A Spanish SME advised by the Enterprise Europe Network joins an EU-funded research project to develop a computer tablet for the visually impaired.
The TACMON2 project, coordinated by Ateknea Solutions Hungary LLC, builds on a previous project to create an interactive computer tablet that allows visually impaired individuals to 'read' text and graphics by touching raised pins on a screen.
After developing the prototypes in the first research project, Budapest-based Ateknea applied for a second grant to develop a cheaper version that can be mass marketed.
For help finding SME partners Ateknea turned to the Enterprise Europe Network, with some 600 partner organisations in more than 50 countries. "We are a team of professionals who can quickly find specialised SMEs," says Eszter Szabó of the Hungarian Investment and Trade Agency.
With little time before the application deadline, her Network colleagues at Beaz Bizkaia in Bilbao, Spain, suggested Virtualware, an SME maker of virtual reality and 3-D computer solutions for e-health and company training. It joined the TACMON2 consortium, which received €1.716 million in funding from the EU's 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development.
Virtualware will be in charge of testing the software and preparing the market launch of the final product by 2015.
"The Network is a great resource for finding new partners," notes Virtualware's R&D manager Jon Arambari Basáñez. Project coordinator Sándor Fazekas of Ateknea agrees. "Cooperating with the Network always produces winning results," he says.