ZAT-Ruhr – Center of Assistive Systems Rhine-Ruhr


Project duration

11.01.23 - 10.01.26

Project website


Short description

A collaborative effort

Approximately ten million people in Germany live with disabilities, relying on external assistance for their daily needs. The shortage of skilled caregivers exacerbates challenges for both individuals with disabilities and their families. One potential solution lies in enhancing digital cognitive assistance systems. To advance research in this area, four universities in North Rhine-Westphalia have established the "Centre for Assistive Technologies (ZAT) Rhein-Ruhr." Led by Rhein-Waal University of Applied Sciences, the project also involves Niederrhein University of Applied Sciences (HSNR), Rhein-Waal University, Bonn-Rhein-Sieg University, and the University of Duisburg-Essen.

Over a three-year funding period, the ZAT project will receive approximately €2.7 million from the Ministry of Culture and Science of North Rhine-Westphalia. HSNR's competence centers "FAST" and "eHealth" contribute about €662,000 for the technical development of digital assistance system hardware.

The aim of the center is to consolidate expertise in developing digital cognitive assistance systems. These systems are designed to aid individuals with disabilities in daily tasks and cognitive functions, such as memory retention and learning encouragement, using artificial intelligence (AI) to cater to individual user needs.

Dr. Edwin Naroska, Professor at the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, emphasizes the importance of maintaining privacy while implementing modern AI applications. This concern was evident in the development of "RUBYDement," a robotic dementia doll funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. RUBYDement aims to support caregivers and relatives in communicating with individuals affected by dementia.

Furthermore, the Centre for Assistive Technologies aims to foster opportunities for young researchers and facilitate collaboration with associations. It will serve as a hub for initiating and conducting research activities.