusing on the next big thing there is something missing. Join us and let us share with you the TOM:Tikkun Olam Makers experience in innovation and assistive technologies. Local solutions, Global Impact.


David Daković is a product development enthusiast, marketing professional and organizational
development consultant with 20 years of experience in various fields, from services to

What better way to unite his passion toward product development, business profession and wish to
be part of a better World then to be part of TOM Global community.
“I believe that today technology is available, skillful people are all around us, and there is a great
capacity of people to really care about each other, when all of these come together, potential for
improvement of society becomes limitless” – David Daković

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