Research

Research funding in the Global North has become an increasingly competitive space where demonstrable real-world impact is paramount for any research proposal to have a realistic chance of being funded. As a multi-sector, multi-partner, inter-disciplinary research centre with a global focus, GDI Hub is well placed to influence the mission of research funders and to access a diverse and cross-disciplinary funding pool in order to further our mission.

The Hub is developing at pace to become the world’s leading research center on disability innovation. We have therefore adopted four research principles that any potential activities must encompass, that are in line with our overall vision, mission, and objectives. GDI Hub research projects must:

  1. Have disabled people at the center of the research project life cycle, from design to delivery
  2. Be ambitious and innovative in scope
  3. Be created with interdisciplinary teams, utilizing expertise from across GDI Hub partner
  4. Leverage international partnerships to maximize global reach

GDI Hub’s Academic Research Centre is led by our Academic Director at University College London (UCL).

DIX

DIX

Disability Interaction (DIX) puts disability front and center in the design process, and in so doing aims to create accessible, creative new HCI solutions that will be better for everyone, including poor communities, which disabled people are more likely to be part of.

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Logo of the title of the project: fit for purpose prosthetics. For is represented by the number four which in the center has a hand with half an arm that appear to be a prosthetic.
Asia | Africa | Europe

Fit-for-purpose, affordable body-powered prostheses

Fit-for-purpose, affordable body-powered prostheses is designing upper limb prostheses that are both low cost and fit for their purpose and circumstance. The project is funded through the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) and National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Global Challenges Research Fund.

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A technician is placing a 3D printed lateral postural support to the backrest of a wheelchiar
Africa

Digital Technology, to Revolutionise Wheelchair Provision with Motivation

As part of the AT2030 programme, the GDI Hub will support Motivation in testing their new wheelchair provision system in Kenya to evaluate the quality of the new designs and understand how distributed manufacturing through 3D printing could augment current wheelchair service provision models.

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An innovator is heating the socket of a prosthetic leg using a heat gun. On the top right corner is the logo of the company "Amparo" with the phrase revolutionizing prosthetics
Africa

Changing Prosthetic Service Delivery with Amparo

The GDI Hub, as a part of the AT2030 Spark Innovation Sub Programme, has partnered with Amparo to support them in carrying out a clinical trial to evaluate how the Amparo Confidence Socket could help the provision of lower limb prosthetic in Kenya.

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Three young operators working for Humanity and Inclusion in Uganda assessing an elderly woman who uses a crutch
Africa

Trialing 3D Printed Bespoke Orthotics to Refugees with Humanity and Inclusion

GDI Hub has partnered with Humanity & Inclusion to support them with the research components of the project, to ensure that robust evidence is collected and analysed across all sites.

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A close up of an industrial machine leaving a dark pattern on a sheet of perspex/glass.
Europe

Makespace at HereEast

GDI hub has joined forces with the Surgical Robot Vision Lab and the Autonomous Manufacturing Lab to create a shared space that brings together a wealth of expertise as well as equipment, improving knowledge exchange and increasing collaboration opportunities.

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Picture of an affordable powered mobility toy for young children, with panels for children to paint on and a simple seat design.
Asia | Africa

Powered mobility for young children everywhere

Young children everywhere need to be mobile - to be able to explore their world, make choices about what they want to do, who they want to play with, and where they want to go.

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A picture of a computer model of a dynamic seat for children with severe movement disorders
Europe

Dynamic seating for children with severe movement disorders

GDI Hub is working with Designability to evaluate a new kind of seat that moves with the child and enables them to explore movement while they are seated and well supported

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A workshop room showing a range of wheelchairs including a hand powered bike in the foreground.

AT 2030 Research Subprogramme

The AT2030 Sub-Programme on “Research, evidence and impact” seeks to understand ‘what works’ and develop a framework for the innovations and policy interventions across the AT2030 programme.

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Wheelchair user and non-wheelchair user co-designing at a table
Africa

AT 2030 Spark Innovation Subprogramme

For demand-based innovation to thrive we require a range of activities which can both adapt to good ideas coming from disabled people as well as working more closely with the market-shaping project to iterate business plans and create routes to market that were otherwise not available.

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Man using a latop to operate a wheelchair

CROWDBOT

CROWDBOT will enable mobile robots to navigate autonomously and assist humans in crowded areas, rather than simply stopping when the going gets tough.

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Community-led Solutions: Assistive Tech in informal settlements
Asia | Africa

Community-led Solutions: Assistive Tech in informal settlements

Researchers from the Development Planning Unit at UCL, along with Leonard Cheshire, are working with the GDI Hub to undertake an exciting programme working with communities living in conditions of informality (often referred to as slums) in Freetown, Sierra Leone and Banjarmasin, Indonesia.

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A busy street scene in India showing a broad range or motor and manually powered wheeled transport for disabled people
Asia

Street Rehab in India

An EPSRC GCRF project the project tested a new methodology for creating accessible maps for fast changing cities like Delhi. Using embedded sensors attached to wheelchairs, we mapped accessible and difficult to access routes. Initially, the project also aimed to capture rehabilitation metrics whilst pushing a wheelchair beyond a clinical environment, but instead the community of wheelchair users we worked with preferred to use the tool as an advocacy tool.

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A computer generated 3D model of a wheelchair on a blue chequered background.
Europe

Power-up! - Fuelling the next generation of assistive technologies

A research project to understand how and when manual wheelchair users need and use power assistance and to determine if fuel cell technology is suitable for the power requirements of assistive technology, specifically wheelchairs.

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A computer-generated frame model of a right arm with thumb, index and second fingers extended. Multi-coloured triangles surround the design.
Europe

Body 2.0 - Extending ability through 3D printing technology

This project looked at identity and the changing perception of disabled people and disability. The primary focus was prosthetics and the use of new technologies including 3D printing to democratise prosthetics and allow individuals to customise their assistive devices in a timely and affordable way.

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A female wheelchair user in dark clothes and beanie hat ascending a ramp from right to left in a sports hall.
Europe

ARCCS - Accessible Routes from Crowdsourced Cloud Services

Ongoing research where we have developed a new technique for wheelchair localisation and surface determination using a fusion of GPS/IMU information and machine learning. Data captured helps wheelchair users travel in a more effective ways and share data to demonstrate accessibility issues and encourage improvements.

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Female in a wheelchair carrying a water bottle in an informal settlement. Kid walking in the back.

AT 2030 Subprogramme: Drive Availability and Affordability

To address the need gap and significantly scale up the provision of affordable and appropriate AT, this sub-programme will test market shaping methodologies which include research, scoping, and future planning; the creation of market shaping tools; and pilot testing of market interventions. This sub-programme is led by the Clinton Health Access Initiative (CHAI).

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Group photo of AT 2030 members

AT 2030: Open Up Market Access

To align and consolidate global AT efforts as well as to lay the foundations for systems-level change on a global scale this sub-programme will provide a set of global benchmarks and standards for AT. The sub-programme will develop models of integrated AT service provision, including screening and training tools; develop procurement tools; as well as a mobile tool to identify population needs for AT. This programme is being co-led by WHO, UNICEF, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine.

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