Enabled Environments for assisted living (SARChI)


Chair Website


Professor Karim Djouani is the SARChI chair holder of the enabled environments for assisted living chair in the Tshwane University of Technology.  This chair is hosted in the French South African Institute of Technology (F'SATI) and is a reconnaissance of the research work that has been developed for many years by the F'SATI team of Professors and students in the niche area in enabled environment and assistance to the handicapped.

The SARCHi chair in the Enabled Environment for Assisted Living will focus on the development of mechatronic and networked technologies to assist persons with disabilities and the elderly.

The Enabled Environment for Assisted Living is a multidisciplinary research area. The main objective of this domain concerns the development of tools and methods that can respond to the needs of the user anywhere and at any time. The disabled user becomes central and the environment is adapted to his/her needs. A wide range of applications may be considered which include, but are not limited to, Public Transport Systems, Tourism, Educational Environments (Smart Campus), Public Spaces and/or any application that is smart enough to assist the user based on the context or need. An environment may be qualified as “Enabled” if it is equipped with sensing and/or acting capabilities. Such capabilities may be linked to each user (as in the case of wheelchairs for persons with a disability) or linked to the environment and used by all users or by a sub-class of the users in the vicinity supported through a system of Wireless sensors, Access Points and Hotspots. The Enabled Environment for Assisted Living forms part of this emerging area of research.

The objective is to develop innovative solutions for persons with varying levels of disabilities so that the objectives of integrating such persons into mainstream society can be achieved.  A need therefore arises for the development of various technologies that cater for various aspects (mobility, education, services, etc.) adapted to each individual case. 

By integrating people with disabilities into society and the commercial and industrial sectors, the chair aims at technology development, innovation and commercialisation of assistive technologies in the enabled environment while solving critical issues for the disabled and assisted living.

This research chair is intended to provide innovative mechatronic systems comprising electromechanical systems with embedded computing and communication capabilities dedicated to assist people in their daily life. Complex mechatronic systems are distributed in the enabled environment or smart spaces, and they make use of current and emerging wireless and mobile communication technologies. Technologies developed in this domain may apply to many other disciplines, and the students trained are not limited in their career to this domain given the multidisciplinary training that they would have been exposed to. In addition to theoretical aspects that will be covered by this chair, technological solutions that will emanate from the first objective, i.e. the prototyping of innovative components, sub-components and methodologies for industry and the real economy, are equally important.

The extensive partnerships that already exist in this domain at national level with the CSIR (Meraka Institute) and at the international level with the University Versailles Saint Quentin (UVSQ) and the University Paris-Est Créteil (UPEC), both in France, will be further extended using the various collaborating opportunities that exist with several French partners.

The benefits will be multiple: (1) The training of students; (2) the potential for innovation and innovative products; and (3) the social impact. It is also an element for the diffusion to other actors or countries confronted with the same needs.


Professor Karim Djouani is a full professor at the University Paris Est Créteil (UPEC) and a full Professor at the F'SATI institute in the Tshwane University of Technology. At UPEC he is Deputy Director in charge of research at the IUT-CV (University Institute of Technology). He has extensive experience in Postgraduate students supervision.  He has also a large experience in industrial project contracting and transfer of technology with SMEs and large groups. He has conducted and/or contributed to significant number of projects since 1995, contracted directly with the industry or under specific contracts with the industry and a support from Publics institutions.

His current research work focuses on the development of novel and highly efficient algorithms for reasoning systems with uncertainty as well as optimization, for distributed systems, networked control systems, wireless ad-hoc network, wireless and mobile communication, and wireless sensors networks as well as Robotics. He has authored/co-authored over 150 articles in archival journals and conference proceedings as well as 18 chapters in edited books, 2 books, 1 patent and several software IPs .