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Innovation in the service of the disabled

The UC3M takes part in The International Day of the Disabled


The Universidad Carlos III de Madrid (UC3M) has begun several inclusion projects along with other institutions from the areas of the arts, as well as science and technology. The goal of these projects is to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities and to increase their access to culture and learning. 

Día Mundial de la Discapacidad 2017 - UC3M

STARTIT is one example of these support programs for the disabled. This is a software program developed by Aptent, a UC3M spin-off company; its objective is to make subtitling, audio description and simultaneous translation more viable and affordable for theater centers. With this project, which received the award for “Accesibilidad y eliminación de barreras de comunicación” (“Accessibility and Elimination of Communication Barriers”) from the Asociación de Implante Coclear Española-AICE (Spanish Association of Cochlear Implants -AICE), Aptent hopes to bring theater culture to people with sensorial disability.

The Proyecto de Artes Escénicas Accesibles (Accessible Performing Arts Project - ARESAC) brings together accessibility and theater. Associations for the disabled, creators and producers present their perspectives in order to reach a common goal: the creation of performing arts that are inclusive for all. This project is being carried out through el Centro Español del Subtitulado y la Audiodescripción (CESyA - the Spanish Center for Subtitling and Audio description) and the Real Patronato de la Discapacidad del Ministerio de Sanidad, Servicios Sociales e Igualdad (the Royal Board on Disability of the Ministry of Health, Social Services and Equality), a government center led by the UC3M, which has become a model of audiovisual accessibility in the areas of film, museums, theater and other cultural activities. ARESAC was recently presented at the UC3M Science Week, during an act that was held in the Real Escuela de Arte Dramático (RESAD – Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts) with the collaboration with of Aptent and Palmyra Teatro.

Another innovation project that UC3M is supporting is focused on how to make Nature more accessible. Specifically, a start-up supported by the UC3M-ESA BIC Comunidad de Madrid nexus, Geko Navsat, has developed a free mobile application that can guide people with disabilities around Nature zones. Blind Explorer, which is the name of the app, uses binaural sound (3D) and satellite navigation technologies to offer greater autonomy to the visually impaired as they walk through natural areas and follow unfamiliar routes. Geko Navsat recently participated in TifloInnova 5.0, ONCE’s (Spanish National Organization for the Blind) triennial congress on innovative technologies, during which more than 400 users tested the app.

UC3M’s commitment to the disabled

The UC3M has, from its beginnings, shown its commitment to the inclusion of students with any type of disability or special need, a commitment that is therefore reflected in its latest Strategic Plan, which notes the need to establish closer relationships with companies and entities that are involved with functional diversity, to increase the financial resources dedicated to this area, and to work towards accreditations of excellence in this area.

The UC3M promotes the inclusion of disabled people in the university community through the Program for Attention to Students with Disabilities (Programa de Atención a Estudiantes con Discapacidad), which provides direct attention to students with disabilities and special educational support in order to guarantee their access to degrees under equal conditions. The provisions of the Program include adaptation of exams, materials and study spaces, making them adequate to the student’s needs. 


In 1992, the General Assembly of the United Nations declared December 3rd to be the International Day for the Disabled. Its goal is to promote the rights and the well being of people with disabilities in all areas of society, and development, as well as raising awareness about their situation in all aspects of political, social, economic and cultural life. According to the UNO, the disabled, the “most widespread minority in the world”, usually have fewer economic opportunities, worse access to education and higher rates of poverty. This is mainly due to the lack of services that could make life easier for them, such as access to information and transportation, and the lack of resources.