Geelong leads the way in rehabilitation technology

A new technology that will give injured Victorians greater independence has been brought to Australia for the first time, through the collaboration of key Geelong organisations, Assistant Treasurer and Minister for Technology Gordon Rich-Phillips said today.

“The Touch Accessible Platform Interactive Technology (TAP-it) will help people severely injured after a transport accident, by giving them the ability to access the internet, watch television and even read, without needing carer support,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.

Barwon Health’s occupational therapists and Geelong education resource centre, The Brainary, have received a $23,000 grant from the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) to help bring the technology to Australia and the Southern Hemisphere for the first time.

Mr Rich-Phillips was joined by Member for South Barwon Andrew Katos and shown the technology today by TAC client Ann-Maree Hoskin, who is working with the technology to achieve her goal of Skyping with her daughter overseas.

“The TAP-it platform provides the ground-breaking technology for Ann to use a computer without a carer’s assistance, for simple tasks like making a private phone call,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.

“Left with quadriplegia after a car accident seven years ago, this technology is set to make a significant difference to Ann’s independence.”

TAP-it is an interactive learning station with advanced technologies for use of people with varying rehabilitation needs. It can be controlled via a headset or through an app that allows eye control.

TAP-it is one of five different innovative projects for which Deakin University is collaborating with occupational therapists to investigate new rehabilitation technologies.

“This collaboration cements Geelong’s position as a research hub, with several technologies being brought to Australia for the first time through this partnership,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.

Viewing the technologies as part of Barwon Health’s Occupational Therapists’ Forum, Mr Rich-Phillips said the innovations would have a lasting impact on injured Victorians.

“With occupational therapists, Deakin University researchers and resource providers such as the Brainary working together, innovative solutions such as TAP-it are being found for the varying rehabilitation needs of injured and disabled Victorians,” Mr Rich-Phillips said.

Above: Barwon Health Occupational Therapist Debbie Verikios and TAC client Ann-Maree Hoskin explain the new TAP-it technology to Assistant Treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips and Member for South Barwon Andrew Katos.

 Above: (from left) A Deakin researcher explains the technology to Deakin Deputy Vice Chancellor Lee Astheimer, Member for South Barwon Andrew Katos, Assistant treasurer Gordon Rich-Phillips and Deakin University professor Pubudu Pathirana.

* The original article can be found on the Transport Accident Commission (TAC) website: http://www.tac.vic.gov.au/about-the-tac/media-room/news-and-events/2013-media-releases/geelong-leads-the-way-in-rehabilitation-technology