Working together to develop technology to improve self-reliance

Power tools
Media.Source: Copyright by HBK

It is difficult for people with a cognitive impairment to plan activities independently, cope with stress and communicate with others. Our research set out to establish how these people could work with healthcare providers to design technology to improve self-reliance.


We investigated how clients and healthcare providers could work together to design technology that will enable clients to carry out daily activities independently and improve their self-reliance.

Technology that promotes self-reliance is promising. However, its development is often driven by technology and not from the perspective of the client or the healthcare provider. A partnership between both parties could present opportunities to change this situation.


Read more about the results of the Powertools research on This toolkit contains relevant information for designers, care professionals and healthcare innovators.

The website mentioned above provides practical information, methods, techniques, guidelines and examples to aid the joint design of technology. This technology will benefit people with a cognitive impairment (a mild intellectual disability and/or autism) and their healthcare providers.

Although most of the technologies designed are prototypes, development of 'MyDailight' is being taking to the next stage at the University of Twente. One of our researchers is doing the same with the OOC cushion (now Millow).


01 January 2016 - 01 March 2018


In Powertools, clients and healthcare providers contributed intensively to the development of technology to promote self-reliance.

Students from various programmes and with a technical design or healthcare background work with clients and healthcare providers to develop and assess the technology designed. They did this under the supervision of lecturer-researchers and professional designers and used creative and visual techniques, such as diary methods and photo assignments. These techniques enabled everyone concerned to communicate about the subject without being held back by specialist terminology, for example.

HU researchers involved in the research

Collaboration with knowledge partners

We are collaborating with various knowledge institutes, healthcare institutions and design agencies.

Knowledge institutes

HU University of Applied Sciences UtrechtHAN University of Applied SciencesUniversity of TwenteTNO external link

Healthcare institutions

PhiladelphiaSizaPlurynIntermetzo, Amerpoort

Design agencies

OnesecondsKaliber, NoXqs, U Create Centre of Expertise Creative Industries


This research was funded by SIA RAAK external link

Would you like to collaborate or do you have any questions?