advancing Social inclusion through Technology and EmPowerment (a-STEP)
COST Action CA19104

Social inclusion is an important element of well-being for people with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and/or Intellectual Disability (ID). Research has highlighted that social inclusion is facilitated through access to education and employment. Despite this, people with ASD and/or ID have low rates of participation in these domains. Research has demonstrated that Assistive Technology (AT) shows great promise in increasing participation in education and employment. Notwithstanding recent technological advances, there are low rates of adoption of AT throughout Europe by service providers, educators, employers and policymakers. There are several areas of unmet need including: high abandonment rates of AT, lack of inclusion of people with ASD and/or ID in the research process, lack of interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaboration and poor match between technology and the individual with ASD and/or ID.

The aim of the COST action is:

Build an interdisciplinary, intersectoral pan EU and beyond, network which will enhance social inclusion and empowerment of individuals with ASD and/or ID.

This will be achieved by:

Evaluating the development of novel AT by providing an interdisciplinary and intersectoral collaboration between all stakeholders using a translational approach to establish standardised practice guidelines for design, development and deployment of AT.

Creating knowledge, by providing a database of current AT technologies and their match to employment and educational contexts for users with ASD and/or ID.

Promoting the adoption of evidence-based guidelines in relation to use of AT across settings and populations and propagating the use of inclusive design and rigorous research approaches.

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In recent months and years, there have been many cases where AI systems were heavily criticized leading to weakened trust in artificial intelligence. Cases involving collection of huge amounts of personal data, discriminatory (biased) algorithms and AI-Systems which influenced voters’ choices. Such phenomenons have been happening worldwide, including Austria.

As Artificial Intelligence is getting quickly involved in more and more sectors, this project aims to encourage and promote fairness and trust in AI through participatory (design) formats.

Ethics and AI

We believe that AI has the potential to revolutionize many sectors. For example health care, by means of humanitarian distribution of goods, early infection detection and more.  Thus we deem it is critical, to include ethics as an integral part of Artificial Intelligence.

Research towards fair AI

One of our goals within dAIalog is to understand which effect ethical/unethical decisions made by AI can have. For this we want to develop tools and create a manual for fair AI, by compiling and generating information about it. We want to identify user groups and network the relevant actors and stakeholders through developing and carrying out participatory workshop formats.


Duration: 04/2020 – 03/2021

Funding: The project is financed by the FFG and has emerged from the Ideas Lab 4.0 call.

Link to project-website:



We want to examine the topic of fair AI with many different actors, ranging from computer scientists to philosophers in order to cover the broadest spectrum possible.

So we gathered up with people from different relevant organizations and companies based in Austria.

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In joining forces among research and industry, this project aims to investigate new symbiotic relationships between Human-Computer Interaction and architecture. Throughout this project we join the planning and construction of several kindergartens in the federal state of Salzburg in order to weave HCI and designerly thinking into those new built environments. By means of constructive design research and participatory approaches, we create hybrid spaces for kindergarteners that allow for playful interactions with the physical and digital alike. Reflecting on those deeply contextualised designs, we explore how HCI thinking can be better integrated with architectural building processes.

HIVE is a joint project among the research partners Center for HCI and the Institute for Ecomedicine (Paracelsus Medical University) as well as the industry partners Salzburg Wohnbau GmbH, Salzburg AG, Strabag, and Schlotterer Sonnenschutzsysteme GmbH. Further stakeholders that are heavily supporting the project are several kindergartens around Salzburg and other stakeholders including the architects and construction companies creating those kindergartens.

Duration: 2020 – 2022

Funding: Land Salzburg (WISS 2025)

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In the course of the FFG Ideas Lab 4.0, the exploratory project KITKA (“Artificial Intelligence – Transparency through a catalogue-based platform for Austria”) was developed which involves the scientific partners Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria – Global Sales and Marketing and Center for Human-Computer Interaction (University of Salzburg) as well as the industry partner ONTEC AG.

Artificial intelligence (AI) systems have great potential for Austrian companies. However, many companies do not yet fully exploit this potential. A lack of trust in and knowledge about these systems are major barriers to their adequate use.

The overall goal of the project KITKA is therefore to increase the transparency of AI systems developed in Austria. In order to achieve this goal, the interdisciplinary project team will develop a catalogue of criteria and validate them with the help of other experts. These criteria will enable a holistic description and evaluation of AI systems. This means that besides a technical description of the systems, other perspectives (e.g. ethics, sociology, economy, psychology, data protection and HCI) will be considered. Within the one-year project, ten AI systems used or offered in Austria will be selected and described according to the catalogue of criteria. In addition, a platform will be conceptualized in order to present this information appropriately and to make it available to interested companies and the society in the future. The long-term vision of the KITKA team is to provide an open-access platform, which includes a large number of AI application examples from Austria.

