Assistive Technology Forum (ATF)

ATF Assistive Technology Forum

The networking event for leading players in Assistive Technology

The Assistive Technology Forum is a conference aimed at established suppliers in the AT industry. The goals of the ATF are: boosting development, generating new insights and exchanging knowledge. Let us strive for excellence together! 

ATF 22: review and impressions

ATF 22 at a glance

Thanks to a variety of inspiring keynote presentations, an in-depth panel discussion with distinguished interlocutors and the exchange of knowledge among each other, ATF participants benefited from two diverse days in Nottwil. We look forward to all that the industry can achieve together in the future.

Save the date: the next ATF will take place on 16/17 March 2023 – stay tuned.

I’ve been working in the field of AT for the last 40 years, attending many conferences all over the world. This was one of the best. Congratulations!

Luis | Participant
  • Active Communication proudly presented the second edition of the Assistive Technology Forum (ATF), the networking event for leading players in Assistive Technology. It was our pleasure and privilege to welcome the participants to this international conference, held at the renowned Swiss Paraplegic Centre in Nottwil.

    The ATF is hosted by Active Communication, a part of the Swiss Paraplegic Foundation. Eventpartners: ETH Zurich RESC (Competence Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering and Science) and DATEurope (European Industry Association for Digital Assistive Technology).

    Assistive Technologies – Innovations in contrast to funding models

    Technical innovations are important instruments for the inclusion and empowerment of people with disabilities. However, in most countries, a balance between technical progress and existing financing models is not guaranteed yet. ATF 2022 will address this fact and launch the search for solutions in collaboration with ETH Zurich RESC (Competence Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering and Science).

    • Which impact do technical innovations have on funding opportunities?
    • How and what needs to be addressed so that existing funding models can evolve?
    • How can be prevented that funding systems become a constraint for technical innovations?
    • What measures are necessary to ensure that financing models foster technical innovations in the future? In order that the services of AT providers can evolve with these innovations?
  • Thursday 17 March 2022

    • 10:00 - 12:00 h

      DATEurope General Members Meeting
      (separate invitation/programme)

    • from 12:00 h

      ATF Welcome Lunch (fingerfood)

    • 13:30 - 17:30 h

      Conference Sessions 
      For a list of topics, speakers and sessions see below

    • 18:00 - 22:00 h

      Hearts and Minds
      Aperitif Surprise and Dinner

    Friday 18 March 2022

    • 9:00 - 16:30 h

      Panel discussion by ETH Zurich RESC (a Competence Centre of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich)

      Conference Sessions
      For a list of topics, speakers and sessions see below

Conference Topics, Key Notes and Discussions

  • The Swiss system has undergone a transition. The transformation was necessary and the ground on the political stage was reset with lobbying work and persistence. In the economy, the change from trader to service provider has already taken place. Thanks to adaptability, it is now a matter of using the latest technologies and innovations in such a way that customers benefit in the best possible way - in line with our joint mission: inclusion and participation for everyone. 


  • > MDR to ensure quality over time and intended use – a differentiator towards consumer products
    > Building competence in the market is key to expand business
    > Innovation for users leads to inclusion in society

  • When Estonia regained its independents in 1991 we had a clear vision that our society wants to move towards Scandinavia and be more similar with them, that also included the social system and funding of equipment for people with disabilities. The system established in Estonia today is similar but different from the Scandinavia and has had one bigger make over in 2016. Today we can say we have quite flexible system and a vision to even more simplify it.

  • The Health Care system in the Netherlands could be classified as one of the best in the world. But, is it sustainable on the long term: can we afford it? And what does that mean for AT: is that «a gold-mine»? 

  • As an example of an innovation project fostered by ETH RESC, we conceive, design and engineer innovative biosensors and wearable solutions to monitor bio-​signals and movements. These sensors are often electronic textiles (e-textiles). We focus on the chemistry, materials, mechanics, electronics and computing aspects of this technology. Not only do we collect information using e-textiles, but we also process the collected information to build models and to study health-​related behaviour. We are designing the next generation of wearables for personalized medicine.

  • Panel discussion with audience Q&A, moderated by Reto Dietschi.
    Users of assistive technologies discuss with manufacturers, policy makers, insurers and advocacy groups how to make access to assistive technologies easier.

    Participants panel discussion:
    Reto Dietschi, Consultant/trainer in health care/health insurance in Switzerland
    Chapal Khasnabis, Head a.i. of GATE Initiative at WHO
    Albert Marti, Project Manager/Secretary ESCIF Swiss Paraplegics Association
    Luc de Witte, Board of Directors GAATO/AAATE
    Christoph Müller, Board Co-Director DATEurope
    Tove Christiansson, Group CEO Abilia
    Josef Grab, Chief Physician Insurance Medicine Suva (Swiss National Accident Insurance Fund)

  • «Can we build the fastest and best racing wheelchair in the world?» Managing Director Stefan Dürger addressed this question to his team at the aid specialist Orthotec. The Swiss company promotes the freedom of movement for people with spinal cord injury and similar restrictions. Sports equipment such as racing wheelchairs are also part of the business. Stefan Dürger's question turned into a vision that four years later resulted in two racing wheelchair models and a novel measurement method for the optimal seating position in a wheelchair. Innovations made possible only thanks to an unprecedented collaboration between specialists and athletes. What is revolutionary about the new OT FOXX racing wheelchair which top athlete Marcel Hug has been setting new standards in athletics with ever since? What knowledge from Formula One was incorporated into the development? Why does the invention have a positive effect on wheelchair use in everyday life? And what does a fox have to do with all this?

  • Remaining put will spend security, but never the reward of starting the project and going the distance.


  • The Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich, or ETH Zurich for short, is a university for science and technology. ETH Zurich is one of the most renowned universities in the world and a centre of innovation and knowledge.

    In collaboration with clinical partners, healthcare and disability organisations, industry and governmental organisations, the Competence Centre for Rehabilitation Engineering and Science (RESC) promotes the development of need-​driven and human-​centred solutions to better prevent, alleviate or compensate for impairments of movement-​related body functions, which can be hereditary, congenital or a result of injury or ageing. The centre investigates the consequences for the affected individuals, the healthcare system and the society as a whole.

  • DATEurope

    DATEurope is the newly launched Digital Assistive Technology Industry Association for Europe.

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