June 23-24, 2022

Past and future of Assistive Technologies

at the Bristol Robotics Laboratory

A two-day summit of talks, activities, and workshops on the past and future of assistive technologies


The UK, like Europe and worldwide, is experiencing a significant increase in the elderly population. In England, 74% of older people require support with physical activities, which adds to the younger population needing assistance due to illness, accidents, and trauma.

This need of support is exacerbated by the staffing challenges reported in NHS hospitals, mental health services, and community providers with substantial socio-economic impact. Quality-of-life is affected both directly and indirectly, and the financial cost of long-term support in the UK last year was estimated to be around 15 billion pounds. Therefore, there is an urgent need of assistive technologies to allow the people in need of care to maintain and regain independence, creating a sustainable active community.

Solutions are being proposed to cope with this challenge, including physical and socially assistive robots, intelligent logistics, and the IoT / Ambient Assisted Living. These fields present multiple scientific, engineering, and design challenges in a highly interdisciplinary framework. This workshop will bring together representatives from research, companies, and service users to discuss how new and existing assistive technology approaches have evolved over time and how the future landscape will be shaped.

This workshop was held on 23-24 June 2022. Thank you to everyone who joined and helped make it such a stimulating event! To stay tuned for future events, connect with the UWE REACH research group via Twitter (@ReachBRL), Linkedin, and the REACH website. To view presentation slides from the workshop, check out the event's Schedule page.



Dr. Virginia Ruiz Garate

Associate Professor in Assistive Robotics


Dr. David Western

Wallscourt Fellow in Health Technology


  • Prosthesis and exoskeleton design

  • Novel controllers for human adaptation

  • Human-Robot interaction

  • AI and assisted living

  • Machine vision for home assistance

  • Emerging uses of smart home technology

The speakers

University of Bristol

Senior Lecturer on Physiotherapy at the University of the West of England

Hobbs Rehabilitation Intensive Neurotherapy Centre

University of the West of England

University of Bristol

Founder at Earswitch Ltd

Heriot-Watt University

Head of Innovation and Wellbeing at ExtraCare Charitable Trust

HCPC Registered Clinical Scientist Director, Rahana Life

University of the West of England

Service Robotics

Director of Innovation and Growth at the West of England Academic Health Science Network

University of Bath

Clive Gilbert

Policy Manager, Assistive Technologies, Policy Connect

Supported by