People with learning difficulties or memory problems face barriers in the working environment because they need extra supervision and reminders. New environments, unfamiliar equipment and changing tasks can be especially challenging and may led to frustration, reluctance to use new technologies and dependency on others.
To mitigate these difficulties, ILUNION – Accesibility, Studies and Projects (a software technology and consultancy company belonging to the business corporation of ONCE Foundation) led the proof-of-concept VirtuAssist. It was sponsored by the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS) and InnovateUK. It was part of the ‘Good to Go’ competition of the Small Business Research Initiative (SBRI) managed by Jisc TechDis, a leading UK advisory service on technologies for inclusion. This competition is about increasing independence in unfamiliar or challenging environments by giving people easy access to the information they need when they need it.
VirtuAssist aims to improve the quality of life and professional opportunities for people with disabilities (especially users with learning and / or memory problems), by improving their skills, confidence and independence in the workplace or training for employment when they are doing changing tasks or when they have to interact with complex or unfamiliar equipment.