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On 18 and 19 June 2015, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and Thomas More University College are jointly hosting the ‘Engineering4Society’ conference in Leuven, Belgium.

The conference aspires to make a larger call to engineers to pay attention to the way we think about the consequences of design, materials used, manufacturing processes, and waste disposal practices. It will explore the nexus between communities, environment, education, business, design, and professional engineering. Engineering4Society is an invitation to create new ways to ‘design’ a sustainable future and to provide creative solutions to address problems as poverty, exclusion, addiction, discrimination, violence, hate, and disabilities.

The conference will offer a multidisciplinary platform, looking at inspiring examples from all over the world.

Topics and areas of interest include:

•              engineering case studies focusing on the environment and related social factors;

•              engineering cases that helped to bring more harmony, understanding and compassion;

•              methods of teaching and/or practicing participatory design in engineering;

•              inspiring examples of Engineering4Society in practice.

Speakers and sessions
Over 30 speakers from all over the world will share their expertise and knowledge and present innovative projects and studies focusing on social and environmental engineering. Have a closer look at some of our keynote speakers :

Prof. Dr. Ir. Joost Duflou, KU Leuven, Department of Mechanical Engineering, Belgium .
“Systematic selective recycling is becoming the preferred end-of-life (EOL) treatment. In this lecture the case of EOL treatment of flat screen LCD TVs will be presented. Both the treatment of current product types and the opportunities to facilitate EOL material separation by means of innovative joint design for future models will be discussed.”

Daria Loi, UX Innovation Manager, Intel Corporation, USA .
“In her talk, Daria Loi urges the engineering professions to create sustainable futures by embracing novel processes and by paying attention to the potential consequences of their work. More specifically, this talk focuses on the opportunities offered by Participatory Design practice – on how to develop creative solutions to issues that afflict our planet by partnering with end users and key stakeholders.”

Egbert Lox, Senior Vice President Government Affairs Umicore, Belgium .
“Our current way of life includes the widespread use of many devices. Applying the concept of circular economy can alleviate the stress on the supply situation of the technology metals and solves at the same time the environmental burden devices could constitute at the end of their service life. Applying high technology in all the steps from the conception up to the extraction of the technology metals at the end of its use can maximize the benefits. The presentation will cover these aspects and illustrate the initiatives taken already to endeavors of sustainability and responsibility in these aspects.”

Caitrin Lynch, Associate Professor of Anthropology, Olin College of Engineering, USA.
“Caitrin will speak about the Engineering for Humanity course she co-teaches at Olin College of Engineering (Boston, USA). She will connect the Engineering for Humanity course to the larger Olin goals of embedding social perspectives into engineering education and practice, and she will place it in the wider context of leveraging user-centered design as an important path to educating engineers to embed their work in society.”

Peter-Paul Verbeek, Professor of Philosophy of Technology. University of Twente, the Netherlands.
“Technologies have an inherent moral dimension. How can designers deal with this moral dimension of the technologies they are developing? In his presentation, Professor Verbeek will investigate how the approach of ‘moral mediation’ can inform the ethics of design. The paper will develop a heuristic tool for designers to anticipate the potential moral impact of a technology-in-design, to evaluate its quality, and to design morality into technologies in a responsible way.”

Presentation of the new postgraduate course on Community Service Engineering

The CSE project is developing a European multi-campus joined postgraduate curriculum that will offer engineers a sound background in the social profit sector; insights in user-centered design, and assistive technology, social and intercultural skills to interact with the social profit sector and a collaborative place to learn in an international environment. KU Leuven is working on the curriculum in collaboration with the Thomas More University College.

The Engineering4Society conference is organised by the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven  in collaboration with the Thomas More University College . . It is morally and financially supported by the John E. Fetzer Institute (USA) and its intrinsic value is recognised by the IEEE Society on Social Implications of Technology.

