The Assistive Technologies program aims to develop technologies to assist people with both physical and mental disabilities, as well as social disadvantages.
Our research applications are diverse in complexity - ranging from the traditional assistive technologies to virtual reality assistive applications. Here is an example of some of our research:
The Teaching Head
Our research often draws on the face of our Head technology or makes use of a Virtual Environment. The Teaching Head is based on the capability of animating and synchronising a wide variety of faces and voices, including showing emotion, expressions and facial gestures. The Thinking Head is supported under a $3.4M joint ARC/NHMRC Thinking Systems grant with collaborators in Sydney, Canberra, the US, China and Europe.
The Teaching Head is being targeted to:
- Indigenous Heath, including underlying literacy and numeracy issues (with NACCHO and Charles Darwin University)
- Diet and Exercise, to improve rehabilitation after injury or illness and for the population at large (potential project with Beijing University and CSIRO)
- Independent Living, for the elderly to be able to stay in their own home longer
- Social Training, for those with social disadvantages and/or disabilities including autism and hearing impairment. This also includes training for their families, children and grandchildren of people suffering from disabilities including dementia, stroke, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.
- Detection of learning difficulties and specific abilities (giftedness, talent or potential) in children.
Brain Controlled Wheelchair (BCW)
The brain-controlled wheelchair is a mobility device for completely paralysed, yet fully conscious patients, which is operated solely by means of the patients' thoughts.
The device uses non-invasive electrodes which are placed on the scalp to monitor and record brain signals. These brain signals activate the wheelchair in forward, backward, left and right directions.
A 3D Virtual environment has also been developed to provide live feedback to wheelchair users as well as testing and evaluating signal processing algorithms. This virtual environment simulation provides a safe method for allowing wheelchair users to practice operating the controls before engaging the real wheelchair.
Recovery after stroke is an initial focus for our rehabilitation research applications, although Alzheimer's and Parkinson's interventions are closely related and will be developed. Research surrounding language and memory utilise our Teaching Head technologies, including assistive technologies and social tutoring for both those suffering the conditions and their family, in particular related children. Physical stroke recovery interventions are being explored in a virtual world/virtual reality environment. Daw Park Repatriation General Hospital are working with us on this project.
Further information is available at the Artificial Intelligence and Language Technology website.
Please contact Institute Manager, Carmela Sergi for more information.
Phone: 08 8201 2901
We actively supervise and support many student projects at both Honours and Post-graduate levels and invite students who are interested in pursuing research in this program to contact us for further information.
Examples of current student projects include:
- Adham Atyabi - PhD Candidate
Brain's Signal Classification.
- David Hobbs - PhD Candidate
Developing a novel intervention to improve tactile sensory perception in the hands of children with cerebral palsy.
News article on Indaily - "More than just fun and games" - October 2011
- Marissa Milne - PhD Candidate
Development of a virtual agent based social skills tutoring program for children with autism spectrum disorders.