Assistive technologies for the inclusion of people with disabilities in society, education and jobs (STO AT)

The project focused on future trends in assistive technologies (ATs) and their impact on disabled people, specifically on their learning and working environment and their inclusion into society. Following the foresight methodology of the STOA unit, the current and emerging trends and prospects of ATs and   regulatory frameworks pertinent to ATs were analysed forming the basis for an interview and survey based evaluation that links ATs to the needs, perceptions and opportunities for people with disabilities in the EU.

To accomplish these aims, a horizon scanning method was employed which involved also the contribution of external experts. This provides a solid knowledge base for the development of four scenarios which was complemented with a video-sequence. Our work will empower members of the European Parliament for knowledge-based decision making on assistive technologies for people with disabilities and aid legislative backcasting and sense-making.

The study was conducted in three steps. The first step was a Horizon Scanning, a descriptive, discursive analytic stocktaking of current trends and assumed impacts of ATs on disabled people and their environment as well as their possible use for the ageing society (age group over 60 years) in all STEEPED dimensions. ATs for the inclusion of disabled people in society, education and jobs were investigated for three different types of disabilities (subject areas): deaf and hard of hearing; blind and visually impaired; people with reduced mobility.

The second step was a 360° envisioning exercise, which encompassed an assessment of the assumptions made in the reports of part 1. Furthermore an analysis of possible long-term impacts in all STEEPED dimensions was provided that comes up with a synopsis. This step broadens the perspective from the assumed aspects – from those considered plausible in the discourse – to those that are possible. Following this, an in-depth analysis, broad variety of possible impacts on the target groups, but also on people without disabilities, was then crystallized, clustered and transformed into key factors for a scenario set.

Step three was the last step which corresponds to a scenario creating phase that was presented in four written narrative scenarios and one short video film.


Assistive technologies for people with disabilities (Annex 1)



Bratan, T.; Nierling, L.; Maia, M. (2022): Technische und menschliche Unterstützung von Menschen mit Behinderungen – Anforderungen an eine gelingende Inklusion. In: Ernst-Wilhelm Luthe, Sandra Verena Müller und Ina Schiering (Hrsg.): Assistive Technologien im Sozial- und Gesundheitssektor. Wiesbaden: Springer Fachmedien Wiesbaden, S. 669–686. Online:


Nierling, N., Maia, M., Bratan, T. (2021): Technological or social drivers for a transformation towards an inclusive society? The role of Assistive Technologies for people with disabilities. In: Ralf Lindner, Michael Decker, Elisabeth Ehrensperger, Nils B. Heyen, Stephan Lingner, Constanze Scherz, Mahshid Sotoudeh (Hrsg.): Gesellschaftliche Transformationen, S. 381 - 394: Gegenstand oder Aufgabe der Technik-folgenabschätzung? 1. Edition 2021, Series: Gesellschaft - Technik - Umwelt, Vol. 22, ISBN print: 978-3-8487-6035-0, ISBN online: 978-3-7489-0155-6 ,





  • Europäische Kommission, STOA


    ETAG (ITAS, DBT, ISI, ITA, TC Rathenau, RT, VITO)