Visit the conference website and learn more about the speakers and the programme.
Registration closes on 12th of June.
The organising committee is looking forward to meet you in Belgium in June.
Questions? Contact ingrid.adriaensen@thomasmore.be

Fundación ONCE (ONCE Foundation for cooperation and social inclusion of persons with disabilities) is organising the 4th International Congress on Design, Research Networks, and Technology for All on June, 27 – 29, 2011 at the ONCE facilities, Paseo de la Habana, 208 P.C. 28036 Madrid, Spain.

About DRT4ALL
General development in the Information Society makes Information and Communication Technologies more and more present in most aspects of citizens´ everyday lives. These technologies involve such a wide range of technology and scientific fields that misguided implementations are causing more than one digital divide, by being difficult to use, because of the lack of design criteria and because of incompatibility between devices, among other reasons.
People with functional limitations, caused either by disability or by ageing, are becoming an increasing segment of the population. Lack of awareness of these new technologies and difficulty in using them are also more and more important for these persons.
Another relevant matter is the progressive ageing of population in the technologically developed countries. Medical and scientific advances provide greater expectancy of life, but this is not joined an increase of life free of disability. Technology could provide the necessary supplement to obtain the greatest degree of autonomy for aged people, which is the wish of us all.
It may seem evident that these technologies can and must help everybody, especially those with functional limitations, both to carry out day-to-day tasks, and to be full members of our society, so that they can use their abilities to contribute to social development.
Congress goals
DRT4all International Congress is a window on the future opened today: its main goal is to know about latest advances in ICT supporting independent living of people with functional limitations, and to show how these can work together to give everybody an easier life and improve social integration for the elderly and people with disabilities.
DRT4all is above all a scientific conference where we hope to showcase different aspects of these technologies, with user experience as a key aspect, and a place where industry stakeholders are more than welcome. Public Administration bodies and its representative members, have a crucial role in the development of these technologies. Therefore they will also be part of this congress.

Technical Secretariat
Antonio J. Ingelmo Sierra
+34 91 506 89 37
http://www.drt4all.org/

Fraunhofer leads an International Consortium Winning the Grant For Research and Development Project On Introducing Simulation-Based and Virtual Reality Testing to Support Accessible Product design and Development.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

STUTTGART, GERMANY – March 10, 2010 – The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft announces that they are leading the VERITAS project (Virtual and Augmented Environments and Realistic User Interactions To achieve Embedded Accessibility DesignS). VERITAS is an integrated project under the 7th Framework Programme of the European Commission on accessible and assistive ICT. The €12M accessibility research and development effort brings together 32 European companies and organisations that collaborate on the VERITAS Project.

VERITAS logo

VERITAS logo

It aims to develop, validate and assess tools for built-in accessibility support at all stages of ICT and non-ICT product development, including specification, design, development and testing. Motivated by the clear lack of systematic accessibility assessment frameworks and the need to involve real disabled users, the goal of VERITAS is to introduce simulation-based and virtual reality testing, utilizing virtual users, at all stages of assistive technologies product design and development into the automotive, smart living spaces, buildings & construction, domotics), workplace, e-health and infotainment applications areas. VERITAS aims to ensure that future products and services are being systematically designed for all people including those with disabilities and functional limitations as well as older people. Furthermore, VERITAS plans to promote its results to the appropriate standards organisations for consideration and potential adoption and also to make them available through an open framework. More information can be found at: http://veritas-project.eu.

Participants in the VERITAS Project include: Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der angewandten Forschung e.V. (Germany, Coordinator), Centre for Research & Technology Hellas / Informatics & Telematics Institute (Greece); Centre for Research & Technology Hellas / Hellenic Institute of Transport (Greece), FIMI s.r.l. (Italy), Instituto de Aplicaciones de las Tecnologías de la Información y de las Comunicaciones Avanzadas (Spain), Centro Ricerche Fiat Società Consortile per Azioni (Italy), Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (Greece), Continental Automotive France SAS (France), University of Newcastle (UK), Scuola Superiore Di Studi Universitari e di Perfezionamento Sant’Anna (Italy), La Plateforme Europeenne Des Personnes Agees et Retraitees (Belgium), BYTE COMPUTER S.A. (Greece), RE:Lab (Italy), Università degli studi di Trento (Italy), Virtual Reality & Multi Media Park S.p.A. (Italy), Marie Curie Association (Bulgaria), Ceske Vysoke Uceni Technicke v Praze (Czech Republic), Universität Basel (Switzerland), Indesit Company S.p.A (Italy), DOMOLOGIC Home Automation GmbH (Germany), LMS International NV (Belgium), ATOS Origin Sociedad Anónima Española (Spain), Asociación de Investigación de la Industria de juguete, conexas y afines (Spain), Piaggio & C. S.p.A. (Italy), Smartex s.r.l. (Italy), Human Solutions GmbH (Germany), Bauunion 1905 GmbH (Germany), Hypertech S.A. (Greece), I+ srl (Italy), University of Salzburg (Austria), Brunel University (UK), Universidad Politécnica de Madrid / Life Supporting Technologies (Spain), Universität Stuttgart (Germany).

