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Assistive Context-Aware Toolkit (ACAT)



Assistive Context-Aware Toolkit (ACAT) is an open source platform developed at Intel Labs to enable people with motor neuron diseases and other disabilities to have full access to the capabilities and applications of their computers through very constrained interfaces suitable for their condition.  More specifically, ACAT enables users to easily communicate with others through keyboard simulation, word prediction and speech synthesis. Users can perform a range of tasks such as editing, managing documents, navigating the Web and accessing emails. 

ACAT was originally developed by researchers at Intel Labs for Professor Stephen Hawking, through a very iterative design process over the course of three years. Professor Hawking was instrumental to the design process and was a key contributor to the project design and validation. After Intel deployed the system to Professor Hawking, we turned our attention to the larger community and continued to make ACAT more configurable to support a larger set of users with different conditions.

Our hope is that, by open sourcing this configurable platform, developers will continue to expand on this system by adding new user interfaces, new sensing modalities, word prediction and many other features. ACAT is designed to run on Microsoft Windows* machines and can interface to different sensor inputs such as infrared switches, camera, push buttons, and more.

ACAT is available in English, French, Spanish and Portuguese.  With the help of the user/developer community, we are working on extending it to other languages.

Click here for a message about ACAT from Prof. Stephen Hawking 

Who It's For

ACAT is useful for Microsoft Windows developers who are interested in developing assistive technologies to people with ALS or similar disabilities. Also for researchers who are working on new user interfaces, new sensing modalities or word prediction and wanting to explore these innovations in the this community.

Project Specifics

This ACAT toolkit was developed in C# using Microsoft Visual Studio* 2015 and .NET 4.5.  It runs on Microsoft Windows 7 or newer and is distributed under the Apache License, Version 2.0.  

About Intel Involvement

Intel has developed this ACAT system "from scratch" except for the word prediction software. Predictive text functionality is powered by Presage* (, an intelligent predictive text engine created by Matteo Vescovi. Integration with Presage is through the Windows Communication Framework.

End Users

You can download the application here.  Please contact Lama Nachman ( for information on sensors and how to trigger the system. Since each user is different, we would like to make sure people have a suitable mechanism to trigger the interface.