Duration: 03/2020 – 02/2021

Funding: The project KITKA, financed by the FFG, has emerged from the Ideas Lab 4.0 with the question “How can we design AI systems or their algorithms in the most trustworthy way possible, taking into account ethical principles, so that Austrian companies accept them, and recognize and exploit their potential?”

Partners: Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Applied Sciences Upper Austria – Global Sales and Marketing, ONTEC AG




Contact: Hanna Braun

The Center for Human-Computer Interaction is part of a consortium in the Horizon2020 project HADRIAN. In this project we are dealing with the question how the interaction of drivers in semi-automated vehicles can be made safe.

The HADRIAN project (short for Holistic Approach for Driver Role Integration and Automation Allocation for European Mobility) is a project funded by the European Union. It involves 16 partners from science and industry from 9 countries (Austria, Germany, Spain, Greece, France, Slovenia, Netherlands, Turkey, Great Britain). Project partners include Virtual Vehicles, Ford, ASFINAG and universities from Athens, Granada, Surrey and Delft. The project started in December 2019 and has a duration of 42 months.

Highly automated driving promises more safety together with a multitude of previously unimagined possibilities, such as less stress and more meaningful activities while driving. However, the introduction and implementation of automated driving has so far fallen short of these promises. This is partly due to the fact that there is not yet sufficient research on how drivers interact with automated vehicles. Unanswered questions include:

  • How long may a transfer of the driving task between vehicle and human being take?
  • What role does socio-demographic data play in this?
  • What role does the context play (e.g. weather, type of road, traffic conditions)?
  • Which modalities should be used to ensure a safe handover?
  • How do you guarantee that drivers are informed about which tasks have to be taken over and when?

These and similar questions will be investigated by Associate Professor Dr. Alexander Meschtscherjakov and his team at the Center for HCI. Proposed solutions and user interfaces for so-called “fluid interfaces” are being developed. Following a user-centered approach, the designs are first tested in the driving simulator at the Center for HCI and finally examined while driving. Field demonstrations will be performed using the full range of passenger cars and trucks.

The overall goal of the project is to come closer to the “Vison Zero” (no traffic fatalities) of the European Union.

Duration: 12/2019 – 05/2024

Project Website:

Funding: This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No 875597.



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With age, driving experience increases, while ‘fitness-to-drive’ tends to decrease. Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) can offer a mitigating solution here but they may also make driving more complex if they are not designed with respect to the needs of aging drivers. CARA II addresses this problem with products that are going to be highly personalised and specifically designed with the ageing drivers in mind.

CARA II is a follow-up project of CARA I, which was realized as a small but very ambitious research project from December 2018 to May 2019. With CARA I being a great success, it was awarded AAL’s project of the month in November 2019, a follow-up project was the next logical step for the project consortium led by Belgium company F2S2. CARA II came to life in December 2019.

With CARA I advancing into CARA II, the number of project partners and the project duration have increased. Now nine partners from three countries (NLD, BE, AT) are involved in the project – three companies (F2S2, SD-Insight, Jesco Auto Training School), four end user organizations (EURAG Austria, 50PLUS, KBO-PCOB, and NEOS) and the Center for Human-Computer Interaction as well as the Austrian Kuratorium für Verkehrssicherheit as research partners.

Based on what we have learned in CARA I from over 1.500 older drivers, CARA II now has a clear focus on further developing and testing the prototypes, created in CARA I, and also to establish valid and sustainable business models for each of the envisioned ADAS and other helpful tools.

An overview on the project and a description of the future products can also be found on the official CARA project website.

Duration: 12/2019 – 04/2021

Project Website:

Funding: This project is co-funded by the AAL Programme, the European Commission and the Flemish, Dutch and Austrian authorities​.

CARA II Funding Authorities

The FFG funded project Digital Motion is a joint effort of 4 scientific and 12 industrial partners under the lead of Salzburg Research. DiMo aims to to give people a better understanding of their physical activity by linking motion and emotion, leading to an overall new (digital) experience. In order to reach that ambitious goal, the project consortium is compound of researchers from data science, kinesiology, psychophysiology,  and human computer interaction as well as leading sports industry partners.