The VERITAS project is supported by a distinguished scientific advisory board comprised of worldwide leaders in the field of design and accessibility.

“Accessibility should be deeply embedded from the very beginning, that is, in the design concept of products” says Dr. Dimitris Tzovaras, VERITAS Technical Coordinator and Research Director at the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas. “The VERITAS project aims to establish this new paradigm for design at all stages of assistive technologies product design and development into the automotive, smart living spaces, (buildings & construction, domotics), workplace, e-health and infotainment applications areas.”

“Designing accessible products means a better design for all of us. In particular disabled people and the aging part of our society will benefit from our innovations in the engineering process” says Dr. Manfred Dangelmaier, the co-ordinator of VERITAS and director of the Business Area Engineering Systems at Fraunhofer IAO. “Using VERITAS results will enable designers and engineers to make most products better usable for everybody.”

The VERITAS Project will involve research and prototypes that address a broad range of impairments related to vision, hearing, mobility, cognitive resources, as well as the needs of older people (independent and dependent).

Project number: 247765
Project acronym: VERITAS
Project full title: Virtual and Augmented Environments and Realistic User Interactions To achieve Embedded Accessibility DesignS
Starting date: 1 January 2010
Duration: 48 Months

VERITAS is an Integrated Project (IP) within the 7th Framework Programme, Theme FP7-ICT-2009.7.2, Accessible and Assistive ICT

www.veritas-project.eu
twitter.com/VeritasProj

You can also download the VERITAS press release – for immediate release (pdf file).

The VAALID EU project would like to invite you to the workshop “VAALIDate your AAL experience!” in Florence, Italy, on the 3rd of November 2009, from 15h to 17h. The Workshop aims at presenting and discussing the work carried out in the framework of VAALID project to develop method and tools to help designers to create and evaluate Ambient Assisted Living solutions. The workshop will take place at the Palazzo degli Affari in Florence, as a side-event of the OASIS 1st International Conference held in Florence 4th and 5th of November.

Key Dates
Registration free, until 30th of October 2009

For more details and registration please email us at msalaso@itaca.upv.es.

VAALID project aims at creating new tools and methods that facilitate and streamline the process of creation, design, construction and deployment of technological solutions in the context of Ambient Assisted Living (AAL) assuring that they are accessible and usable for senior citizens.

The paper “A UCD approach towards the design, development and assessment of accessible applications in a large scale European Integrated project” by Karel Van Isacker (EPR), Karin Slegers (KUL), Maria Gemou (CERTH-HIT), Evangelos Bekiaris (CERTH-HIT) was presented at the HCI International 2009 on 19-24 July 2009, Town and Country Resort & Convention Center, San Diego, CA, USA.
It was subsequently published in “Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction. Addressing Diversity: 5th International Conference, UAHCI 2009, Held as Part of HCI International 2009) (Paperback) by Constantine Stephanidis (Editor), pp. 184-192, 2009.

You can read it below:

The book itself is a three-volume set LNCS 5614-5616 and constitutes the refereed proceedings of the 5th International Conference on Universal Access in Human-Computer Interaction – Addressing Diversity, UAHCI 2009, held as Part of HCI International 2009, in San Diego, CA, USA, in July 2009, jointly with 8 other thematically similar conferences.