L’X and Le Collectif join forces for hospitalized children
On June 21, 2019, a partnership agreement was signed by Mon Cartable Connecté President, Abdel Aïssou, and Vice-President, Marc Lavoine, along with Provost of École Polytechnique, Frank Pacard. They plan to work together to improve the quality of life for hospitalized children.
Mon Cartable Connecté, a project by the charity, Le Collectif, gives children unable to go to school due to prolonged hospitalization the chance to stay in contact with their class, thereby limiting the impact their illness has on their learning. École Polytechnique and, in particular, Matthieu Aussal, researcher at the École Polytechnique Center for Applied Mathematics (CMAP) and director of the project, will be putting their combined effort towards continually improving this essential tool for the lives of hospitalized children.
In France, two million children are admitted to hospital each year. A number of these children are affected by serious diseases that cause them to be away from school for a long time, thus damaging their social life.
In order to reduce the impact of illness on these children’s education, since 2016, Le Collectif has been developing a digital schoolbag called Mon Cartable Connecté (My Connected Schoolbag). The product consists of cameras, tablets, microphones and 4G routers, and enables hospitalized pupils to stay in contact with their class.
Under their new partnership, Le Collectif and École Polytechnique aim to expand the range of features offered by Mon Cartable Connecté, focusing particularly on recreating the soundscape of the classroom in order to facilitate interactions between the hospitalized child, their classmates and the teacher, thereby helping them to maintain a stronger social bond.
A team from the École Polytechnique Center for Applied Mathematics (CMAP), specializing in digital acoustics and audio signal processing, will work towards finding different designs and materials for the sound recording system with the purpose of offering the hospitalized pupil sound reproduction of unprecedented quality, all without disturbing regular classroom activity.
Throughout the research project, 3D-printed prototypes of microphones will be built at the École Polytechnique FabLab, located in the Drahi-X Novation Center. The prototypes will then be verified using psychoacoustic measurements and tests, before further testing and deployment for use in partner schools.
Abdel Aïssou, President of Mon Cartable Connecté, stated that "the partnership with École Polytechnique will enable us to progress further and prepare the best-possible version 4 of Mon Cartable Connecté, thus improving the quality of life of children in long-term hospital care."
Marc Lavoine, Vice-President of Mon Cartable Connecté, also commented, saying, "I would like to thank École Polytechnique for its support in this wonderful program in solidarity for sick children."
Provost, Frank Pacard, expressed that he was "particularly pleased with this partnership, which will allow École Polytechnique researchers to contribute their expertise towards this important project."
Matthieu Aussal, researcher at the École Polytechnique Center for Applied Mathematics (CMAP) and leader of the project, noted that "the partnership between Le Collectif, Mon Cartable Connecté and École Polytechnique is a fantastic opportunity for scientific and technological innovation for the benefit of society."