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UT Arlington Organizes International Conference on Assistive Technologies

May 1, 2008

Researchers in the Computer Science & Engineering Department at The University of Texas at Arlington will conduct the first international conference devoted to examining different types of technology to address important social and healthcare issues. The Conference on Pervasive Technologies Related to Assistive Environments (PETRA) will be held in Athens, Greece in July.

As the world’s population ages, there is growing interest in solutions for the in-home care of the elderly as well as for the care of people with Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other disabilities or conditions. PETRA participants will consider the needs of the domestic environment, but from a technological perspective. Flexible and responsive living environments are particularly important in an increasingly crowded and complex world where inclusiveness and connectivity with the rest of the world are keys to a satisfying later-years-of-life. As people grow older, they will increasingly rely on intelligent technologies for assistance that will allow them to stay in their homes.

Fillia Makedon, professor and chair of the Computer Science & Engineering Department, is the conference chair and one of the main organizers of PETRA. “Assistive technologies may include non-invasive sensor networks that provide safety or rehabilitation monitoring,” she explained. “Another might be interactions with intelligent devices, smart wheelchairs, smart beds or robotic assistants that help provide communication, mobility or security services.”

Sponsors of the conference include the UT Arlington College of Engineering, the National Science Foundation, the Telecommunications Research Center - Vienna, the University of the Aegean’s Information and Communication Systems Engineering Department, the Technological Educational Institution of Athens’ Department of Informatics, the Demokritos National Center for Scientific Research, the Association for Computing Machinery, and UT Arlington’s INTELIMEDD Initiative, Automation & Robotics Research Institute and HERACLEIA, the Human-centered Computing Laboratory in the Computer Science & Engineering Department.