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EVA Park celebrated as one of the world’s 100 most inspiring examples of tech for good

EVA Park was selected from 700 projects this year through a combination of research and public nomination

by George Wigmore (Senior Communications Officer)

EVA Park, a virtual world developed at City, University of London for people with aphasia to help them improve their communication, has been named by the Nominet Trust in the 2016 NT100 – a global celebration of this year’s 100 most inspiring social innovations using digital technology to drive social change around the world.

EVA Park was selected from 700 projects this year through a combination of research and public nomination. Shortlisted projects were reviewed by Nominet Trust, which is one of the UK’s leading tech for good funders worldwide, and a panel of partner organisations including Cancer Research UK, Comic Relief, Oxfam and Telefonica O2.

Nominet Trust NT100 winner logoEva Park is a multi-user virtual world for people with aphasia, a language disorder typically caused by stroke. The project, which is a collaborative research project between academics in the School of Mathematics, Computer Science and Engineering and the School of Health Sciences, enables users to practice their speech and establish social connections.

It was created by the EVA Project, funded by the Stroke Association, which has for the last few years investigated the accessibility and usability of the virtual world, and explored its impact on communication, and feelings of social isolation. Eva Park also won the 2015 Tech4Good People’s Award.

Stephanie Wilson, Reader in Human-Computer Interaction in the Department of Computer Science and a co-investigator on the EVA Project, said:

“We are delighted at this recent recognition and awareness of City’s collaborative research. This award shines a spotlight on innovative research work currently underway which aims to provide therapeutic digital technology that will benefit people with aphasia, of whom there are many thousands in the UK and around the world.”

Professor Jane Marshall, from the Division of Language and Communication Sciences and Eva Park project lead, said:

“Aphasia is a devastating condition affecting every aspect of a person’s life. This award draws attention to the needs of people with aphasia and shows how creative uses of technology can supplement, but not replace, more conventional face to face therapy.”

NT100 plays a valuable role each year in inspiring those with the influence and resources to accelerate the adoption of tech for social good.  It brings together entrepreneurs, innovators, NGOs, charities, technologists and others to share knowledge, experiences and skills to introduce social change on a global scale. Projects featured in the NT100 have wide-ranging purposes, from those determined to democratise access to quality education and healthcare, to those connecting minority communities and evoking empathy.

Vicki Hearn, Director of Nominet Trust said:

“In this, the fourth year of the NT100, it is truly humbling to see so many remarkable people from all walks of life embracing digital technology as a force for social good. We hope City, University of London and EVA Park’s well deserved inclusion in the 2016 NT100 provides a valuable stepping-stone for their inspiring example of tech for good.”

“With a bright idea, the right tech tools and a powerful desire to change the status quo, everyone has the potential to make a stand against the world’s most pressing social challenges. The NT100 seeks to champion the pioneers doing just that, in the hope that it inspires others to follow in their footsteps.”

View the full list http://www.socialtech.org.uk/

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