Vision of the Digital Motion project
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In this project we as the Center for Human-Computer Interaction focus our research on meaningful, unobtrusive ways for the real-time communication of and interaction with qualitative motion data while in locomotion with the ultimate goal to enrich the user experience rather than distracting the athlete. Furthermore we will be heavily involved in the conception, design and development of motion data demonstrators for field trials.

Digital Motion envisions to become one of Europe’s leading R&D projects in the field of Digital Sports. For the first time, DiMo facilitates the link between motion and emotion enabled through the next generation of smart sports equipment

Duration: Nov. 2019 – Okt. 2022

Project Website:

Funding: The project Digital Motion in Sports, Fitness and Well-being is funded within the context of COMET – Competence Centers for Excellent Technologies by the Austrian Ministry for Transport, Innovation and Technology (BMVIT), the Federal Ministry for Digital and Economic Affairs (BMWFW), and the federal state of Salzburg. The programme is conducted by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG).

Industrial Partners:

Scientific Partners:

Contact: Thomas Grah

The Salzburg Center for Smart Materials is a joint project between the Department Chemistry and Physics of Materials and the Center for Human-Computer Interaction at the Paris Lodron University of Salzburg in collaboration with the research department Forest Products Technology & Timber Construction at Salzburg University of Applied Sciences.

The project aims to establish new links between material science and human-computer interaction. The aim is to develop new materials and make them accessible for novel interfaces and meaningful (tangible) interactions. In order to achieve this aim, the project will address the development of new (functional) hybrid materials based on sol-gel processing of biogenic and ceramic precursors and apply constructive design research to unveil the potential of those new (interactive) materials.

Based on the competences of the participating researchers and related research infrastructure, two domains will be in the focus of the project:

Module 1
 is primarily focused on the creation of new materials from a chemical perspective. It addresses (functional) materials with highly specific surface areas of biogenic origin, with the aim of generating a basic understanding of the production, characterization and application potentials.

Module 2 is concerned with the application of future smart materials. It addresses functionalization of surfaces with re-active or adaptive materials, related interfaces and their possible uses. Through functional implementations as well as speculative approaches of tangible interactions, concrete visions and applications of future smart materials will be explored.


Duration: 01/2019 – 12/2022

Further Information:


Contact: Bernhard Maurer

The project, led by the Belgium company F2S2, involves three companies (F2S2, SD-Insight, Jesco Auto Training School), two end user organizations (EURAG Austria, KBO-PCOB) and one research institution (Center for Human-Computer Interaction, University of Salzburg).

In light of the increasing aging population, the safety of aging drivers must be a concern of society. Against this background, the long-term societal objective of Cuardian Angel is two-fold. Firstly, the project aims at allowing ageing car users to maintain mobile for a longer period of time, under safer conditions. Secondly, stakeholders such as health insurance companies, traffic administrations, etc. shall be provided with a truly objective and measurable basis to identify safe and unsafe behavior.

In order to fulfill these goals, the ageing drivers’ attitudes and expectations towards the use of state-of-the-art technology are assessed. Based on these insights as well as on existing car technology, interface concepts tailored to the aging population will be developed and evaluated that are able to measure and monitor the driving style of older adults. The end users will be closely involved in the development process of these systems. The objective feedback the systems provide can help older adults to maintain a safe driving style or improve their driving skills if necessary.

Duration: 12/2018 – 05/2019

Project Website:

Funding: The project is is funded by the Active Assisted Living (AAL) Programme that supports initiatives to improve the quality of life for the older population.


Contact: Hanna Braun

The FFG– and bmvit-funded project Digibus® Austria , led by Salzburg Research, is a collaborative effort between 7 companies and 6 research institutions with the aim to bring automated public transport to Salzburg’s roads in the future.

The project aims not only at improving autonomous transport on a technical level but also explore service models for and interaction with passengers as well as communication of an automated vehicle with other road users. To this end, the Center for HCI is involved in prototyping, design, and evaluation activities for both inside- and outside-interaction with the Digibus ® Austria. Apart from dedicated laboratory environments, the Digibus® will be operated on a public test track in Koppl, Austria along with a public showcase at the Lower Austria Regional Exhibition 2019.

Duration: 04/2018 – 03/2021

Project Website:

Funding: The project is funded by the Austrian Research Promotion Agency FFG and the Federal Ministry of Transport, Innovation and Technology within the framework of the “Future Mobility” funding scheme.


Contact: Alexander Mirnig