Firms invited to show how immersive tech could help pupils with autism

Organisations can apply for a share of £150,000 fund to demonstrate virtual and augmented reality that could improve outcomes for young people in Northern Ireland.

The money from the Education Authority of Northern Ireland (EA) will go to projects that use immersive technologies to improve the outcomes of pupils with autism.

About one in 40 pupils in Northern Ireland has a diagnosis of autism. The condition affects the way they relate to people, situations and their immediate environment.

Immersive technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality have the potential to improve their education, emotional and social skills.

The EA wants to develop educational tools that can be used within a classroom environment. These should target the needs of 3 to 19-years-old with an autism spectrum disorder diagnosis.

In the first phase, the EA will issue contracts to organisations for feasibility studies. More contracts could be awarded in a further 2 phases to develop the best ideas and test them at scale.

The competition is run under SBRI (the Small Business Research Initiative), which helps the public and private sectors come together to solve challenges facing government.

The competition opens on 30 June 2018, and the deadline for applications is 23 July 2018. It is open to any organisation that can demonstrate a route to market for its idea. Successful projects will attract 100% funded development contracts.

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