Your source of information on daily living equipment worldwide
Some of the best known, expert information providers worldwide have joined together to create the most comprehensive information service on assistive technology (AT) serving older and disabled people, their families and carers across the globe.
A wealth of information you need is at your fingertips. Take a look and discover how much there is to know. The EASTIN network - whose name recalls the European Union project that initiated this global information system - will help you find solutions for independent living or remove obstacles in the way of a full life. Here you have the starting point for the most impressive web-based tour of assistive technology (AT) products worldwide.
The Eastin website is is an easy-to-use tool that opens the door to several national databases at the same time, so you can look up the information you require and have it immediately translated into your own language, where necessary. You can analyse, compare, and choose the best and most up-to-date solutions for your needs. You may be a user of AT or a family member; you may advise clients as a healthcare professional or work in an ever-expanding industry as an engineer or manufacturer. Whoever you are this website may help you find answers to your questions – in your own language.
If you want to search for information on AT products across the globe, use "Assistive Products". Products can be searched by product classification, by keywords, by their commercial name or by the name of their manufacturer. You can also limit the search to the most recent products or carry out advanced searches by combining more search parameters.
If you want to search for information on companies involved in AT manufacturing or supplying, use "Companies".
If you want to search for AT associated information such as case studies, ideas on how to solve problems and fact sheets, use "Library". Such information may include Articles (e.g. offering advice and describing issues to be aware of when using or seeking to buy an AT item and how to ensure that an AT item is appropriate for the user), Case Descriptions (articles describing how an individual has exploited AT to enable him or her to maintain, or to regain, his or her independence), and Ideas (short descriptions of particular problems, illustrating how certain type of device or certain tricks could be exploited to solve them).
If you have a question for one of the Eastin Partners or Affiliate or National Contacts, use "Info request".
If you are an AT manufacturer and want a product to be added to the EASTIN databases, use "Submit a product".
"About us" provides the contact data and the Websites of the EASTIN member Organisations. These include Partners, Affiliates and National Contact Organisations.
"Documents" includes public material on the EASTIN network to download.
"Asprex" is the link to the beta test version of the Assistive Product Explorer, an experimental guidance tool to help understand what AT products may be useful to individual situations.
"Gate Community" links to the GATE initiative (Global Collaboration on Assistive Technology) of the World Health Organization. The Eastin network actively participate in this strategic initiative.
The EASTIN information system was initially created in 2005 thanks to the support of the European Union within the eTEN initiative. In 2006 the self-funded EASTIN Association was created to maintain and further develop the EASTIN system and the EASTIN network. Over the years, other partners joined the network, initially from the European Union and later from other countries in the world.
EASTIN was a prize winner in several awards such "Ideenpark Gesundheitswirtschaft" (promoted in 2008 by Financial Times Deutschland) and "PKM 360° Giorgio Sacerdoti Award" (promoted by the Italian Computer Society). The awards recognised EASTIN as an excellent and unique example of effective knowledge management in the health and social sector, that significantly contributes to the advancement of AT worldwide.
The EASTIN website was redesigned several times, based on leading edge technology that greatly improved performance and exploited multilingual capabilities. Now the website works in many languages and returns information in the user-chosen language even if the original documents are stored in different languages in the EASTIN databases. In case the original document contains also free text, this is automatically translated in English.
Behind the EASTIN information system stands the EASTIN network and the wealth of expertise of its member organizations, all being key players in their country in relation to AT information, consultancy, education, research and policy development. In particular, the organizations running the eight national databases currently feeding the EASTIN system Organisations (SIVA in Italy, REHADAT in Germany, HULPMIDDELEN in Belgium, HANDICAT in France, ASSISTDATA in Denmark, PROASSIST In the UK, AZARIM in Israel and AT AUSTRALIA) can offer consultancy to any other country in the world to establish their own national information system.
What are ISO codes
The most widespread method to classify assistive technology products is the ISO 9999 international standard. All products and associated information in the EASTIN databases are classified according to this standard.
The ISO 9999 is a three-level classification system that clusters AT products round "CLASSES" (e.g. mobility, communication, recreation, etc.), then round "SUBCLASSES" (e.g. within class "mobility": powered wheelchairs, cars adaptations, etc.), eventually round "DIVISIONS" (e.g. within subclass "powered wheelchairs": electric motor-driven wheelchair with manual steering, electric motor-driven wheelchair with powered steering, etc.). Each ISO 9999 classification item has a numerical code: for instance, item "electric motor-driven wheelchair with powered steering" has the code 12.23.06, where the first two digits stand for Class 12 "mobility", the following two digits stand for subclass 12.23 "powered wheelchairs" and the last two digits stand for this specific division.
If you are not yet familiar with the ISO 9999 classification system, it is a good idea to take some minutes and have a look at it: finding your way in the world of assistive technology will become much easier. The best way is to click "Guided search by ISO product classification code" in the "Assistive Technology Products" section of this website, and freely browse the various classes and subclasses to see what kind of products are covered by each classification item.
It is worth mentioning that the ISO 9999 standard is subject to continuous review, in compliance with the rules established by the International Standards Organisation for the maintenance of any international standard. EASTIN and all national databases belonging to the EASTIN Association use the latest release, approved in 2016 (ISO 9999:2016). This new release re-defined the concept of "assistive product" as follows:
"any product (including devices, equipment, instruments and software), especially produced or generally available, used by or for persons with disability for participation; to protect, support, train, measure or substitute for body functions/structures and activities; or to prevent impairments, activity limitations or participation restrictions".
Within the GATE initiative, the World Health Organization adopts as a similar - although simplified - definition of "assistive product":
"any external product (including devices, equipment, instruments or software), especially produced or generally available, the primary purpose of which is to maintain or improve an individual’s functioning and independence, and thereby promote their well-being. Assistive products are also used to prevent impairments and secondary health conditions."