Australasian Science: Australia's authority on science since 1938

Australia Needs an “Assistive Technology” Network

By Greg Tegart

We must address the disconnect between assistive technology research and its translation into commercialisation and practice.

Professor Greg Tegart AM FTSE is Chair of the ATSE Health and Technology Forum. He has had a long and varied career in academia, industry and government in Australia and overseas in the areas of teaching, research, management and high level policy advice to government on science, technology and the environment.

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Australia needs to establish a network of people working in health care on “assistive technologies” – or emerging assistive and medical technologies (EAMTs) – to address the disconnect between assistive technology research and its translation into commercialisation and practice.

An EAMT network could help remove barriers to the effective adoption of EAMTs to enable healthy independent living, provide access to information and expertise, analyse and advise on regulations and standards and promote collaboration between researchers, industry, government and users.

The Academy is helping drive change towards these targets. It believes EAMTs can reduce healthcare costs and maintain healthcare standards in Australia by, for example, allowing the elderly to stay at home longer rather than using more expensive forms of care, such as hospitalisation and enabling people who are physically and mentally challenged to lead more fulfilling lives.

ATSE’s Health and Technology Forum is driving a campaign to establish an EAMT network in Australia to use enabling technologies such as nanotechnology, biotechnology, information and communication technology (ICT) and cognitive science to develop new approaches to assistive technologies and address the disconnect between assistive technology research and its translation into commercialisation and practice.

This...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.